Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Agents


Recommended Posts

I was thinking about whether ballet dancers have "agents" / managers such as actors and musicians usually do. Admittedly most ballet dancers are mostly performing withing one company, but they do move about and I was wondering how they "negotiate" their "package". Recently Diana Vishneva struck out on her own a bit with Beauty in Motion. I would think that both the ABT and the Kirov would have some "say" in what their dancers can do, at least from the point of view of health, safety and availability. Also several principals seem to perform with several companies. It would seem, on the face, that negotiating these arrangements WOULD require an agent or manager. On the other hand it seems that many dancers enter a company and work their way up over years and we don't see them moving "horizontally" to other companies.

Regardless of what the pay scale is, aren't performers ion companies paid a base salary and additional amounts for each performance? How does that actually work?

Link to comment

Dancers who have agents are usually principals. If you are in the stratosphere of the ballet world, that would make sense.

Regarding pay scales and additional amounts per performances there are many variables. There is a big difference from union companies (NYCB, ABT to name just 2) and non- union (usually regional companies). ABT allows their principals to guest at other companies, other companies do not allow their dancers to dance with anyone else while they are under contract. Some companies do not allow their dancers to dance with another company that is within a 100 mile radius. (Even if a magazine wants to interview the dancer, it has to first be approved by the PR dept. regardless of the purpose for the interview.) But to negotiate a standard corp or soloist contract, I do not think an agent is required. I have no idea about a principal contract.

I know that in some companies, if you are a corps member and dance a soloist part, there is a hike in pay scale for the part. In other companies, if you dance, rehearse (company class is not included because that is optional) more than "X" amount of hours per week, you go on overtime. If you rehearse and or perform "X" amount a days in a row without a day off, regardless of the amount in rehearsal and performance, there is overtime. If you are on tour, that is a different can of worms. There is travel time, per diem, etc. There are so many variables. I am sure that very small companies with a tiny budget just pay for performances only.

Ballet dancers move horizontally from one company to another, for many reasons. Maybe there is no growth potential where they are. Many dancers take a "demotion" to move to another company. Seth Orza who was named soloist this summer at NYCB left and became a member for the corp with PNB. This is very common. Then they work their way up in the new company. Many times they take the demotion and they are promised a promotion for the upcoming season, or they wanted a new experience at a different company. I am not suggesting that that is why Seth left NYCB.

In terms of health and safety, there is usually a paragraph in the contract that will tell a dancer what they are absolutely not allowed to do such as ski, motorcycle, mountain climb, jump out of a plane (DUH), etc.

Link to comment
In terms of health and safety, there is usually a paragraph in the contract that will tell a dancer what they are absolutely not allowed to do such as ski, motorcycle, mountain climb, jump out of a plane (DUH), etc.
Are they allowed to walk down the street? I have suffered numerous sprains (seven, I think), all except one while walking down the street or dashing across. The other I did incur on a ski trip -- while sitting on a toboggan. :angel_not:

Some companies have per-performance arrangements with principals. I suspect there are several of these at ABT now. You know, the ones who don't tour with the company. I don't know which, if any, benefits are covered under this kind of arrangement. When Anne Bancroft's character in The Turning Point was about to lose a role, she angrily reminded Martha Scott's Lucia Chase-inspired character that she was being paid per performance that season.

Link to comment

.

Are they allowed to walk down the street? I have suffered numerous sprains (seven, I think), all except one while walking down the street or dashing across. The other I did incur on a ski trip -- while sitting on a toboggan. :angel_not:.

They are only allowed to jete across the street :lol:

Link to comment

I know for a fact that popular 2nd soloists, choryphees and even up-and-coming corps dancers in the Kirov-Mariinsky have agents who help them obtain occasional soloist opportunities int he US, UK, Italy and elsewhere. These opportunities also help them to 'get their names out there.'

I don't know how it works, though -- terms and conditions. I also don't know if any Kirov-Mariinsky official ('middle man') is in the mix. Hopefully, the dancers are getting their fair share of the pie, in addition to reimbursement of travel expenses.

Link to comment

Mel,

I find that a bit unusual for dancers. It would seem that an agent not only finds projects, but negotiates terms and conditions etc., that is the contract side of the deal. This is a expecting a lot from an artist, I would think.

Do artists approach a company and offer their services in some part or wait for an AD to seek them out?

Or what about a situation like the recent Beauty in Motion tour, would Ms Vishneva need legal/management support to arrange everything from the other dancers, to the musicians, costumes, stage props and venues, insurance etc. That's expecting a lot from an artist to "do in their spare time."

Link to comment

You may not agree, but I believe that you have just supported my point. A ballerina making a one-season guest appearance with partner and several changes of costume is one thing, but when the project reaches the compound/complex stage, as exemplified in the Beauty in Motion tour, then all that work has to be parceled out.

We should not infantilize dancers. They can do a lot of their own work before they have to ask for help!

Link to comment

I read somewhere that it is helpful for a dancer to have an agent negiotiate on her/his behalf in case some issues become contentious. That way, management's anger or exasperation is directed towards someone other than the dancer who has to work with them.

Of course, that would be an agent's full-employment angle, wouldn't it?

Link to comment

For the Russia-based dancers, it's an especially complex matter (languages, Ye Olde Middleman, visas, external passports, etc.). In no way was I saying that the dancers are infantile. They're brilliant and disciplined individuals...but Russia, Ukraine and other CIS countries have very special challenges when it comes to managing an international career. It can be downright dangerous for a young performer, sportsman, etc. if trying to do it alone.

For an artist or sports personality from the US or other Western country, of course it is perfectly possible to do his/her own arrangement of guest appearances.

Link to comment

Artists in many fields will typically have "representation", especially when they begin to move ahead in their field. Obviously they have to have sufficient talent to be seen as an economic opportunity for the representative.

And there does seem to be a certain achievement of notoriety which would demand an agent.

But this individual career advancement may be counter to the ensemble nature of a ballet company. Baseball players, for example have representative which I suppose negotiate sponsorships as well as compensation at contract time. Principals to so seem to guest occasionally and in the case of Vishneva she is on both the Kirov and the ABT, and she did her own Beauty in Motion. That seems like a lot to have on her plate in addition to rehearsals. I find it hard to conceive that Ms Vishneva does not have a business representative who assists her in making it all happen. And as noted above ballet is international and despite how brilliant and talented a dancer may be, reading or negotiating a contract is pretty tough especially in a language which is not your mother tongue.

I suspect that top tier dancers who want to advance their careers and have control over it must have representation.

Link to comment

I would venture to say that if ballet dancers could afford to have agents, they would. What ballet dancer doesn't dream of having a person whose job it is to seek out the very best possible financial and artistic opportunity for that dancer? It's a no-brainer to me: if you've got the money, get the agent. Trouble is, here in the USA, the average ballet dancer's salary is so small that s/he may not be able to exist on that salary alone. S/he may teach at a company-connected ballet school to help make ends meet, and often has various odd jobs (waiter/waitress, etc.) when the company's on hiatus. An agent is merely a pipe dream to such a dancer.

Link to comment

A most important thing an agent brings in any field is knowledge of the market and its economics, and the connections to pick up a phone and exploit that knowledge. If a principal can command competitive prices, it helps to have someone negotiating who knows exactly what those prices are and have been (for others), who is paying and has paid what for whom and when and in what circumstances, and who has the relationships with directors, impresarios, tour promoters, etc., to exploit that knowledge.

This function is a very narrow one in the ballet world, where only a handful of dancers, if that, are in a position to exploit such a scenario.

In the movies, t.v., on the stage, in sports, in entertainment more generally, it's very useful.

Link to comment
I know for a fact that popular 2nd soloists, choryphees and even up-and-coming corps dancers in the Kirov-Mariinsky have agents who help them obtain occasional soloist opportunities int he US, UK, Italy and elsewhere. These opportunities also help them to 'get their names out there.'

I don't know how it works, though -- terms and conditions. I also don't know if any Kirov-Mariinsky official ('middle man') is in the mix. Hopefully, the dancers are getting their fair share of the pie, in addition to reimbursement of travel expenses.

:) I seem to remember seeing or reading about a Bureau or Agency in Russia, where the Dancers have to go to get paperwork signed for permission to guest with other companies or travel abroad. I do not know if these rules still apply in 2008.

Link to comment

Agents for Dancers.

I know of one such agent, based in France (I think) he is called David Sequest, and he has his own site on the internet.. where he puts future events he has arranged for his clients, one of whom is Aurelie Dupont the Etoile from the POB, she danced in different Countries prior to going on Maternity Leave, including, La Scale, Milan, Bejing, Hungary and other venues.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...