The Artists of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater held a lively rally yesterday on steps of the famed dance studios to demand a fair contract including industry standard wages and benefits.
Bursting from the studios during their lunch hour, the Artists chanted that they were “reaching for the standard” (meaning prevailing wages paid by comparable dance companies). The Artists were joined by supporting AGMA members, affiliated unions, and Ailey supporters. Special guest speakers included NYS Senator Brad Hoylman and NYS Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal. The Artists - Dancers and Stage Managers of the main Ailey company - are in negotiations for a new Agreement, with the current one expiring May 31, 2018.
AGMA National Executive Director, Leonard Egert, informed the crowd that “unequivocally, the Artists of Ailey are being paid less, on average, than their colleagues at comparable dance companies. That is an injustice that needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed now.” Both Senator Hoylman and Assemblywoman Rosenthal stressed the unfairness of pay inequality and promised the support of the community in the Artists’ efforts to reach industry standards.
“These artists are true ambassadors of American dance across the country and around the world. They are among the hardest working artists in the industry, performing nearly 200 shows per year with far fewer dancers than other major dance companies. They deserve pay and benefits that are up to industry standards, and that is what we are fighting for” stated Griff Braun, AGMA’s New York Dance Executive and Chief Negotiator for Ailey Artists.
“We, the dancers and stage managers of Ailey are proud union members and we are out here today fighting for a fair contract. We love our jobs, but it is not easy. There is no reason we should not be treated as well as our peers in other major dance companies!” stated Ailey veteran dancer Akua Noni Parker, to the cheers of the crowd.
Click through to view the official press release