The Sarasota Ballet, their dancers and AGMA enter negotiations for a labor contract.
The Sarasota Ballet announces today that the Company joins the top national ballet companies in America by voting to join the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). AGMA represents dancers, singers and stage production staff in dance and opera companies throughout the United States. A secret ballot vote was held based upon mutual agreement between The Sarasota Ballet and AGMA. Based on the results of the election, The Sarasota Ballet has recognized AGMA as the exclusive bargaining representative of the dancers. Negotiations for a first contract are expected to commence within a couple of weeks. “This is an understandable step in the growth of The Sarasota Ballet,” explains Executive Director, Joseph Volpe. More than 90 percent of ballet companies at or above the budget level of The Sarasota Ballet nationally are represented by AGMA.
“We are thrilled to welcome the professional artists from The Sarasota Ballet into the AGMA family. We look forward to establishing industry standards to permit these dancers to reach their artistic and professional goals. We also anticipate a collaborative process with the management of The Sarasota Ballet to help propel this critically acclaimed Ballet company to even higher levels of achievement” states Leonard Egert, National Executive Director of AGMA.
This Season The Sarasota Ballet is celebrating Director Iain Webb’s 10th Season. During his tenure the Company has increased the number of programs, added live music, introduced more than 140 ballets and divertissements into the repertoire—including 39 world premieres and 7 American premieres —and launched the Company’s tours to such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Joyce Theater in New York City. “As Margaret Barbieri, Joseph Volpe and I have built the Company to this level, the dancers have decided, given their national recognition, that they wish to be represented by the Guild,” says Iain Webb. “From when I arrived in 2007, the dancer’s well-being, health and safety has always been a priority.”
You can find the official joint press release here.