Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
According to this article freelancers represent a third of U.S workers. The issue is whether this is a good thing or not taking into account that there is no legal protection associated with this approach of working and living.
The study in question states that there are different types of freelancers and with the advance of technology we have a lot of successful business study-cases. However, is it the same when we talk about the arts´world? At a first glance one may argue that there is a common condition: unsteadiness but at the same time many countries are adopting measurements to encourage freelancing.
In regards to the dance world most of the dancers I know in Europe are freelancers not by choice or at least that is what most of them say or think. It is a fact that the number of dance companies available on the market is just not enough but I guess the problem is in the mentalities of dancers and the pre conceived ideas they were educated in. “Work as hard as you can – be a dancer at 16 or 18 (how?) and enter in a company” – this mentality promotes frustration and incapacity to work under different circumstances. Why are dancers so afraid of being freelancers? Musicians and actors have been doing it for so long.
From a dancer´s point of view it can be interesting to have the opportunity to work with different choreographers and have the freedom to choose the type of work you enjoy the most but unfortunately that is not always the case. Most of the contemporary dance freelancers have to engage in very commercial productions in order to sustain themselves. Only after “rent is secured” they can actually start choosing what they want to do but this this is not a problem related with freelancing itself but with the precarious situation of artists in general.
On the other hand it is interesting to see traditional classical dance companies and orchestras landing their “star performers” (interesting reading) and promoting good opportunities of enrichment not only for artists but also for the companies. It is a kind of freelancing within the organization.
My point is not to answer to the question whether freelancing is good or bad, it is surely having more impact in society these days, instead I hope to be able to understand what are the answers provided by arts organizations when faced with this (not so new) trend.
Moreover in terms of arts education what has been done to prepare young artist to this new paradigm?
cc flickr Leah PAlmer Preiss