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Equity and DanceEast Agree Ground-breaking Policy for Choreographic Commissions

09 Jan 2017

Agreement is first of its kind and paves the way for fair pay in dance commissions

Equity and DanceEast have agreed an innovative policy on choreographic commissions, in an attempt to tackle issues around low pay and poor conditions in commissioned dance work. The policy enshrines DanceEast’s commitment to good practice and from 1 January 2017 applies to all commissions awarded by DanceEast.

Key areas of the policy include:

  • An obligation on choreographers to pay rates which are at least those agreed between Equity and the Independent Theatre Council.
  • Providing adequate time for choreographers to apply to additional funding sources when a commission does not cover the cost of producing professional dance work.
  • Extending DanceEast’s Equal Opportunities policy to all work produced through commissions.
  • Guaranteeing the provision of high quality dance facilities when rehearsal space is provided as signatories of Equity and One Dance UK’s Fit to Dance Space Charter.


Brendan Keaney, DanceEast’s Artistic Director & Chief Executive said: “It is really good news that Equity have identified the issue of pay and conditions for independent dance artists as a priority and DanceEast was particularly pleased to be invited to work with them on this initiative. I do hope that those who can make difference will follow Equity’s lead here as fair pay for all is an important issue

Nick Keegan, Equity’s Dance Councillor, said: “We are increasingly seeing commissions advertised by institutions that expect projects to be delivered on insufficient budgets and in very short time frames. The people who suffer from these commissions are always the performers and choreographers who end up working in unacceptable conditions, whether that be for low pay or no pay, unreasonable hours, unpaid overtime, lack of holiday pay or unsafe working environments. DanceEast has a reputation as a responsible dance employer and commissioning body. I am delighted to see them working with Equity to develop this new policy and be industry-leaders for responsible commissioning.”

Beth Doran from Equity’s Live Performance Department, hopes that the policy will be adopted by other commissioning bodies: “While Arts Council England has a very clear policy on pay for those receiving funding, this has never been extended to grants allocated by commissioning bodies. Equity approached DanceEast due to its reputation for treating choreographers and performers fairly and we are pleased to have achieved such a positive outcome. I hope that this policy will be the first of many agreed between Equity and other commissioning bodies.”


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