The dancers of the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater have pushed thier dancing shoes aside for picket signs. Page Six reports that they are protesting until they receive better pay and benefits.
On Friday (May 25), 32 dancers pounded the pavement in New York City with support from New York State assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal as they rallied for fair wages. Since thier current contracts are set to expire May 31st, they are hoping their cries for pay raises are heard.
The Artists of Ailey have also started an Instagram page to plead their case. According to their posts, Alvin Ailey dancers are paid 30-35 percent less than dancers at other companies and the five highest paid individuals at the dance company make higher wages than all 34 dancers and stage managers combined. While they earn much less than other dance companies, they perform more than any other major dance company in the country with 175-200 performances annually.
The dance company released a statement to Dance Magazine, stating they hopes to reach an agreement with the union that the dancers see fit.
As a not-for-profit, the Ailey organization has a duty to ensure the long-term viability of the entire institution. Throughout the negotiations process, we have been committed to compromise and as we proceed in our conversations with AGMA, we hope the union takes its responsibility to negotiate in good faith as seriously as we do.
In our ongoing negotiations with AGMA, we remain committed to reaching an agreement that is both fair and sustainable. Ailey dancers are among the best in modern dance. While they already have the best salaries and benefits of any modern dance company, we’re committed to doing even more. We have been making unprecedented enhancements to our proposals on the union’s highest priorities, the most recent of which was on Tuesday night.