Hiring a Professional Dancer!
Global dance festival promoters are once again starting to set up Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba Dance festivals around the world. They have begun hiring professional dancers for these upcoming Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba festivals worldwide.
These festivals have now begun to pop up as Facebook events and also on global dance festival calendars such as:
Right now it’s still too early to tell if and when we will see a full return to normal activities in the dance community but I thought it would be a good time to publish our Top 10 list for hiring a professional dancer for a future Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba Dance Festival!
CONTRACT FOR HIRING A PROFESSIONAL DANCER
Regardless of which country the dance festival is being held, it is vital that all of the below items are covered in a written contract.
A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties and it regulates the relationship between the promoter and the dancer.
This document defines and governs the rights and duties of both the promoter and dancer in the agreement and it is legally enforceable because it meets the requirements and approval of local laws.
Whether you are a promoter or a dance freelancer make sure to protect yourself first. A promoter’s job is to put on a good dance festival and make a profit but in the world of dance unfortunately it’s the dancers who are the first to suffer when money issues arise.
BOOKING RATES FOR HIRING A PROFESSIONAL DANCER
This is a very important issue that both promoters and dance professionals need to make sure is crystal clear. It is vital that both parties have a clear understanding of how much the dancer will be paid and what activities the dancer will be required to participate in during the dance festival.
Here are the questions I recommend be covered in writing:
- How much will the professional dancer be paid?
- How and when will the dancer be paid?
- How many hours of dance class Instruction will be provided?
- How many performances will the dancer be required to complete?
- Will the dancer also act as a judge for a competition?
- How many hours of social dancing will the dancer have to attend?
- How many hours of down time between days will the dancer be provided?
Sadly I have seen several well known Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba professional dancers who were not treated well by unscrupulous promoters and subsequently not paid as agreed.
I have also seen many cases of professional dancers flown in for a festival only to be told last minute to attend all of the festival events, shows and social dancing events without any downtime.
Whether you are a promoter or a professional dancer make sure to protect yourself first. A promoter’s job is to put on a good dance festival and make a profit but in the world of dance unfortunately it’s the dancers who are the first to suffer when money issues arise.
Pro tip for all professional dancers: Don’t fall for the “ Don’t worry, I will take care of it! Trust me!” Make sure that you are paid well in advance of the dance festival. No exceptions!
Many dance festival promoters schedule professional dance instructors to arrive the morning of a festival even if it requires international travel. This is a rookie mistake which can have a negative impact on the dance festival before it even begins.
How many times have you attended a dance festival expecting to see your favorite dance instructor at the pre party or featured initial workshop only to be advised that their flight was cancelled and now they won’t be attending.
For both promoters and dance instructors make sure that the following questions relating to transportation are covered in writing:
- What airline and transportation will be provided to and from the festival.
- Will the dancer have enough time to rest and prepare upon arrival?
- For international travel will the promoter bring the dancer in at least one day early?
- Will the promoter pay extra baggage fees for the dancer if needed?
Pro tip: Promoters bring in you professional dance instructors at least one day in advance preferably two days in advance for international travel. This way even if there is a delay or cancelled flight the scheduled dance instructor will arrive in time for the start of the festival.
LODGING & MEALS
Another often forgotten item when hiring a professional dancer for a dance festival is what lodging will be provided to the dancer? Will it be a hotel room or Airbnb private room? Will the dancer have to share with another dancer? How will meals be provided or will the promoter provide a meal stipend to the dancer? Any food allergies?
Pro tip: Make sure that the professional dancer that you hire is fully aware and comfortable with the lodging arrangements well before the date of the festival.
Many times a festival has to change the location of a pre party or specific planned event. This is normal and should be expected, however is it important to spell out the main location for where the festival is being held? Make sure the following festival questions are covered:
- Will it be at one location or several locations?
- What other dance instructors are scheduled to attend?
- What is the draft schedule for the event?
- What specific type of music will be played?
- Who are the Dj’s for the event?
- What dress code is there for all the different events?
- Will the dancer be able to have his/her clothing, etc sold at the event by the promoters?
While most professional dancers hope that everything goes well with their performances and the festival events, remember that often some small detail or issue can turn a positive experience negative.
TRANSLATORS AND FESTIVAL ASSISTANTS
When hiring a professional dancer to travel to a foreign country where a different language is spoken, it’s important to have a person or persons assist the dancer with translation both in the classes and in getting to and from the festival.
Before hiring a professional dancer it is important to know what are the immigration requirements for the dancer to enter the country where the festival is being held? This is a frequently overlooked item that many promoters forget, especially when bringing in dancers from overseas locations. I have seen several dancers denied entry to a country upon arrival since they stated they were coming to work while on a tourist visa!
How many hours of downtime will be provided between days?
When hiring a professional dancer it is important to go over the cancellation policy and what cancellation fees will be paid if the festival is cancelled, etc?
PROMOTION MATERIALS & PRIVATE LESSIONS
Another often overlooked item is the usage of video footage and photos of the dancers performances.
Make sure that it is spelled out clearly that the dancer has the rights to use the video footage and photographs from his/her performances.
I have seen this issue come up again and again and it’s best to cover this issue in writing before the festival begins.
Additionally promoters should make sure they have the right to use the dancers pictures, etc to promote the event?
Both the promoter and the dancer should also agree on the hours that the freelance dancer can conduct private dance lessons.
Final Thoughts for hiring a professional dancer
Over the past 15 years I have been fortunate to live and work and in Europe, the Caribbean, North America and Asia. I also travelled internationally frequently and was able to attend many weekend Salsa, Bachata and or Kizomba festivals and events.
Most of the best run festivals I have attended around the world have been small to medium size festivals held by a local dance association or school.
The best run dance festival I ever attended was a huge surprise to me as I really didn’t expect much from a brand new festival.
That festival was the first Korea Kizomba Festival held in Seoul, Korea in 2018 and it was the best planned and executed festival that I have attended worldwide.
The promoter Julia Lee and her team of volunteers did a fantastic job. They planned every detail of that event and even limited participation to make sure the attendees would not be lopsided. They took care of the visiting dance professionals and also the foreign attendees who had never been to Korea before.
What I learned from that festival was that when you have a passionate group of local volunteers supporting a good promoter, you will likely have a very successful dance festival with great memories and possibly make some life long friends.
See you on the dance floor soon!
Also check out our new Kizomba Ambassadors worldwide with contact information for hiring them for your future Kizomba dance festival!