*Members of the world famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater pirouetted to the picket line last week to protest for better pay and benefits.
According to Page Six, the Alvin Ailey performers have been negotiating a new contract since December 2017 alleging they are paid 35% less than the stars of other major companies.
On Friday (May 25), 32 dancers demonstrated outside of their New York studio with support from State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and State Senator Brad Hoylman.
We know that #ArtistsofAiley deserve a fair contract that pays a fair wage! Alvin Ailey is nothing without its dancers! #ReachingForTheStandard #AGMA #NYC1u @AGMusicalArtist @agma @NYPNU @ActorsEquity @IATSE @CentralLaborNYC @bradhoylman @Local_802_AFM pic.twitter.com/9UVYwXzZcI
— Linda B. Rosenthal (@LindaBRosenthal) May 24, 2018
The dancers, who participate in some 200 performances a year, are hoping for a new union contract when their current one expires on May 31.
“There is no reason we should not be treated as well as our peers!” Ailey vet Akua Noni Parker told Page Six.
Fair wages!!!! We are raising the awareness of our recent requests to reach a fair contract. This is an opportunity for the Artists Of Ailey to openly petition and discuss our needs and share our goals with you. We’d appreciate your support in person, but if you are unable to attend, please call Bennett Rink at (212) 405-9000 to share your voice for our cause.” #ArtistsOfAiley #UnionStrong #ReachingForTheStandard #AGMA #CountMeIN #Support #aaadt #ballet #blackboysdancetoo #instaailey #dancemagazine #dance #aileynow #union
In a Change.org petition, the entertainers claim Ailey dancers “put on more performances than any other major dance company in the United States with only one-third to one-half the number of dancers at other companies, and yet they earn far less than their peers.” Nearly 3,000 supporters have signed the petition.
Reps for the company said, “We remain committed to reaching an agreement that is both fair and sustainable.”
Dancers have already boycotted their own gala at the Kennedy Center in December, and will likely sit out the annual Spirit Gala on June 14 at Lincoln Center if a new deal is not reached.