Navigating the Complex Landscape: Challenges Faced by Dancers and Artists
Welcome to Beyond the StEPS
Dancers and artists play a pivotal role in shaping culture, providing entertainment, and challenging societal norms. However, beneath the grace and creativity lies a complex web of challenges that artists grapple with throughout their careers. From financial instability to the need for greater representation, the journey of a dancer or artist is far from the glamour often associated with their craft.
- The financial rollercoaster is a well-known reality for many artists. In a profession marked by irregular income, low pay rates, and a lack of financial security, dancers often find themselves facing significant financial challenges. The struggle to make ends meet is a common thread that weaves through the diverse tapestry of the artistic community.
Limited Job Opportunities:
- The dance and arts industry is a fiercely competitive arena, leaving artists with limited job opportunities, especially for those specializing in specific genres or styles. Securing consistent work becomes an uphill battle, requiring resilience and determination.
Self-Worth and Recognition:
- The pervasive stereotype of the "starving artist" can have a profound impact on the self-worth and recognition of dancers and artists. Overcoming societal perceptions and establishing the true value of artistic contributions becomes an ongoing journey of self-discovery.
- Diversity and inclusion remain significant challenges within the arts. Certain demographics face hurdles in securing roles or opportunities, highlighting the urgent need for a more inclusive and representative industry that reflects the rich tapestry of our society.
Lack of Industry Standardization:
- Unlike many other professions, the dance and arts sector lacks standardization in terms of pay rates, contracts, and professional expectations. This absence of clear standards can lead to confusion, exploitation, and a sense of vulnerability, particularly for emerging artists.
Physical and Mental Strain:
- The physically demanding nature of dance takes its toll on artists' bodies, leading to injuries and health challenges. The pressure to meet artistic expectations and maintain a certain image also contributes to mental health issues, emphasizing the need for holistic well-being.
Limited Access to Resources:
- Access to crucial resources such as rehearsal spaces, training facilities, or professional development opportunities remains a challenge for some artists. The scarcity of resources can impede artistic growth and hinder career advancement.
- The rise of digital platforms and technology has disrupted traditional modes of artistic expression and consumption. Adapting to new technologies while preserving the integrity of artistic expression poses a significant challenge for artists navigating the ever-evolving landscape.
Balancing Artistic Vision and Commercial Viability:
- Striking a balance between staying true to one's artistic vision and creating work that is commercially viable is a perpetual dilemma. Negotiating this delicate equilibrium is crucial for long-term success in an industry where creativity meets commerce.
- Gaps in education, particularly in business, marketing, and financial literacy, present challenges for artists. Understanding the business side of the industry is essential for sustainable careers and navigating the intricate web of financial intricacies.
Vulnerability to Exploitation:
- Emerging artists may find themselves vulnerable to exploitation due to a lack of knowledge about contracts, rights, and industry standards. Awareness and education are key components in safeguarding artists from potential exploitation.
While the challenges faced by dancers and artists are formidable, the resilience and passion of individuals within the artistic community continue to redefine industry norms. By advocating for change, embracing diversity, and fostering a more supportive and inclusive environment, artists are contributing to a future where the dance and arts sector thrives, ensuring a vibrant and flourishing creative landscape for generations to come.
Continue your Education for yourself and your students with the StEPS Initiative Course!
About the StEPS Initiative Course
This course started in part with our charity event we created to save dance studios. Then we decided to keep it a free resource for the dance community. You can learn all about it below.
As part of our commitment to education and creating a safe space for all dancers, we are excited to introduce the StEPS Initiative Course. This has been curated by Apolla and donated from experts and professionals in each topic.
Our goal in creating this course is to give dance teachers continuing education/professional development, give dancers the power of education, and provide parents the knowledge to see red flags. Each section has actionable items that can unite dance studios focused on equity and creating a safe space for every dancer. This course gives evidence-based information, some perspective & qualitative information, dance history, and further resources that can help you learn something new that helps progress and strengthen your studio OR solidify what you already have in place. There is something for everyone!
This course is free for EVERYONE (Apolla has covered the cost and the presenters have donated the course content). These are meant to be introductions and actionable items for you. We know this is not a silver bullet to fix every issue or topic that needs to be addressed in dance. Each topic is deep and broad on its own. However, we aim for this to be the first step for some of us in these topics and even serves as a small catalyst for change in our industry. You will see there are also many resources that can allow you to expand your journey further in any of the subjects. With all that 2020 has thrown at all of us, we are determined to heal through listening, grow from adversity through action, and rise up by bringing everyone together. In the end, we will create a space open wide for the new generation of artists and athletes to ring in the new decade stronger and safer than ever!
Watch the full beyond the StEPS Episode with Susanne Puerschel* Here!
Susanne is the CEO of R.I.S.E. media and the founder and lead creator on “Pointe to Rise'' podcast. She became affiliated with Confluence Ballet in February 2022 through an interview with two of our company artists, and, seeing mutual interest and compatibility with our organizations’ missions, joined the board soon after. A former dancer, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts focused in Ballet from Staatliche Ballett Schule Berlin, Susanne uses her platform and her role within confluence to expand the scope and reach of ballet, and works make the art form an equitable and sustainable career within Confluence and beyond Susanne spent over 25 years in the Performing Arts experiencing firsthand how the industry functions. With over 10 years of experience in managing a fortune 500 company, she built and led her own 7 figure business before combining her knowledge & passion into building the bridge between tradition & evolution with R.I.S.E.