When the pandemic hit in 2020, battering cultural establishments and forcing New York City Ballet to cancel performances for 18 months, the corporate diminished the salaries of dancers and different artists by 4 % because it labored to climate the disaster.
The dancers have in current months sought to offset these losses, pushing for raises as they negotiated a brand new labor contract. This week, they received a victory: City Ballet mentioned that as part of a three-year labor settlement, it might increase salaries for dancers and restore some advantages that had been halted in the course of the pandemic, together with trip pay and contributions to retirement accounts.
Sam Wheeler, the nationwide government director of American Guild of Musical Artists, the union representing dancers, stage managers and different employees at City Ballet, mentioned in a press release that the contract was “a great example of what can be achieved when management and unions work together.”
Like many cultural teams, City Ballet is working to revive cuts made in the course of the pandemic with the hope that the worst of the disaster is over. In current months, because the monetary outlook for arts establishments has grown considerably brighter, some teams, together with the New York Philharmonic, have reversed pandemic-era pay cuts. But arts leaders acknowledge that many uncertainties stay, together with whether or not audiences will return to live performance halls as steadily as they did earlier than the pandemic.
Under the settlement, which was ratified by the union on Tuesday, the dancers will obtain a wage enhance of 6.7 % this season, tied to the speed of inflation in New York City. In 2023 and 2024, they may obtain further will increase.
City Ballet, in a press release, mentioned the contract “both provides economic benefits, and continues our important work on creating a respectful and safe workplace for all employees.”
The contract consists of a number of measures aimed toward constructing a safer and extra inclusive tradition at City Ballet, particularly for girls and dancers of colour.
The firm will rent an intimacy director on a pilot foundation to look after the bodily and emotional well-being of performers, and to assist be certain that consent is given when dancers are referred to as upon to the touch one another in intimate methods.
Under the settlement, City Ballet will formally undertake a coverage permitting dancers to make use of tights and sneakers that higher match every dancer’s pores and skin tone, somewhat than commonplace pink apparel, a follow that the corporate has been experimenting with since final 12 months. The firm additionally pledged to work to eradicate racial and ethnic stereotypes in ballet.
The pandemic shutdown disrupted the careers of a lot of City Ballet’s rising stars and resulted in the lack of $55 million in anticipated ticket gross sales. Just as stay efficiency was getting off the bottom final 12 months, the Omicron variant emerged, forcing the corporate to cancel 26 exhibits in December and January, together with performances of “The Nutcracker,” usually its most profitable present of the 12 months.
Attendance final season was nonetheless beneath prepandemic ranges, hovering round 80 %. But the corporate hopes that its new season will deliver audiences again in drive. The firm’s first efficiency will happen on Sept. 20 with a program of dances by George Balanchine.