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Are dancers individually represented by AGMA


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#1 ballet valet

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 02:06 PM

My DD will not be at this level for several more years but I am wondering how many dancers are represented by AGMA? Is it uncommon to have this type of representation even when most of the major US ballet companies acknowledge AGMA membership? Maybe all dancers should jump on board. Even the Metropolitan Opera dancer auditions give preferential treatment to AGMA members. Anyone with any personal experience please reply!

AGMA general info:
http://www.musicalar.....uary 2011.pdf

#2 Momof3darlings

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:37 PM

Kristine-I moved your topic from the Congratulations thread to it's own since it was not a congratulatory post or a company position announcement.
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#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:52 PM

I think you have to realize what "AGMA company" means. It means that the company ("management") recognizes the American Guild of Musical Artists as the advocate for the dancers ("labor") and will bargain collectively to make a General Contract under which Individual ("Artist") Contracts are drawn. You might be surprised to learn how many companies are non-union!

AGMA only has 8,000 members of ALL sorts, including opera singers and directors, besides the dancers.

And yes, individual dancers are represented by AGMA.
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#4 luceroblanco

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 05:20 PM

I am a member of AGMA, as a singer, not a dancer. For me it has been worthwhile because the best opera gigs are in the AGMA union houses. Anything else in opera is usually low-paying. For me also, if I wanted to, I could buy into Equity as an AGMA member and I would not have to jump any of the hoops to get an Equity card. For AGMA you can be a member and work anywhere, union or non-union.

I think for dancers it would really depend on their level, how mobile they are and if they are near an AGMA opera house that pays dancers well (the MET would be one) I don't know how much dancers make there but the pay for singers is the highest in the country. At the AGMA opera house in my city the dancers do not get paid much compared to the singers. I was shocked when someone told me how much. Also the opera does not need them for more than 1 or 2 operas per year and they often do not pick the same dancers for every one. One of my ballet teachers is in AGMA and for whatever reason maintains his/her membership--performing occasionally with the opera and the ballet. There are not too many AGMA companies for dancers in our area, so it might not be worth it for someone who just stays in one place and they are not in NYC, Chicago or San Francisco--all three with big AGMA opera seasons that might give them good work, plus AGMA ballet companies as well. Of course this is assuming that the dancer is good enough to get cast into anything of these.

I'm not sure if the joining fee is the same for all members whether dancer, singer or stage management. That might be listed on the website. I think it was $500 when I first joined several years ago. But you pay it once and then you pay yearly dues (under $100). Then for each AGMA show they take out something.

AGMA singers get preferential treatment at auditions for AGMA companies in opera chorus but not as soloists.

I use my AGMA card to get discount rates on dance classes in my city and also in NYC. It comes in VERY handy for that and saves me 30% the price of the class in my city and about 20-25% in NYC. Most of the major dance studios in NYC give performing union discounts. Also Sansha and Capezio store give a 10% or 20% discount (can't remember which). I also got a good credit card deal with it. These are little perks and not enough reason alone to get into the union.

#5 Momof3darlings

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:03 PM

For those who are familiar with AGMA membership, what if any limitations does this then put on a young dancer auditioning for companies who may not have yet had a job in the industry.
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#6 ballet valet

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 11:43 PM

I was suprised that so many large ballet companies are AGMA 'Signatories' including ABT, Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, PNB, Houston Ballet, NYC Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Joffrey Ballet and more. I would like to hear more from any AGMA Dancers and what they have experienced as members.

#7 Mel Johnson

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 04:27 AM

During the spring audition season, I think I've only seen a handful of auditions for AGMA companies in the last 30 years which were not "open", but posted as "union only". For dancers being hired "casually", i.e., not via a general audition, but, for example, by attending company class during the contract year, AGMA membership does tend to "grease the skids". It saves management administrative time and effort.
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