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Even though dancers are artists, we are also individuals who are running a business. That means that we are usually independent contractors, and most of us often do not have an agent or manager looking out for our best interests when it comes to gigs! If you follow this blog, you’ve undoubtedly seen me mention the importance of contracts for gigs, especially for private engagements.
A gig contract will spell out everything that you and your client have agreed upon in the course of gig negotiations, and clearly states your terms and conditions for taking the job, as well as what the client agrees to provide. Your contract doesn’t need to be a jumble of legalese, but should include points on everything possible to, for lack of a better phrase, cover your ass so your job will run as smoothly as possible! The contract can be signed and mailed or scanned and sent via email, usually along with a check or Paypal deposit.
For dancers, every work situation is different, and the contract should reflect these differences.
If you are teaching at a major festival, a local or out-of-town studio, or working at a night club, on a video, corporate event or whatever, they will probably have their own contract for you to sign, and will also provide you with the appropriate tax forms. However, for private parties and “neighborhood” gigs such as street fairs or restaurants, there may not be a standard contract, so it is up to you to provide a contract, for your own protection. As an independent contractor, it will also be your responsibility to keep track of your earnings, and declare them on your taxes.
Below is a sample idea for a contract covering an individual performer working at private party or one-off gig. Use this for reference only.
Depending on your requirements, you can make changes to this sample as needed. Obviously, if you are working with a troupe, or doing an aerial or fire performance or some other potentially dangerous ( to the audience, venue or yourself) type of performance, these needs must be discussed and agreed to, and you will often have to provide proof of insurance, or check with local or state regulations covering this type of show.
This contract represents the complete terms and conditions between __________________ (hereafter referred to as Client) and____(YOUR NAME)_____________ (hereafter referred to as Artist).
Artist will appear for a dance performance on
Date: ______________ at the below specified location:
Performance Time: _____________
Client Email: ____________________________________
Client Phone: _____________________________
Artist will perform ___ dance set(s) for duration of _______ minutes, or a dance lesson for the duration of _______ followed by performance of _______ minutes.
Artist’s Performance includes: ______________________________________
Special Requests: _____________________________________________
Client agrees to communicate any other special request(s) to Artist at least one week (seven days) in advance of performance.
If mutually agreed upon, Artist will encourage audience participation towards the end of the performance set.
Artist will provide music on CD___ or on iPod_____
Client agrees to provide an adequate sound system capable of adequate volume and an operator, which will be tested/sound-checked prior to performance.
Client will provide a clean and safe performance area
free of debris, electrical cords, spilled liquid. If there are children present, Client agrees to make sure they are supervised and have no access to the performance area during the run of the show.
Client agrees to provide secure, private space for Artist to change into costume and to store personal belongings while performing.
Client will provide Artist with a deposit in the amount of $________ due by _____________.
Balance of payment to Artist is due in cash immediately following the performance, in the amount of $_______.
In the event of a cancellation on Client’s part less than one week (seven days) prior to the event, Artist requires payment in full. If Artist’s performance time is pushed back by 30 minutes or more, a Wait Fee of $_______ will apply. Client’s initials:______
This contract is agreed to and accepted by:
Client: ___________________________ Date: ________
Artist: ____________________________Date: ________
You can purchase a signed copy of “The Belly Dance Handbook” by Princess Farhana here: