SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED: the importance of contracts as a professional dancer.
Having a contract signed before you undertake any work as a professional dancer or performer is important. The contract is essentially a written agreement confirming the activities, conditions and fee associated with the job you’re doing.
Having it all written down beforehand means there’s no misunderstanding of what is expected from either side. In the event of a dispute, you can refer back to the agreement for clarity. Even if a dance job feels too small to require an agreement or you trust your client completely, even if your client is a friend, it’s important to put something in writing to protect yourself – it’s simply good business practice. If you get into a habit of insisting on this for every job, soon enough, it won’t even be a thing.
If the client is serious about working with you, they shouldn’t have an issue with putting a contract in place. If a client gives you any hassle or avoids putting an agreement in place think very carefully before agreeing to work with them!
A contract doesn’t need to be written in flowery language or using long words for it to be valid, simply write down the agreed points as you and your client understand it. If your client doesn’t give you a contract, you should write one and ask them to sign it, make this part of the way you do business.
If you are offered a contract by your client, make sure you read it and understand it before signing it. If you’re unsure, ask your client for more time to go through the agreement with someone else.
REMEMBER: A contract is meaningless unless signed by both parties, so make sure your copy has both yours and your client’s signatures along with the date it was signed.
I’ve put together a checklist of things that should be included in any contract, or that you should ask your client to include where appropriate. You can use the points in this checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered, and you can download that, for free by visiting danceindustry.co.uk.
Asking for a contract isn’t unreasonable, you’re not being difficult, you’re being sensible. As a self-employed professional dancer, you’ve got to look out for you – so even though it might seem difficult to exert a bit of authority, it will benefit you in the long term! I have personally been involved in jobs for which I did not get a contract and I ended up thousands of pounds out of pocket when the client simply didn’t pay. Don’t get burnt!
Visit danceindustry.co.uk to get your contract checklist.
DANCE+INDUSTRY: MAKE MORE MOVES helps professional dancers be better at business, we offer advice, seminars, courses and live events professional dancers looking to take their career to the next level, for a happier, more stable and long-lasting career in dance. Knowledge is power, so visit today or find us on Instagram .
DANCE+INDUSTRY founder Kymberlee Jay will be at MOVE IT 2018, stand 749.
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