Here is the second post in my series on how to handle sticky dance situations.

Situation 2:

You are the scheduling dancer at a venue. The owner says he has a dancer he would like added to the schedule. You have never met or seen said dancer but it is the owner’s discretion so you put her on the schedule. The night comes and goes when she performs and the next week you are there. You hear from customers and staff that she was not a good dancer, came in a sheer costume and was inappropriate. Meanwhile, the owner insists she be kept on the schedule. what do you do?

I know, this is the situation that makes us dancers cringe and scream. We want to keep the gig and we want the owner to be happy, but we also want to uphold the art. Here are four things you can do:

1. Ask the customers (not the staff, unless they offer, you don’t want to get them fired) to lodge their complaints with the owner. A lot of times, owners blow off a dancer’s comment and say it’s due to jealousy and/or a myriad of other things. (“Oh you just want all the shows for yourself” Um, no, we don’t. We like night off too). If the customers are the ones letting the owner know, then he may be inclined to actually do something about it. Hopefully he will speak to the dancer and not flat out remove her.

2. Speak to the dancer indirectly, via email. You’ll need to email everyone to get availability, correct? Send out the availability email and therein, remind everyone of the standards and guidelines for performers at the restaurant. Things like appropriate behavior and costuming. Costuming doesn’t have to be expensive, just cover and fit properly. You could mention that it’s easy to forget that lighting shines on fabric in ways that  can make fabric sheer. However you want to phrase it. See if after that email, you get  a response or if any changes are made.

What if you do 1 and 2 and still nothing? The same complaints are being lodged?

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3. You could email the dancer yourself. Open a dialogue. You don’t have to be accusatory. Just state what is being said to you from the customers and that you want all the dancers to be given the utmost respect and shown in the best way. She may respond favorably or not, but at least you will know that you tried. Some would say to show up at her next night but that could feel too much like an ambush. You could suggest that in your email, if she opens up the dialogue and says that she does not do these things. Then go, and see for yourself.

4. Stay or go. If you are able to handle this dancer being on the schedule and allow her spark with the owner to die down over time, then go for it. If you are able to rationalize that in our business, like any other, your client is the boss. Your job is to satifsy them, then stay. If you truly cannot handle what is going on then speak to the owner and respectfully resign from the role as scheduler and dancer. You never know, perhaps in that moment, they will decide to entertain your concerns. Or they may say nothing.

Whatever you do of these steps, always remember to keep your cool. Blowing up and getting emotional doesn’t help anyone and it certainly doesn’t help you. Dance is your business but that doesn’t mean you need to give it the stress of business.

I hope you have enjoyed the second post of this series (click here to see post 1) and will comment with your own experiences and advice. What you’ve gone through may help another dancer dealing with the same.