Creating More Equity in the Dance Ecosystem

Dance/USA’s new resource helps address equity in contracts


The pandemic has prompted a new focus on more equitable dance contracts.

When COVID-19 shut down performances and residencies in 2020, the impact was devastating to our dance ecosystem. Artists and managers alike suffered from inequities in contract language and lost contracts through force majeure cancellations.

A joint working group at Dance/USA has worked to address these inequities, by creating standardization documents in three categories: contracting, payment structures, and cancellations. 

1. Equitable contracting 
Dance/USA’s work on fair and equitable contracting offers practical ideas and suggestions for terminology, such as “engagement” as opposed to “performance.” Learn more about these distinctions here.

2. Equitable payment structures
This document from Dance/USA gives information related to payment structure differences, such as “payments & deliverables” versus “deposit”. Find out why these payment differences matter here.

3. Equitable force majeure cancellations
The work done by Dance/USA gives a heavy emphasis on force majeure cancellations, with a focus on the idea that “just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s good business” – meaning that force majeure does not have to mean immediate termination. Learn more here.

What’s included in Dance/USA’s documentation
The document package from Dance/USA includes the standardization document outlining the three areas explored, general tech rider prototypes, a hotel questionnaire, and a sample tour book. While the documentation does not provide specific language for contracts, it offers practical ideas and suggestions for contracts that support field-wide sustainability and more equitable business practices.

Pentacle believes in the equitable execution of all agreements between parties within the arts ecosystem. To learn more about and access these documents, visit Dance/USA. And to request the documentation directly, complete this form. The information is available to everyone in the field!


Pentacle remains dedicated to continuing to provide a high level of support to artists during these extraordinary circumstances. Alongside many other key and respected organizations in the field, we have begun accumulating and curating resources for artists and organizations experiencing income loss and other troubles as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Find our list of resources here.

NEXTSTEPS | 05.03.2021

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