Always have a contract!

A contract is the foundation upon which any employment situation builds success. Whether the contract is a single page or a 50 page document, it exists to serve all parties.

CADA/West Dance Contract

The CADA/West Dance Contract is a basic contract template. We encourage engagers and artists to adapt the document and/or use it as a resource during contract negotiations.

A contract establishes the vital components of a working relationship.

It defines WHAT the job is, including outlining the schedule; location; fees; and the duties and services required of both the engager and the engagee.

It defines the RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES of both contract parties.

It defines LINES OF COMMUNICATION: Who shall questions and issues be conveyed to? What happens if the contract fails or needs to shift?

See CADA/West Fees & Rates Standards for recommended MINIMUM pay rates.

CADA/West Dance Policy

The CADA/West Dance Policy is a set of guidelines that identify the rights and responsibilities that engagers and dance artists share in working together.

CADA/West takes no responsibility for working relationships that evolve as a result of using these guidelines. It is understood that there may be conditions and terms that are specifc to the demands of a particular contract and that both parties, the Engager and the Engagee, are free to propose changes to the terms and conditions defned in this policy.

OVERVIEW: Dancer means a person who renders services as a performer in the feld of dance, either exclusively or in combination with other forms of art, under the terms and conditions of a contract.

  1. The Dancer agrees to be on time for rehearsals and costume fttings; to attend all rehearsals as laid out in the rehearsal schedule; to appear at the venue on time for the show call; to abide by protocols of stage make-up and stage dress; to perform their services as reasonably directed and execute the choreography to the best of their ability; to learn their role within a reasonable time period; to properly care for their costume and props; to use, when required, safe electronic equipment and to respect the physical property of others and the venue.
  2. The Dancer agrees to abide by all of the obligations in their contract and attached riders.
  3. The Dancer’s requirement to attend classes and warm-ups will be determined and agreed upon by the Dancer and the Engager prior to the commencement of the engagement period.
  4. Outside of rehearsal hours, the Dancer will be available for paid costume fttings, photo calls, publicity and/or video documentation, given a minimum of 72 hours notice.
  5. The Dancer will not present themself during scheduled terms of work while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs.
  6. The Dancer has the right to be kept informed and updated as to rehearsal dates and times, performance times and touring plans.
  7. The Dancer is not required to fulfill any additional roles (i.e. Company teacher, rehearsal director, administrator, publicity assistant, janitor, wardrobe, or any other duty) other than as a Dancer, unless otherwise agreed and specifed in writing. The Dancer will not perform any additional duties that have been agreed to and specifed in writing unless they negotiate additional compensation.
  8. From time to time, the Dancer may be asked to participate in additional activities that beneft the production, festival or venue by providing increased exposure, like artist pre- and post-show talkbacks, private receptions and/or media interviews. These activities constitute part of the engagement and are not considered additional roles. All such activities should be openly communicated to the Dancer with at least 72 hours advanced notice.
  9. The Dancer will provide their own basic make-up and undergarments (except those required as costume), standard rehearsal clothing and basic hair care. The Engager will provide all specialized make-up.
  10. Footwear that is additional to what the Dancer normally wears to train or rehearse will be provided by the Engager as rehearsal footwear and will be used only in rehearsals. Where special or specifc footwear, satisfactory to the Dancer as to fit, quality and safety, is required for performance, such footwear will be provided by the Engager as costuming. The Dancer and Engager will defne a mutually agreed upon time period during which the Dancer may rehearse in such footwear.
  11. The Dancer has the right to a reasonably safe rehearsal time period for extraordinary costuming, footwear, masks, headdresses, wigs, jewelry, etc.
  12. The Dancer has the right to refuse to perform any act they deem unreasonable or unsafe.
  13. During rehearsal and performance, necessary protection for the Dancer (i.e. knee pads, bandages, braces, ice, etc.) will be allowed, if required by the Dancer. The Dancer will inform the Engager at the earliest possible time if such protection is necessary.
  14. The Dancer agrees to abide by all rules of the venue that are not in confict with the provisions of the contract.
  15. The Dancer is not liable for any costs if an Engager, Choreographer, Producer or Presenter declares bankruptcy.

OVERVIEW: Choreographer means an artist who creates an original work of choreography; recreates their original work of choreography already performed by any company, dance artist or groups of dance artists; creates a work which is a combination of the above.

  1. The Choreographer agrees to be on time for all scheduled rehearsals; respect the physical property of others and/or venue; conduct rehearsals in a respectful manner and to abide by the artistic policies as specifed in the contract. In addition, the Choreographer agrees to make reasonable personal publicity appearances and participate in radio, television and press interviews for the purpose of promoting the production.
  2. The Choreographer agrees to abide by all of the obligations in their contract and attached riders.
  3. Outside of rehearsal hours, the Choreographer will be available for costume fttings, photo calls, publicity or video documentation given a minimum of 72 hours notice.
  4. The Choreographer will not present themself during scheduled terms of work while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs.
  5. The Choreographer is not required to fulfill any additional roles (i.e. Company teacher, rehearsal director, administrator, publicity assistant, janitor, wardrobe, or any other duty) other than as a Choreographer, unless otherwise agreed and specifed in writing. The Choreographer will not perform any additional duties that have been agreed to and specifed in writing unless they negotiate additional compensation.
  6. From time to time, the Choreographer may be asked to participate in additional activities that beneft the production, festival or venue by providing increased exposure, like artist pre- and post-show talkbacks, private receptions and/or media interviews. These activities constitute part of the engagement and are not considered additional roles. All such activities should be openly communicated to the Choreographer with at least 72 hours advanced notice.
  7. The Choreographer will terminate rehearsals at the designated time.
  8. The Choreographer will not make demands on the Dancer that place the Dancer’s health and welfare at risk.
  9. The Choreographer is responsible for providing information relating to time and resources required to complete their work. The Choreographer is obliged to meet schedules and budgets and communicate any variances in a timely manner.
  10. The Choreographer will maintain rehearsal, production and performance schedules.
  11. The Choreographer has the right to cast the Dancers who are suitable in fulflling the specifc needs of the production and will inform the Dancers of all casting and casting changes in a timely manner.
  12. In the event of a re-mounting of the production, the Choreographer has the right to re-cast the dancers as they deem fit, without regard to casting of the original production.
  13. Other than an emergency change, the Choreographer will post any cast change during a performance season at least two (2) days in advance of the implementation of such change.
  14. The Choreographer has the right to negotiate with the Engager the terms of payment of royalties and the licensing for the presentation of works choreographer by the Choreographer.

OVERVIEW: The Producer is responsible for the production of a dance performance. The Producer engages dance companies or independent artists to create or re-mount work.

  1. The Producer agrees to provide a safe and sanitary working environment during production. The Producer will be responsible for all costs of the production unless otherwise negotiated and specified in the agreement, and for the fulfilment of all legal and engagement obligations stated in their agreement and all riders attached thereto.
  2. A Dance Artist may fulfil the role of the Producer or share responsibilities as Co-Producer. Whenever there are Co-Producers, specific responsibilities should be confirmed in a written letter of agreement or contract.
  3. The Producer agrees to abide by all engagement obligations such as securing copyright permissions and licenses (as required by the Choreographer) and ensuring that payments for royalties are directed to the appropriate individuals unless otherwise negotiated and specified in the agreement and/or confirm that the appropriate umbrella licences of presenters are in order.
  4. The Producer will maintain the budget and have final approval of expenses incurred for the Production.
  5. The Producer maintains rehearsal, production and performance schedules in conjunction with the production team.
  6. The Producer is responsible for publicizing the production as negotiated (when the Producer is working with a Presenter this responsibility may be that of the Presenter).
  7. The Producer will obtain or ensure that adequate liability insurance is in place for the rehearsal and performance venues, including that required for outdoor performances or other alternative performance venues unless otherwise negotiated and specified in the agreement. The insurance will indemnify the Dance Artists from damages to the venue, other artists, members of the audience and the public at large.
  8. The Producer (in conjunction with the Choreographer) will outline a detailed schedule of the number of hours required for each aspect of the production, including development, rehearsal, performance, workshops and other required work.
  9. The Producer will outline a detailed schedule of the confirmed performance dates and possible or unconfirmed performance dates for the production team.
  10. The Producer will obtain specific permits as required by provincial or municipal bylaws or confirm with the Presenter that they are in place (when applicable).
  11. The Producer is solely responsible for all costs if the Producer declares bankruptcy.
  12. When a Producer takes on the role of an Engager or Employer, appropriate measures must be in place for workers' compensation coverage in the event of a workplace injury. Refer to your provincial organization that regulates this coverage.

OVERVIEW: A Presenter is an organization or person engaging companies or independent artists to offer to program to an audience. A presenter may or may not be specialized in dance. Presenters can be community-based not-for-profit organizations, facility presenters, dance specialized presenters, school boards, universities, festivals or others.

  1. The Presenter agrees to provide a safe and sanitary working environment subject to the health and safety standards applicable in the location of the performance. The Presenter is responsible for the fulfilment of all legal and engagement obligations stated in their agreement with the Producer and all the riders attached thereto. Please refer to the CanDance Network Code of Ethics for more information.
  1. A sprung wooden floor and/or Marley are considered appropriate for dance. The necessary traction and safety concerning the nature of the work being rehearsed will be discussed and suitable adjustments in choreographic requirements and/or the use of any other necessary protective apparatus and apparel will be made.
  2. Rehearsal and performance areas will include proper flooring, good ventilation, adequate lighting, sanitary toilet facilities, hot and cold running water, adequate heat, accessibility to first aid equipment (including ice packs and tensor bandages) and a regularly maintained, clean, working environment.
  3. The venue area temperature will be at or between a minimum of 18℃ and a maximum of 32℃ at all times;
  4. i. Area air temperature will be within this above-stated range. Exceptions may be made for outdoor performances, however, Dance Artists have the right to refuse to work without penalty if the area air temperature is not within the above-stated range.

    ii. Dance surface temperature will be at or between a minimum of 6℃ and a maximum of 36℃. The Producer/Presenter is responsible for providing a contact temperature with which to measure the dance surface temperature.

  5. The Dance Artist has the right to request any additional protective equipment or measure they may deem necessary for their health and safety, including the rescheduling and or reprogramming of rehearsals and/or performances.
  6. If the venue standards and conditions as outlined in the agreement are not met and if the possibility exists of damage to their physical health and well-being, the Dance Artist has the right to refuse work and will still receive payment in full.
  1. Prior to the beginning of the engagement, the type of payment (e.g. hourly, weekly or flat rate) will be negotiated by the Engager and the Dancer.
  2. Prior to the beginning of the engagement, the frequency of payment will be negotiated by the Engager and the Dancer.
  3. Any change or amendment to the rehearsal schedule or performance schedule will constitute an amendment to this agreement and is not binding on the Dancer unless such the amendment is set out in writing and signed by both parties. In the case of a change, a performance schedule is delivered to the Dancer no less than one month before the first performance date.
  4. In the case of a change to a performance schedule, otherwise under the terms of this schedule, the Dancer may not withhold consent.
  5. In respect of any change to a rehearsal schedule or any change to a performance schedule not under the terms of 3. above, the parties hereto agree to negotiate such amendment in good faith.
  6. The parties acknowledge that the Dancer may, nonetheless, refuse consent to such amendment, where such amendment requires a commitment outside of the normal working hours of the Dancer and involves a conflict with the Dancer's personal, professional or other contractual commitments. Such refusal of consent will not require a further reason and in no event will be the subject of further penalty or liability, including but not limited to termination or threat of termination. If the parties execute an amendment to the original contract, and where such amendments result in reduced time or services required of the Dancer, the amount payable, as such term is defined herein, will not be reduced.
  7. Regarding hours of work, where any rehearsal exceeds 3 hours, the Engager and the Dancer shall arrange a schedule of meal breaks and/or rest breaks that best support the health and safety of the Dancer as well as the most efficient use of available rehearsal time for the needs of the Engager. Such schedule is to be agreed upon before the commencement of the rehearsal and to incorporate the following requirements:
  8. (a) the Dancer shall not be required to work longer than 2 hours without a break;
    (b) a 4–hour work period shall include a MINIMUM of 15 min break time; and
    (c) a rehearsal day of 5 hours or more shall include a MINIMUM of 1/2 hr meal break that is distinct from other rests or breaks occurring during work hours;
    (d) a rehearsal day of 8 hours shall have a MINIMUM of 1 hr break time, including the MINIMUM 1/2 hr meal break.

  9. Regarding the duration of work, in no event will the Engager require the Dancer to provide services above the hourly amounts enumerated below, such amounts include the required break times as stated in 7. above (a–c):
  10. (i) On non-performance days, the maximum amount of rehearsal time and/or travel time on any single day is:

    (a) 8 hours when a minimum of 1.5 hours are designated to class or warm–up time
    (b) 8 hours when a minimum of 3 hours are used exclusively for a staging rehearsal; or
    (c) 8 hours when used wholly for travel. In the event of international tours, travel may exceed 8 hours, in which particular attention shall be given to 5., 7. and 8..

    (ii) On performance days, the maximum amount of rehearsal time on any single day is

    (a) 2 hours; or
    (b) 3 hours when used exclusively for staging rehearsal.

  11. The Engager, on performance days, will not establish or attempt to enforce a schedule where:
  12. (a) there are less than 2 hours between the end of the rehearsal, and the start of the performance;
    (b) the amount of travel time is more than 3 hours; and
    (c) there are any rehearsals in addition to staging rehearsals.

  13. When on Tour and travelling by motor vehicle, the Engager will allow the following rest requirements for the health of the Dancer:
  14. (a) a 15 minute rest period after every 3 hours of travel time; and
    (b) a MINIMUM 1/2 hour meal break in addition to above stated rest period when travelling for 5 hours or more.

  15. The Engager will not schedule nor attempt to enforce a schedule where there is a full rehearsal on days involving more than one performance.
  16. The Engager will not schedule nor attempt to enforce a call for the Dancers where there are less than 12 hours provided between the end of one day's call and the beginning of the next day's call.
  17. The Engager will not schedule nor attempt to enforce a schedule that does not provide, a minimum of 1 free day per week.
  18. The Engager will not schedule nor attempt to enforce a schedule where there are over 8 full–length performances, for each one week.
  19. The Engager will not schedule nor attempt to enforce a schedule where there are over 10 educational engagements for each one week and an excess of:
  20. (a) 2 educational engagements per day where there is a venue change; and
    (b) 3 educational engagements per day where there is no venue change.

  21. Warm–up calls for performance will be determined in agreement between the Producer/Presenter, the Choreographer and the Dancer according to the needs of the performance.
  1. Notwithstanding Hours of work and terms of engagement of this schedule, where the Engager schedules time or services of the Dancer, that result in the hours of work exceeding the maximums allowed or any other infringement, the Dancer will be compensated for each hour or part thereof (on a pro–rata basis) more than the minimums established:
  2. (a) at a rate of 150% of the Dancer's hourly or pro–rata rate for any excess hours or portion thereof; or
    (b) at the Dancer's hourly or pro–rata rate with a provision of compensatory time off prior to the end of the engagement.

  3. Notwithstanding Payment protocols of this schedule, the Dancer and Engager may agree to negotiate in good faith any reasonable schedule that requires the Dancer to provide time or services above the maximums provided in Payment protocols schedule, but in no event will the Engager require, request or allow, directly or indirectly, the Dancer to work excessive hours or hours detrimental to their health or safety.
  1. Suggested minimum hourly rates do not preclude the Dance Artist from negotiating higher than these rates.
  2. The Engager and Engagee should be aware when working on an hourly basis that the standard practice is a minimum 2–hour call. This means that should an Engager choose to work less than 2 hours, they must pay Engagee for no less than 2 hours.
  3. Should the Engager choose to work more than 2 hours but less than the contracted number of hours for the activity, the Engagee shall be paid for the number of hours originally contracted.
  4.  

    See CADA/West's Fees & Rates Standards for recommended MINIMUM rates of pay.

(A) Weekly rates

  1. Suggested minimum weekly rates do not preclude the Dance Artist from negotiating higher than these rates.
  2. An Engagee contracted for 20 or more hours per week of rehearsals may be paid a weekly, rather than an hourly rate. A weekly rate means that the Engager and Engagee have agreed upon a determined number of work hours and a set rate of pay per week.
  3. Should an Engager choose to work less than the contracted number of hours in the week, the Engagee is still paid the weekly rate originally negotiated.
  4. Should an Engager choose to work more than the contracted number of hours in the week, the rate for extra hours should be negotiated and paid out to the Engagee in addition to the weekly rate.
  5. Should the Engagee be required to work over 30 hours in a week, overtime will be in effect (see Rights and responsibilities of the Presenter).
  6. During an agreement where the Engagee is paid a weekly fee, the Engager will provide space and/or training as part of paid time for the Engagee's required rehearsal preparation.
  7.  

    See CADA/West's Fees & Rates Standards for recommended MINIMUM rates of pay.

(B) Flat rates

  1. A flat fee may be negotiated and agreed upon by the Engager and Engagee. A flat fee remains subject to the provisions of the Rights and responsibilities of the Presenter.
  2. A flat fee agreement covers any single work period that may include one or more of the following: choreographic development, rehearsal, performance, workshops remounting existing work, technical and dress rehearsals.
  3.  

    See CADA/West's Fees & Rates Standards for recommended MINIMUM rates of pay.

(C) Rates for exclusivity

  1. Exclusivity requires that the Engagee does not work for another Engager on another activity during the agreement period. To request exclusivity, the Engager should provide a workweek with a maximum of 36.25 hours and pay the Dancer on a per–week basis.
  2. Payment under an exclusivity contract, when divided by the total number of hours for rehearsals and performances per week, will not result in the Dancer receiving less than the minimum hourly rate as set out in Hours of work and terms of engagement.
  3. Where an Engager requires the exclusive right to an Engagee, the Engagee cannot expect their requests to adjust the rehearsal, technical or performance schedule to be honoured.
  4.  

    See CADA/West's Fees & Rates Standards for recommended MINIMUM rates of pay.

    Note: It is not recommended that an exclusive Agreement be agreed to when payment is less frequent than weekly or bi–weekly as there is little remedy for non-payment.

(D) Rates for compensation for other activities

  1. Even if the Engager does not anticipate activities such as costume fittings, publicity photo shoots, fundraisers, teaching, Q & A's with the public or receptions, an hourly rate for the Engagee for this type of activity will be negotiated and included in the agreement.
  2. The rate of pay for this type of activity should be the same as the rehearsal rate.
  3.  

    See CADA/West's Fees & Rates Standards for recommended MINIMUM rates of pay.

  1. No Dancer will be terminated by the Engager for any reason whatsoever, within the period that begins two months in advance of the engagement (the “required notice period”), without provision of the minimum notice periods as outlined below:
  2. (a) In the event of a proposed cancellation after the commencement of the required notice period, but before the beginning of the engagement, with the provision of the equivalent of one (1) weeks pay in lieu of notice; or
    (b) after the start of the engagement, two (2) weeks' pay in lieu of notice.

  3. Except where a Dancer is entitled to terminate a dance agreement under Payment protocols of this schedule, no Dancer will terminate a dance agreement with an Engager within the period that begins one month in advance of the engagement (the “dancer notice period”), without provision of the minimum notice periods as outlined below:
  4. (a) In the event of a proposed cancellation after the commencement of the dancer notice period, but before the beginning of the engagement, with the provision of the equivalent of one half (1/2) weeks pay in lieu of notice; or
    (b) after the start of the engagement, one (1) week's pay in lieu of notice.

  1. If the Engagement is delayed, suspended or interrupted by either the Dancer or the Engager, where such delay, failure, loss or damage is caused, whether directly or indirectly, by an occurrence beyond the reasonable control of such party and for which the exercise of reasonable diligence by either party would not have prevented such delay, interruption or suspension, including but not limited to:
  2. (a) illness, injury or accident to the Dancer;
    (b) delay of transportation services, accident to means of transportation, riots, strikes, epidemics, acts of God; and
    (c) compliance with any act, regulation order or request of any governmental authority or agency (collectively, (the “suspension event(s)”) then the existence of such suspension event, will not form the basis for an allegation of a breach of this agreement, and the existence of such suspension events will not entitle either party to sue or bring any action of any kind whatsoever or be liable, as the case may be, for loss or damages concerning such suspension event.

  3. Should the Dancer be obliged to terminate this Agreement due to illness, injury or pregnancy, or due to extenuating circumstances arising from the illness, injury or death of a member of their immediate family, the Dancer will notify the Engager of such extenuating circumstance with all reasonable haste. The Dancer will not suffer any penalty or liability as a result of such extenuating circumstance, and must be paid for all services rendered and time worked; however, the Dancer will not be entitled to payment for any portion of the Engagement that they are unable or unavailable to work.
  1. When a dance is re-mounted after its original production and presentation, royalties must be paid to the Choreographer for performance, unless some other agreement has previously been negotiated. It is the responsibility of the Producer to ensure that the necessary permissions and agreements are in place (see Rights and responsibilities of the Producer 3.).
  2. Royalty fees pertain to the rights of mounting the work, and are negotiated outside of the original choreography fee; they are based upon the length of the work and are paid out per performance: 1% – 10% of the original fee paid for the work.
  3. Ownership: Any contract engaging the services of a Choreographer must stipulate which party has the rights to the completed work. Here are some examples of typical royalty negotiations:
  4. (a) Work created by the Choreographer is the property of the Engager who retains the right to remount at any time.
    (b) Work created by the Choreographer is the property of the Choreographer who retains the right to remount or license the work to another party.
    (c) Work created by the Choreographer is the property of the Engager for a negotiated period of time and the right remains with the Choreographer to remount or license the work to another party.

  5. Legislation: Copyright in Canada is governed by federal legislation called the Copyright Act. At the time of writing, Copyright Act C–42 is in effect and Bill C–32, the Copyright Modernization Act is before the House of Commons. The Copyright Act organizes works into four categories: literary, dramatic, musical and artistic. “Choreographic works” are included in the dramatic category.
    • Under the Copyright Act, exclusive rights are given to the copyright holder(s) for the right to perform the work (including excerpts of the work), reproduction of the work in any medium, distribution of the work and to create derivatives (any work that is derived from your work). Copyright generally lasts for 50 years after the death of the author, after which time it is in “the public domain.”
    • Copyright law is the same throughout Canada and does not vary from province to province. Copyright is protected in over a hundred countries through means of international copyright treaties.
    • Legislation is often clarified through experience and precedents established in courts through litigation, resulting in “case law.” There is little case law around choreography, no doubt because there is so little money involved. Artists may value originality or the concept of individual voice, however, these are not monetized concepts; copyright is driven more by the concept of revenues that can be generated by performances or copying. In cases of collaborative creation, copyright would usually be shared. Write the agreement down and specify percentage ownership in the work. (You may find it useful to consult the Playwrights Guild of Canada document included in the Resource section.) In cases where Dancers/Interpreters have contributed to the creation of choreography through improvisation or other means, usually, they would not be considered co–Choreographers, however, their contribution should be acknowledged in writing in program credits. Be mindful that the level of contribution and co–creation can be difficult to quantify and can change during production. (Authorship has been contested by Dancer/Contributors years after the creation of a work).
    • When commissioning a choreographic work, either the Commissioner or the Choreographer could legally own the copyright. Be clear about this in the contract. In general, CADA/West supports choreographers always owning the copyright to their work.
  6. How is choreographic copyright established?: A work must be capable of being copyright protected; capable means more than an idea, it's an expression of that idea. It must also be new work. The work must be expressed in physical form and be fixated or recorded. It is harder to think of fixation in an ephemeral form such as dance than in literary forms, however, videotaping is a way to fixate as is notating. Your copyright exists the moment your work is fixated in some way.
    • You don't have to register your copyright for it to exist. However, proving your copyright is another thing, therefore, registering copyright can be a good idea. An inexpensive and helpful way of establishing your copyright is by mailing a copy of the work to yourself by registered mail. This is commonly referred to as the “layperson‚Äôs copyright.” Mail yourself a video of the dance you have choreographed and don't open the mail when you get it! An even better way to protect your work is to register it with the Canadian government through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The cost is $50.
    • To qualify for registration, the author must be a Canadian citizen or a person ordinarily resident in Canada or a citizen or subject of or a person ordinarily resident in a country with which Canada has entered into a copyright treaty.
  7. Author vs. owner: the difference between the author and owner of the copyright is the author never changes; the owner can change. (We have already referred to the fact that a commissioner could be the copyright owner.) When a contract stipulates that the choreographic work be deemed, “work made in the course of employment” (Canadian) or “work made for hire” (U.S. equivalent), be aware that you are selling your copyright because work made as an employee in the course of employment is owned by the employer. For example, if you are a dance teacher employed by a school board when you leave the particular school where you choreographed a series of dances, the board is the owner of the dances, not you – unless you have attended to your copyright by specifying your ownership in a contract. You are the author but not the owner in this example.
    • Keep in mind that in the Canadian professional dance community, employment is quite rare and self–employment is more often the norm. As discussed in other parts of this publication, know your employment status.
    • If you sell your copyright, you should receive significantly higher payment for your choreography than if you retain your copyright and license the use of the work. This is because you are forgoing any opportunity to generate revenue by licensing the work in the future (be aware that if you choose to sell your copyright, technically you are opening yourself to claims against you that you are infringing copyright should you make a subsequent work based on the work sold. You could be sued for self–plagiarism!).
    • Even in situations where you as a Choreographer sell the copyright, as the author you retain moral rights. Exercising one's moral rights requires the author's approval before the work can be changed and used in association with a product or cause without the author's permission. The law prevents the selling of moral rights, however, to get around this, contracts sometimes require that moral rights be waived.
  8. Copyright ownership and dance companies: given the above information regarding employment, where does that leave choreographers working within dance companies? Technically speaking, the dance company could own the copyright for choreography made by its Artistic Director (when they are an employee) or any employed choreographer. Clarify this. Practice usually is that copyright resides with the Choreographer and not the company so that if the Choreographer leaves, they can take their work with them. This requires clarification either in the form of a written Board policy or contractual agreement. Even in cases where companies contract self–employed artists as opposed to employing artists, it is a good practice to clarify who owns the choreographic copyright.
  1. The Engager hereby agrees that any film or videotape of a performance or rehearsal, whatever its intended purpose or use, and all related documentation and promotional materials will give credit by name to the Dancer as a performer.
  2. The Dancer hereby agrees to provide a photograph and a biography – stating CADA/West membership if applicable – by the date specified by the Engager for purposes of printing programs and marketing requirements.
  3. The Engager hereby agrees that any printed programs distributed to the audience, posters and other promotional materials will list the name of the Dancer as a performer. Where an error, omission or casting change occurs that affects the Dancer's role or credit, an announcement of the correction or change will be made to the audience immediately prior to the start of the performance and all necessary corrections will be made in the next printing of such materials.
  4. The Engager hereby agrees that any photographs contained in any printed programs, posters and other promotional materials in which the Dancer's image appears will identify the Dancer by name.
  5. The Engager hereby acknowledges that the Dancer is entitled to review all biographical information prior to its printing, subject to the provision that the Dancer will return any proofs, with corrections, to the Engager no later than 24 hours of receiving them.
  6. The Engager hereby acknowledges that the Dancer will not be responsible for any expenses related to publicity appearances arranged for or requested by the Engager.
  1. The Engager will disclose in advance any requirements of the Engagee to participate in photoshoots and/or filming or video tapings.
  2. The use of photographs, film or video footage will be negotiated and included in the agreement.
  3. Note: see section (D) of Payment protocols, section 2. a. i–v of Film & video and the CADA/West Fees & Rates Standards for information about Rates for Commercial Photography.

  4. Such photographs, film or videotapes are the legal property of the Engager and the Engager will use them at their discretion.
  5. The Engagee may request that these materials be updated once the period of engagement is over.
  1. Broadcast/distribution: subject to the terms of sections 2. and 3. of Payment protocols, where a performance or rehearsal is filmed or videotaped for broadcast, telecommunication or distribution purposes, including sales, rentals and theatrical releases, the Dancer will be paid an additional fee of no less than 100% in addition to the Dancer's contracted hourly or pro–rata rate. Upon full and proper payment to the Dancer, the Engager will be licensed to exploit or distribute such videotaped performance or rehearsal without limitation as to term, territory or use, subject only to the requirement that the ultimate Engager of such videotaped performance or rehearsal will be required to secure whatever additional waivers or releases of intellectual property rights as may be required to be secured from the Dancers concerning the planned use of the videotaped performance or rehearsal. The Dancer hereby agrees to not unreasonably withhold such waivers or releases.
  2. Archival/promotional: where a performance or rehearsal is filmed or videotaped for archival or promotional purposes, including grant applications, the Dancer will receive no additional payment. In addition, a maximum of 2 minutes of any filmed or videotaped performance or rehearsal may be broadcast as part of a news report program without additional payment to the Dancer.
    • A recorded performance, rehearsal or production photographs (promotional material), may be presented on the Engager's website or used for other promotional purposes without additional payment to the artist on the following conditions:

      (i) The Engager uses their best efforts to ensure that the material cannot be downloaded, including but not limited to streaming video material;
      (ii) The Engager does not receive any revenue for the use of the material;
      (iii) Any Artist appearing in a principal or soloist role or appearing in footage that features six (6) or fewer Artists, shall have the right of approval over the use of the material for this specific purpose;

      (iv) The names of all Artists shall appear on the website alongside the material;
      (v) The Engager warrants that they are responsible for any misuse of the material.

  3. Production component: where a rehearsal is filmed or videotaped to incorporate the exhibition of such film or videotape into the performance, the Dancer will receive no additional payment.
  4. This section will not be construed as an assignment or waiver of any right or interest held by the Dancer concerning that filmed or videotaped performance or rehearsal. Furthermore, this section will not be construed as superseding any applicable statute, regulation or collective agreement.
  1. Workers' compensation: the Engager agrees to accept and comply with, in connection to the engagement, all and any employer obligations under applicable workers' compensation and occupational health and safety laws.
  2. Absence due to injury or illness:
  3. (a) Sick leave: where an engagement requires rehearsals and/or performances totalling 25 hours or more within one week and for where the Dancer is paid on a weekly or flat fee basis, the Dancer is entitled to up to 4 hours leave from rehearsal time per week for reasons of illness or injury without any penalty or liability. In no event whatsoever will reasonable exercise of the Dancer's rights under section 1. of Payment protocols be grounds for termination of the Dancer by the Engager. The Dancer shall make every reasonable effort to schedule medical, dental or physical therapy appointments outside of rehearsal time.
  4. (b) Bereavement leave: the Dancer will be entitled to up to 3 days unpaid leave on the death of a member of the Dancer's immediate family without any penalty or liability, and in no event whatsoever will reasonable exercise of the Dancer's rights under section 2. of Payment protocols be grounds for termination of the Dancer by the Engager.
  5. (c) Notice: when unable to attend a rehearsal or performance for any reason recognized under this section, the Dancer shall notify the Producer as soon as possible prior to the call time.
  6. (d) The leaves recognized under this section are not cumulative over the length of the engagement and, if not taken by the Dancer, have no cash value at the end of the engagement.
  1. For a tour or any other travelling outside the production's home city that is required of the Dancer hereunder, the Engager agrees to provide the Dancer with:
  2. (a) suitable and safe transportation both from the designated pickup point and to and from each venue or sufficient payment in lieu thereof. Vehicles provided by the Engager for extended road tours shall have a daily “safety checklist” prior to each day's departure;

    (b) suitable accommodations for each evening away from the home city or sufficient payment in lieu thereof

    (c) a per diem of not less than $45.00 for each day away from the home city and within Canada, including travelling days, and

    (d) a per diem of not less than the current applicable rate set by External Affairs (Canada) for each day away from the home city and outside of Canada, including travel days.

  3. The Engager will provide the Dancer with 2 copies of the tour itinerary at least 24 hours prior to departure from the designated pickup point.
  4. If the Dancer wishes to make alternative arrangements for transportation or accommodations for reasons other than suitability or safety, the Dancer will notify the Engager in writing at least 24 hours before departure, acknowledging that the Engager will not be liable for any costs associated with such arrangements and accepting full responsibility for following the tour itinerary.
  5. The Engager will ensure that any vehicle that is rented or provided by the Engager for the transportation of the Dancer shall have a safety checklist that shall be filled out prior to each days' departure, including the following minimum requirements:
  6. (a) tire pressure within standard range for the vehicle;

    (b) availability of settles matches proposed passengers;

    (c) proper function of all external vehicle lights (headlights, indicators, brake lights, running lights);

    (d) the weight distribution of cargo and passengers falls within the vehicles' safety limits; and

    (e) condition of the vehicle body, fenders and windows.

(A) Visas and permits

  1. Travel and work document requirements vary. Clarify who is responsible for the procedure and cost. The following applies when you are responsible, however, it is wise to understand the process even if an Engager is responsible. Start the process early. Contact the country's embassy and the organization engaging you for estimates on how long the process will take. Whenever possible, visit an embassy in person; email can be very slow. On the telephone or in–person, record the name of whom you spoke to so you can speak to the same person again or refer to them by name in the next conversation with another embassy representative.
  2. Generally speaking, work permits are likely to be required to work legally. However, there are examples of legal work in some countries on visitor or even tourist visas. Know your status; CADA/West cautions members against working illegally as you will have no recourse if you run into trouble.
  3. Visas can be expensive. Clarify the cost and include in your written contract whether the Engager or you is responsible. CADA/West recommends that the Engager pays for your visa. If so, determine if you will be required to pay upfront and be reimbursed (and when) or if the Engager will pay in advance.

(B) Contracts

  1. If your contract is written in a language for which you do not have good working knowledge, get it translated. First, ask questions of the Engager. Face–to–face translation provides you with the opportunity to ask questions. Take a grassroots approach to find a translator; contact an ethnocultural club associated with the language in question or ask at the embassy. Ask that your contract include information on tax and other deductions. Foreign worker tax payments can be very high.
  2. If you choose to work under conditions where travel, accommodation and per diems are provided but not an artist fee, ensure that the date of your return ticket can be changed at no cost to you, otherwise, you would have no recourse if conditions have not met the terms of the contract.
  3. A letter can serve as a contract, however, CADA/West recommends that you undertake a written contract itemizing each consideration.

(C) Health and safety on tour

  1. Contact the relevant embassy to learn required inoculations and do so well in advance of your departure. Talk to your doctor. Some inoculations require specific time gaps between them. Expect to pay for inoculations and learn the cost well in advance so unfortunate surprises won't jeopardize your plans.
  2. Visit the Government of Canada Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Travel Reports and Warnings for travel advisories on health and safety issues as well as the World Health Organization International Travel and Health (see Resources).

OVERVIEW: Understand the difference between “music for pleasure” and “music for your dance practice.” Purchasing an album or track does not entitle you to use the music for your own profit—only enjoyment. Believe it or not, the concept of profit includes dance performances. You should not use another artist's artistic product without them receiving a fee or providing permission. You can use music in a rehearsal for no charge.

  1. Your first step as a choreographer planning to use music, whenever possible, is to ask the composer for permission. Search on the internet for the composer's website or publisher. You may find that royalty is waived or that the composer has set higher fees than the norm. Be aware that some composers often have staff to troll the internet for mention of the composer's name and take action when illegal use is found. Store your email or written attempts to contact the composer. If this is unsuccessful, your next step is to go to the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) which administers the performing rights for music creators, collects licence fees and pays royalties. Click on “I'm a Music User.”
  2. There is no specific category for dance performances and they fall under SOCAN Tariff 4.B.1. – (Classical Music Concerts). If this seems too irrelevant to your practice, take a look around the tariffs and email SOCAN for guidance. If you are using 4.B.1., you will download the form after the performance and complete it at that time. Go to SOCAN for the specifics; however, we would like to emphasize two things:

    1) review this during pre–production while you are preparing your budget, and

    2) clarify who is responsible for the payment of royalties and licences in your contract. (Please refer to the Royalties section of this document.)

    As previously stated, copyright generally enters the public domain 50 years after the death of the author or composer (however, there are exceptions to this). If you are using music in the public domain, you should not be subject to a fee, so be sure to make this clear to the venue. If you are presenting a mixed program, however, the producer or presenter will add a surcharge to the tickets for SOCAN if it is a member of the Society.
  3. This document does not provide an exhaustive overview of how choreographers can legally use music and we refer you to SOCAN.
  4. Teachers should be aware that the use of music for teaching purposes falls under SOCAN Tariff 19. CADA/West refers you to Dance Ontario, which has an excellent group licensing agreement which is $64 per year for members.

There could be a difficult line to establish between being influenced by a literary work and basing a dance on the work. If you are basing a dance on a literary source, you need to obtain the necessary permission. Start by seeking the permission of the author. (See Using music above.)

The Photographer owns the photograph and the Choreographer owns the choreography. Clarify expectations of use prior to the photoshoot and write them down in a letter of agreement or contract. You will likely want the photographer to assign or license you for use of the photographs. The agreement you make will likely influence the photographer's fee (i.e. if you want total use in perpetuity, expect to pay a higher fee.)

Opinions vary about posting video clips on the internet; some choreographers are concerned that it makes their work rife for theft and others value it for visibility and/or audience–building. Once your work is out there on the internet, it is unrealistic to expect that you will be likely to control the use of the choreography so make your decision based on your priorities. (See Using Music section also.) It is illegal to post a video using music without a sync license.

It has already been noted that for copyright to apply to choreography, it must be new work. Staging a traditional dance presents specific issues that should be addressed by the community in question. Agree before you start work and write it down.

other contracts resources