Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Equity Support For Dancers

This conviction brought me, in the summer of 1978, to the Free Trade Unions - formed by a group of courageous and dedicated people who came out in the defense of the workers' rights and dignity.
Lech Walesa

Equity, the trade union for actors, stage managers and models in the United Kingdom also recognises dancers. Their support is critical to the struggle against 'Nil Cap' policies throughout the United Kingdom and their General Secretary, Christine Payne has written the letter below that highlights the injustice of the Sexual Encounter Venue licensing model and also urges councils not to implement it.

I strongly urge every dancer that reads this post to join Equity.


  1. All dancers - please join Equity! Then we have the backing of the union and legal representation.

    I also think there should be a distinction between traditional pubs, with jug and stage show only, and larger clubs where the focus is on private dancing. They should be classified differently under the law.

    I am a performer and personally prefer the traditional pub as it's all about the creativity and skill of the stage show. Unfortunately there are not many of them left as it's harder for them to afford the license. A lot of customers prefer this as it's more relaxing and they are not asked for dances every minute.

    1. Until the introduction (under the terms of the Police & Crime Act 2009) of across-the-board Sex Encounter Venue (SEV) licensing for all venues hosting striptease, many London boroughs licensed their striptease venue under the standard terms of their Music & Dancing Licence, with a waiver on the clause prohibiting nudity. There's a strong case in favour of retaining this for 'pound in a pint pot' venues, and reserving the SEV for larger venues where the emphasis is on private dances as you say, creating the two-tier system you talk about.

  2. Thanks Edie for pointing out customers prefer quality stage shows. In our current economy the pound in the pot model is fun and affordable and I imagine still lucrative. The average guy can afford to visit a £20 a dance club only on a very special occasion. Why don't venue owners see this? It's a shame that this doesn't really exist outside the London area and this concept is surely due to for a revival.

    Traditional pubs in general are dying out unless they have a usp, but venues like The Horns have shown how the format can be updated.

  3. The White Horse in Shoreditch is one of the few places left, that has amazing dancers who do great stage shows, and is a relaxed traditional pub. Several of us think Sue (the owner) has been very clever to keep it as it is. It is now the only trad strip pub in the area, where customers can go and relax, and not be harassed for private dances all the time.

    I also do pole lessons at a dance school and the White Horse is mentioned as the place to go by the office women doing pole for fitness. It is talked about as the best place to watch good quality stage shows.