Due to the issues that had recently been facing clubs in Leeds, I've been in contact with Dr Teela Sanders, who along with Dr Kate Hardy and Rosie Campbell conducted a two year research programme in the striptease and lap dancing industry. This research has been distilled into a brilliant web resource called Dancers Information which can be found here.
Written largely by dancers themselves, the site contains well thought information and guidance that would be of benefit to both new and experienced practitioners. Certainly the information on tax issues and self employment must be read because many people that are self employed, irrespective of what they do can skimp the issues that surround the law and their careers, usually to their personal cost.
Perhaps the most important section though is on personal safety. The sections on travelling to and from work and being stalked contain well thought out, practical advice that would benefit anyone, dancer or not and should be read through.
What I like about the site is the detail, its very granular and it seems to me that everything has been thought of and written about. Advice is even offered for dancers in terms of how to behave should they run into a customer outside the club environment. I imagine the chances of this must be incredibly remote, but nonetheless a dancer is quoted as follows....
"...I have met customers whilst out with my mother – who have approached me to have a ‘chat’. My family know what I do, and while they might not like it they know it’s a ‘job’. Living a double life (while unfortunately necessary for some dancers) can be difficult to manage in the long-term...."
I find it incredible that someone could approach a dancer for a chat outside the club. When I am in Shoreditch, depending upon the time of day, its possible to see dancers going to and from work and even under these circumstances I find it best to treat them as strangers. If a dancer makes an effort to say 'hello' its different but as a rule of thumb distance is best and that way there are no surprises.
I think Dancers Information is important for another reason. Its one of a number of resources that now exist to support the industry and the people that work in it. This can only be a good thing........