After it was revealed that many dancers for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show would be unpaid, it’s now come out that an agreement has been reached with SAG-AFTRA and producers of the show to make sure professional dancers are paid for their work.
In a report from Deadline, the agreement “was reached after ‘open and frank discussions,'” but nonprofessional dancers who are taking part will continue to be unpaid.
“SAG-AFTRA will be advising our professional dancer members that they should not be rehearsing or working on the Super Bowl halftime show without compensation,” the union said. “We are grateful to Roc Nation, their producer and in particular our member Jay-Z, for their collaboration and commitment to professional artists.
The fallout began last week when professional dancer and actress Taja Riley revealed on Instagram that producers were looking for volunteers (with a focus on African-American dancers) to perform in the halftime show which will be headlined by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar. On top of being responsible for their own transportation, the dancers will undergo eight days of rehearsals totaling 62 hours, along with a 9 am call time on gameday.
There could be an argument that working an event seen by over 100 million people is in essence, “getting paid in exposure.” Headlining performers usually aren’t paid either and the NFL at one point even asked to be paid by the performers. That being said, it’s a 20 minute infomercial for them as they’re able to showcase their music to lots of people. Record sales typically jump as a result and most performers time a new album and/or tour along with performing in the halftime show. Needless to say, “getting paid in exposure” actually results in making lots of actual money for the headliner(s).
For the dancers, it might be a nice line on a résumé but no producer is going to be watching and point out a random dancer to say “I need that person for my next project.” With so many people, they’re going to essentially be like faceless extras in movies (extras get paid) as they collaborate to put out a performance during the Super Bowl. Maybe this sets a precedent for future halftime shows and future performers get paid for their time.