Through its 26 year history balletLORENT has been dependent on freelance dancers to make and tour all of its productions. Every single dancer you have known and loved in our productions has been a freelance artist for most of their lives, and the majority of the company still are utterly dependent on freelance contracts to survive.
Gwen Berwick has been working for balletLORENT and other dance companies as a freelance dancer since 2000, and has made every new work in Newcastle upon Tyne while maintaining a rented London home, while also touring around the country and the world. In her own words, this is what life is like for Gwen and for many dancers you know and love.
“I guess that it hasn't been easy physically or mentally all these years of in-between jobs. They can be soul destroying, but you just have to remind yourself why you are doing it all. I rarely feel able to take time off as I always have to work as I can be 1 pay packet away from extreme debt or homelessness. It is tiring. I have waitressed, (cafes, restaurants, functions), promotion work, cinema, I worked in most West End theatres as front of house, supervising, cashier, head cashier, box office and team leading. Without the kindness of theatre managers letting me having as much time off as I needed (to take contracts as a freelance dancer), I wouldn't have survived all those years”
All the other dancers in the company will have a similar story. Almost every performer, dancer and artist you see is a freelancer, and as a company balletLORENT depend on them to create and perform our work. Without them you would never be able to enjoy a performance again, and the world would be a much darker place.
Most freelance dancers struggle to survive at the best of times. Please let's look after them and many other freelancers in varied self employed professions at this time. They deserve our support and to feel valued.