Everything about the Super Bowl is big, from the huge stadiums the players perform in, to the high-profile stars who do the halftime show. The game also brings in big bucks, but apparently not for everyone.
Dancers Shocked To Learn They Would Not Be Getting Paid
Dancer Taja Riley went viral after a series of posts to her Instagram where she revealed the Super Bowl’s halftime show producers were recruiting dancers. While this sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime, many were shocked when they were told they would be brought in as “volunteers.”
“I’m sure I don’t have to explain but the Super Bowl is the most PROFITABLE GLOBAL SPORTING EVENT ON ANY GIVEN YEAR,” Riley wrote in her caption. To give her remark some context: Super Bowl LVI is expected to bring an estimated $477.5 million to Los Angeles’ local economy.
So, it makes sense that Riley — and many others — would wonder, “Why be cheap, especially on such an incredibly important performance honoring, + showcasing African American talent?”
Riley’s post also included a list of all rules and requirements that the volunteer dancers would have to follow. In addition to not getting paid, the dancers also had to provide their own food and transportation. They also were required to attend all rehearsals, even though, according to the email, there was no guarantee they would actually get to participate.
Why Some Dancers Are Set To Get Paid
“In previous yrs The Super Bowl has been known to pull in locals to volunteer as concert go-ers,” Riley explained, referring to the groups you/ve seen on the field in years past. “But to qualify as a ‘volunteer’, production CANNOT require them to learn any choreography, unless they must be PAIDDDD.”
However, some of the dancers participating would be getting paid: more than 100 onstage dancers were contracted and set to get a paycheck. The volunteer dancers would be dancing on the field.
SAG-AFTRA’s Deal With The Show’s Producers
After Riley and many other dancers’ complaints went viral, SAG-AFTRA and the halftime show’s producers worked out an agreement in which “no professional dancers will be asked to work for free.”
“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 organization said in a statement. “We are grateful to Roc Nation, their producer and in particular our member Jay-Z, for their collaboration and commitment to professional artists.”
“It is important to note that Roc Nation had always contracted for 115 paid SAG-AFTRA professional dancers as part of the stage show,” the statement continued. “As a union, we believe all working participants should be paid and compensated for their labor.” So while the dancers on stage will be paid, those in the “crowd” are on their own.
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