“One club made us waive our right to say no to the live broadcast of our shows. Every single minute of our show was taped and put on the internet at no extra cost to the bar. If you agreed to work at the bar, you agreed to give away free porn. The same bar started a lunch hour meet and greet of customers in our underwear. We had to stand around in our underwear and ask for “bikini” dances paid by the customer. This time between shows was previously our own, then they just said ‘do it, or be fired’.”
Working with agents can be tricky. If you don’t do what they ask, they might stop giving you work. If you do what they ask, you might regret it. If you always do what they ask, they will take advantage of you. If you never do what they ask, you will lose your bookings.
Try to keep a middle ground between doing favours and saying no. For instance, say yes to stripathons and do a show or two for charity, but say no to working at a club that requires mandatory floor time. Or vice-versa. Do what is right for you.
If the agency you’re booking through starts bumping you out of gigs, go to another agency in the meantime, or book in another province. If you can’t travel, switch to private dancing for a month or two. Don’t let them push you around. If you don’t call for a while, they’ll be glad to hear from you when you do.
Don’t assume your agent is telling the truth about a gig. Some agents will leave out details and feign ignorance or say they assumed you knew. They will also tell you one show price, then give you another (smaller) show price when it comes time for the club to pay you. If you can, see your contract early in the week. It’s not always possible in this industry, but it’s good practice.
Let your agents know about new costumes, a great tan, or any new promo. If they only see you on the phone, they may not know how good you’re looking these days. Let them know you are investing in your business.
Be professional and reliable. And don’t be afraid to ask for a raise in show price if you think you deserve it. You can set your own show price by saying no to anything below what you want. However, some of the gigs with lower show prices but higher show counts (more shows) are the best, money making gigs out there. So be a little flexible.
Agents can be used to mediate conflict between dancers and bar management, but there is usually no one that can be engaged to help work through an issue with an agent.
See chapter 4 – Our Work, for more information on working with agents.