The NFL and NBA are in the midst of lockouts that could threaten their upcoming seasons. Fans of dance may now add the Joffrey Ballet to that list. Dancers for the prestigious ballet company were locked out of their rehearsal studios over the weekend, days after receiving a letter from Joffrey Executive Director Christopher Conway and board chairman Jason Tyler
that read the company's fall schedule would be lost if they could not
reach an agreement with the union representing the dancers.
Joffrey's contract with the American Guild of Musical Artists expired
midnight last Thursday. Conway told the Sun-times' Hedy Weiss, "We told
the dancers, who are currently on hiatus and who were expected to begin
rehearsals on July 23, that we would not proceed with the fall season
without a contract agreement.” The letter ordered dancers to clear out
their lockers and turn in their keys by Thursday, until a new contract
One of the key points in the labor negotiations between Joffrey and AGMA is a move to a 30-hour rehearsal week.
Under the terms of the expired contract, Joffrey dancers had a 25-hour
rehearsal week which Clinton said is detrimental to attracting
choreographers and dance professionals. Joffrey featured dancer Fabrice
Calmels downplayed the letter, adding that they don't intend to go on
strike. The company, meanwhile, is still selling tickets to upcoming
performances and have promised refunds should the lockout extend into
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