Super Bowl halftime dancers should be paid fairly


Photo by Melodie Truchi - Reporter

Professional level dancers training at Eighty Eight Dance Studios in North Hollywood.

Melodie Truchi , Reporter

It is disappointing that dancers on the field in this year’s Super Bowl halftime performance were asked to perform for free as volunteers. As a dancer that spends time and money training to get opportunities like this, it is disheartening to think an event viewed by over 100 million people did not care to pay their dancers. Imagine a halftime show with no dancers, you probably can’t because that performance would not be the same. 

In an article published by the Los Angeles Times, choreographer Fatima Robinson, and executive producer of Roc Nation for the halftime show said there was a clear distinction between the 115 paid dancers on stage and the volunteers on the field.

The difference, according to Spectrum News, is that dancers on the field did not have to learn choreography. The clearly choreographed performance that aired and extensive rehearsal schedules for both field and stage dancers say differently.  

In my opinion this is where the problem arises because the producers of the halftime show are getting away with only paying their ‘onstage dancers’ while the field dancers, which also consists of professionals, are having to rehearse the same long hours for un-equal pay.

In a Los Angeles Times article, choreographer for the halftime show Fatima Robinson said, “We’re not asking dancers to work as dancers for free…What was asked is, ‘Would anyone like to volunteer for the field cast?’” 

The situation first gained attention when dancer Taja Riley, a paid dancer in past Super Bowl halftime performances with Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez, posted screenshots on her Instagram that said the dance agency Bloc LA was seeking volunteers for this year’s halftime show.

I think it is disrespectful that an agency who should be giving their dancers paid opportunities, would be okay with asking professional level dancers to work for free. 

According to NBC Chicago, the most expensive Super Bowl ticket for this year’s game was sold for over $30,000 but yet the dancers on the field were not adequately paid for their work. 

California Lutheran University senior and Co-Captain of the Dance Team, Jade Castro shared her opinion on the matter. 

“Dancing has done something for me that no other sport has before. It has been something I’ve always wanted to pursue but the sad point is that you can’t always make a living off of doing something you love,” Castro said.

I agree with Castro, if you are trying to pursue dance as a career you are paying the bills with each gig you receive. So if the Super Bowl is not willing to pay all of its dancers then how is each dancer supposed to have a fair opportunity at being successful. 

“It’s heartbreaking because as a dancer, I’ve worked my whole life to get to perform somewhere big and now that I’m older and I see how the industry is and how dancers aren’t getting paid for their hard work and dedication, it’s discouraging,” Castro said. 

The pay for Super Bowl halftime show dancers needs to be the same for dancers on stage and on the field. If this is not possible then boundaries should be clearly set on what differentiates a field dancer from an onstage dancer. 

For a game that costs a minimum of thousands of dollars to attend it is sad that the field performers were asked to volunteer and even worse that after speaking out they were still paid unfairly. 

“When I watch the halftime shows or just any performance in general, the dancers pull the song together. They add visuals, they set the vibe of the crowd. They’re there for a reason and should be treated as so,” Castro said.