Pay Equity in the Performing Arts – A Dance Perspective

Pay Equity in the Performing Arts–a Dance Perspective

January 30th, 2023, 12PM EST

Artists’ Legal Advice Services (ALAS) and Artists Legal Outreach (ALO) invite you to join dance and theatre artist Susie Burpee (Balancing Act), choreographer, performer and educator Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg (Tara Cheyenne Performance) labor organizer and pay equity advocate Elsa Hitner (On Our Team) and lawyer Martha Rans (PLEO) for a panel discussion around pay equity in the dance sector.  The conversation will address: what constitutes equitable pay; how it can be achieved; why it’s essential for the sector; international trends and pay standards in the sector; and intersecting legal issues relating to workers rights and fair pay.  

Register here.

About the Speakers:

Susie Burpee

Traversing both dance and theatre, Susie Burpee’s artistic work includes choreography, performance and teaching. She has been deeply inspired by artists and companies with whom she has worked: Serge Bennathan, Dancemakers, Lesandra Dodson, Hanna Kiel, Alyssa Martin, Le Groupe Dance Lab, Linnea Swan, and Tedd Robinson among them. Teaching at a post-secondary level is a passion, and in 2020, Susie furthered her own studies – a Master’s degree in Theatre, Drama, and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto. Susie is currently Artistic Producer of Theatre Direct’s Balancing Act, a national initiative to support parents and caregivers who work in the performing arts.

Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg   

Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg is an award winning creator, performer, choreographer, director and writer and Artistic Director of Tara Cheyenne Performance.

Elsa Hitner

Elsa Hitner is an organizer on pay and labor equity in the arts.  She has worked for over 15 years as a freelance artist and arts non-profit administrator, including as director of development for Collaboraction Theatre Company and her current role as associate director of programs at Lawyers for the Creative Arts, a legal service organization. These experiences as an arts worker deeply inform her work as an arts advocate. My essays on labor and pay equity have inspired systemic change in the theatre industry, and the Theatrical Designer Pay Resource that she launched in 2018 has been used nation-wide by designers to promote pay transparency and start conversations around pay equity. She is a co-founder of On Our Team, which successfully organized for pay transparency on the job sites of Playbill, BroadwayWorld, and the League of Chicago Theatres. In 2021, she was honored to receive the Michael Merritt Arts Advocacy Award.

Martha Rans

Martha Rans has been a lawyer for over 20 years. Her Vancouver-based law practice specializes in the legal needs of non-profits, charities and digital creatives. She spent 10 years as labour employment and human rights lawyer/mediator with the BC and Ontario governments. She has appeared before administrative tribunals, provincial and BC Supreme Court. She advises on charity law, incorporation, governance, privacy, employment, labour, health & safety and human rights. Her advice is practical and strategic, tailored to the needs of her clients.

Martha is an advocate for public legal education and information. She is the founder of, a resource dedicated to the non profit sector. She is the Legal Director of the Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society and the Artists’ Legal Outreach, which provides advice, information and education to thousands of BC’s creators and non profits. She is also a copyright educator and teaches the next generation of artists and designers at post-secondary schools across Canada.

This is the first in what will be a series of virtual events addressing topical legal issues faced by independent artists in the live performance sector.  Forthcoming events in the series will include panel discussions around workplace discrimination in theatre and artist rights for performing musicians.  This series of events is being funded by Canadian Heritage and the Government of Canada through the Canadian Performing Arts Worker Resiliency Fund. 

Ce projet est financé par le gouvernement du Canada.

Registrant contact information will be shared with ALO and the National Network of Legal Clinics for the Arts for grant reporting purposes only.


Jan 30 2023


12:00 pm