The world of salsa and bachata dance is full of passionate artists who pour their hearts and souls into creating beautiful choreographies that inspire and delight audiences. However, unfortunately, the need for non-disclosure contracts has become a sad reality in our community.
As a director of a dance company who has set trends with choreography and technique , I have experienced firsthand the frustration of seeing my hard work stolen and misused by others. I have worked tirelessly to create unique and innovative method for creating choreography that showcase the beauty and grace of salsa and bachata, only to have them copied and performed without permission by other dancers and studios.
In response to this problem, I have taken steps to protect my artistic material. I have registered my brand under an international entity that safeguards all the choreographies registered under Alma Latina , the videos, methodologies, and other creative work.
Still , I continue to be surprised with new and creative instances of fraud and theft in the dance community. For example, during the pandemic, I heard of dancers hacking into the platform of Fernando Sosa, a respected salsa choreographer, and stealing his videos to sell them on the black market in South America. This kind of behavior is shocking and reprehensible, and it underscores the need for greater protection of artistic material in our community.
Lately , when I decided to reopen my dance company, countless hours went into developing a robust digital platform with all the tools and resources needed to help my students learn and practice the choreography, including an app with breakdowns, techniques, live transmissions, a place to get personalized feedback and extra practices.
But my heart was broken when I called auditions and right away, I started receiving news that other dancers were contacting my dancers, asking them for videos of the choreography so they could learn and rehearse it in their own studio. It was shocking to discover that people were interested in getting the videos of my choreography so they could learn it in some parallel reality of a dance company.
Despite having put together a super robust tool set to help my students, I found myself in a dilemma. I couldn’t give my Tijuana dancers access to the materials, despite noticing how much they were falling behind and asking for permission to record. I was heartbroken to realize that my hard work was being stolen and misused by others.
In desperation, I turned to my brother, a copyright lawyer, for advice. He recommended a collective non-disclosure contract that would ensure the protection of my artistic material. The contract would entail that if any of the videos of class got leaked to anyone who is not a part of my alma latina team, the entire team would have to pay the fee for the price of the entire choreography as if I had sold the choreography to a dance company.
My heartbreak and dilemma showcase the sad need for non-disclosure contracts in our salsa and bachata community. The theft and fraud that is becoming more common are unacceptable and need to be stopped. As a choreographer, it is crucial to protect our hard work and creative material.
I encourage all dance choreographers to take similar steps to protect their work. Registering your brand under an international entity that protects artistic material such as choreographies, videos, methodologies, etc., is an essential first step. Additionally, implementing a non-disclosure contract can help to deter unauthorized use of your work and provide legal recourse if necessary.
Also Read: Why Dancing Isn’t Helping You Lose Weight: The Surprising Truth
It is time for our community to take a stand against fraud and theft in the dance industry. By working together to protect our creative material, we can ensure that the beauty and passion of salsa and bachata dance continue to thrive for years to come.