Helping keep dancers on their (healthy) toes

One in three dancers lacks health insurance

July 16, 2012

Cassidy Herrington

A social service group for performers is trying to increase the number of dancers with health insurance in Chicago.

The Actors Fund says nearly one in every three dancers is uninsured.  

Christina Gonzalez-Gillett is assistant director of The Seldoms, a small dance company here that can’t afford to provide health insurance.

“If there is coverage for individuals, I think the dancers would be really happy about that because we have to work so many jobs just to be able to afford stuff," Gonzalez-Gillett said. "Starbucks is like the ultimate 'dream job' because they offer health insurance.”

The Actors Fund is holding a forum Monday evening at the Chicago Cultural Center to talk about new options under health care reform and how to get insurance here.

James Brown, who directs the Fund's Artists' Health Insurance Resource Center, said health care coverage would allow dancers to focus on their art. He said by 2014, insurance companies won't be allowed to deny coverage because of old dance injuries.

"Just a few days in the hospital could put them a few thousand dollars in debt," Brown said. "So that anxiety and that threat that’s there from being uninsured is removed.”

Brown said dancers are more likely to be uninsured because they are young and often have low incomes.