Instagram comedian Elouise Eftos has brilliantly skewered the AFL’s call for volunteer dancers to appear in the Grand Final entertainment.
The league prompted outcry from arts workers and unions for their call for volunteer dancers, after the entire arts industry suffered greatly from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as well as a lack of government intervention to help sustain the industry in the meantime.
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While the AFL defended the call for volunteer performers as an effort to get the community involved in the day, Eftos took to Instagram to poke fun at the league’s decision.
She joked that the exposure given to her by performing in the show had been enough to pay for food and bills.
“Things really changed for me after I danced at the AFL Grand Final … for free,” Eftos joked.
“It’s amazing what the exposure has done for my life. It’s changed it forever.
“So what I didn’t get paid? Ricky Nixon asked for my number — and I’m pretty sure he wants to represent me.”
Her video, which went viral on the platform, also landed her an appearance on the Today show.
Interviewed by hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon, Eftos said it was ‘ridiculous’ that anyone in the entertainment industry would be expected to work for free.
“I think everyone loves a satirical approach,” she said.
“I posted a really nasty tweet about the situation and I was like ‘I’m going to go for the satirical, facetious approach rather than being really intense. It seems to have worked.”
AFL defends call for volunteer Grand Final dancers
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s Sam Gaskin said the organisation was somewhat stung by the decision not to pay performers in a year where arts incomes have been dealt a crushing blow.
“We’ve had such a hard year,” Gaskin said in an interview with Channel 10.
“The AFL Grand Final is known as a big gig for many professional dancers. I feel like it’s a real representation of what we do and don’t value in this country.
“I’m sure the players are being paid. I’m sure the cleaners are being paid. I’m sure the people serving the pies and the beers are being paid.
“So why on earth would we expect our performers not to be?”
Australian choreographer asking dancers (who have lost pretty much their entire years wage in 2020) to dance for FREE at the AFL Grand Final because there is ‘no money in the budget’ for them but it would be a ‘once in a lifetime experience’. pic.twitter.com/mvUkVI6X0o— Christie Whelan (@Christie_Whelan) September 27, 2020
Responding to the MEAA, the AFL said it had opted to call for volunteers in order to give the Queensland community a bigger opportunity to be part of the grand final fixture.
The 2020 grand final will be the first to be played outside of the league’s heartland in Victoria, which is contracted to host the event until 2057.
“With the 2020 AFL Grand Final being in Queensland for the first time, our executive producers Cochrane Entertainment and our production team have asked local Queensland community and amateur dance clubs and physie movement groups to take part in a mass activation that is in addition to organising paid singers and musicians to perform on stage,” the AFL said in a statement.
“Having the community involved in our biggest day is important and the choreographed activity that will be undertaken by hundreds of volunteers was designed to involve community members and amateur dancers.
“It was never intended or designed as a performance by professional dancers and no professional or paid dancers were approached to be involved in the segment.”
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