A CHEERLEADER with a prominent Australian sports team has hung up her pompoms and gone on strike after, she claimed, she was expected to dance for free.
Carla Bigiolli had performed as part of the cheerleading squad for the Adelaide 36ers basketball team.
But as the club progressed though the finals the 22-year-old from Bridgewater in the Adelaide Hills said she, and the other dancers, were all expected to take part for free.
In an angry social media post, she said she would rather miss out on the grand final than not be paid.
“Today (Sunday) the Adelaide 36ers dancers will be dancing for free. Therefore you will not see me on the court. I do not stand for this,” she wrote.
Ms Bigiolli said the team had not budgeted to get into the finals. But now they had, the cheerleaders were expected to still come onto court and whip up the atmosphere among the crowd.
“Unfortunately some women do not take this seriously and will dance without a fee.
“I studied for three years, freelancing for six years, and (I’m) highly offended that some dancers are okay with not getting paid,” she wrote.
“If you know me, you know how passionate and determined I am towards the arts. What if there (are) no dancers for the finals? That might be a shock to the system for the fans. Is this why I’m studying a teaching degree? So I can actually be respected? Please.”
Ms Bigiolli’s post has been liked on Facebook 1400 times.
The cheerleader has received an outpouring of support with one response to the post summing up the mood. “The players wouldn’t play for free because the club hadn’t budgeted, so why should you? An employee is an employee.”
The Adelaide Advertiser reported that the Just for Fun dance company, which runs the squad, said the cheerleaders had been paid a lump sum of money, divided between the players weekly, at the beginning of the season. That worked out at $75 per dancer per game.
The figure included payment for every performance, bar Sunday’s game.
In Sunday’s match, the 36ers beat rivals Melbourne United 90-81 to set up a nailbiting season decider between the rivals next Saturday.
Just For Fun director Sue Nairn said the troupe had plans to “rectify the issue with the club,” reported the Advertiser.
News.com.au has reached out to Ms Bigiolli.