The dancers of the American Ballet Theatre voted 61 to 4 early this morning to return to work beginning next week under the terms of a new contract that grants them wage increases averaging approximately 54 percent over the next four years.
The company's 91 dancers will each, upon request, receive a $1,000 cash advance later today against the proceeds of future ABT benefit performances. The cash advance, according to the dancers' leaders, is a one-time compensation for the 69 days the dancers were locked out.
The dancers also won severance pay, vacation pay and single hotel rooms -- some of these benefits to begin in the final year of the contract.
The dancers were guaranteed 40 weeks of work during the next 12 months -- an effective loss of only five weeks of work from the 45 that were scheduled to begin Sept. 1.
ABT now hopes to start its 1982-83 season during the week of Jan. 9 at the Kennedy Center, but center officials have so far promised ABT only the week of Jan. 16. The Kennedy Center appearance will be its first public appearance this season.
Kennedy Center board chairman Roger Stevens said Monday, "We've definitely agreed for one week" -- the week of Jan. 16. Regarding ABT's desire for a second week, Stevens said, "You can hope, can't you? It's not very likely."
ABT had previously canceled all its remaining 1982 performances, including its four-week December engagement in Washington, and had said Saturday that on Nov. 15 it would cancel its entire national tour if there were no labor settlement.