I was first introduced to Dance/NYC years ago when I sought assistance with starting a dance company. A friend of mine had referred me to the organization, and they ended up helping me quite a bit over the years. Dance/NYC’s mission is to promote the knowledge, appreciation, practice, and performance of dance in the metropolitan New York City area. It embeds values of justice, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of the organization. It works in alliance with Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance. The constituents they serve are 5,000+ individual dance artists, 1,200+ dance-making entities, 500+ nonprofit dance companies, the General public, and visitors to New York, Students, educators, and researchers, Public and private funders, government, and civic leaders. Their Board of Directors led by Elissa D. Hecker, Esq., Chair, Law Office of Elissa D. Hecker Esq. with other notable dance aficionados like Camille Y. Turner, Vice-Chair, Haug Partner, Jina Paik, Treasurer, Nonprofit Finance Fund, Brandi Stewart, Secretary, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Juan José Escalante, of the José Limón Dance Foundation. 

I’m not sure why “Dance” doesn’t have an official union like SAG, AFTRA, Actor’s Equity. Still, they have plenty of diverse and multi-dimensional missions, emergency grants, funding, and a special TASK FORCE called Disability. Dance. Artistry. This task force’s role is to advise and assist Dance/NYC’s disabled community on behalf of the organization and the dance field in the metropolitan area.

It was announced in July 2015 on the Americans’ 25th anniversary year with Disabilities Act, Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry. The initiative aims to advance inclusion and access to the art form for disabled people. This work extends Dance/NYC’s core services, including action-oriented research, advocacy, technological resources through Dance.NYC; leadership training, networking, and convening; and grantmaking and the organizational values of justice, equity, and inclusion are embedded into all aspects of its programs and services.

The Disability. Dance. Artistry initiative is made possible with leadership and funding support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Ford Foundation; Booth Ferris Foundation; Engaging Dance Audiences, administered by Dance/USA and made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; and The Lucille Lortel Foundation. The project is also supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the City of New York, Bill de Blasio, Mayor, and the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker, through the Department of Cultural Affairs, Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner; and the National Endowment for the Arts. Dance/NYC gives thanks to the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Victor Calise, Commissioner, its partnership, and the initiative task force.

Please continue to visit Dance.NYC for initiative updates, and join the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Network to receive information on integrated and disability dance artistry in the New York City metropolitan area. Additionally, Infinity Dance Theater presents a video, “Task Force,” inspired by the task force and its membership. We at ETD are inclusive with a mission to build community through movement.

I believe Dance/NYC is doing an incredible job of being a beacon of hope, especially during the pandemic, offering guidance, financial support, and advocacy. Dance/NYC also started offering emergency grants to dance organizations when the pandemic hit. Dance/NYC created the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund to mitigate the growing impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak on individual freelance dance workers and dance making organizations based in the metropolitan New York City area and New Jersey state.  Particularly to those with financial losses incurred due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the social restriction measures implemented to contain the virus’s spread. We are so grateful to have received one of these grants. 

I believe Dance/NYC offers outstanding and inclusive leadership to our NYC dance community and is vital to all artists and organizations. To find out more about Dance/NYC, please contact them HERE.



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