Artists Are Necessary Workers


Facebook Live Conversation Series

The series has ended. Thank you for tuning in! 

Enjoy this recap video of the 12 conversations!

After 12 weeks, Dance/NYC closes the #ArtistsAreNecessaryWorkers Facebook Live Conversation Series. This has been one strand of the public campaign towards demanding the acknowledgement, representation and integration of dance and arts workers into the city’s future post-pandemic. 

Beginning on May 21st, these conversations highlighted the importance of the arts ecology, pointed to current challenges and offered considerations on our way forward as a field. Dance/NYC hosted 12 such events with 50 speakers across various roles: dancers, performers, choreographers, agents, curators, arts educators, administrators, city officials, technologists and many more. With an audience of over 1K unique live attendees, the topics covered disability justice, studio practice, digital futures and the future of touring, performance venues and festivals. The final conversation: Dance As Dignified Labor, further emphasized Dance/NYC’s commitment to advocating for dance worker rights and wellbeing. 

The “dream team” - Dance/NYC’s staff, board and advisors - thank you for your continued support and engagement with the #ArtistsAreNecessaryWorkers campaign during a pivotal time for the dance workforce.

The #ArtistsAreNecessaryWorkers Campaign Is Not Over! Continue To Take Action By: 

1) Signing on to the latest advocacy actions on Dance/NYC’s news page.

2) Joining Dance/NYC’s bi-weekly field-wide calls that address the field’s questions, needs, and plans for the future.

3) Amplifying the 12 the #ArtistsAreNecessaryWorkers Conversations by sharing and re-experiencing the videos from our Facebook page [not captioned] and growing list on our Youtube channel [captioned].  

4) Sharing this conversation series as an insightful resource for you and your organization during this pivotal moment for the field. Revisit our captioned videos and visit each webpage for a list of shared resources.

Date Conversations
Thursday, May 21, 2020 #ArtistsAreNecessaryWorkers: A Call to Action
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Arts Educators Leading the Charge
Friday, June 5, 2020 A Moment to Pause/Dystopia
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 Studio Practice Redefined
Tuesday, June 16, 2020 Disability Justice as the Vanguard of Recovery Thinking
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 The Future of Performance Venues
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 Dance in Community
Tuesday, July 7, 2020 Cultural Workers Behind the Veil
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 Touring in a Post-COVID World
Tuesday, July 21, 2020 A Digital Future for the Arts
Tuesday, July 28, 2020 What's Next for Festivals?
Tues, August 4, 2020 Dance As Dignified Labor



Alejandra is standing in front of a wooden wall. She is a fair-skin with short brown hair, a big smile, and a yellow blazer.

Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Dance/NYC Strategy and Research Consultant + Founder & Principal, ADC Consulting

Alice Sheppard Headshot

Alice Sheppard

Kinetic Light

Alicia Bauman-Morales Headshot

Alicia Bauman-Morales, Independent Dance Artist; Organizer, Artists Co-creating Real Equity

Alicia Graf Mack Headshot

Alicia Graf Mack, Director, Dance Division, The Juilliard School

Allie Beach Headshot

Allie Beach, Director of Youth Programming, Broadway Dance Center

Ana Nery Fragoso Headshot

Ana Nery Fragoso, Director of Dance, NYC Department of Education

André Zachery Bio

André Zachery, Artistic Director, Renegade Performance Group

Anna Glass Headshot

Anna Glass, Executive Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem

Ashley Ferro-Murray Headshot

Ashley Ferro-Murray, Curator, Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (EMPAC)

Brinda Guha Headshot

Brinda Guha, Curator, Wise Fruit NYC

Brittany Williams Headshot

Brittany Williams, Organizer and Artists, Co-founder of WoodShed Dance

Candace Thompson-Zachery

Candace Thompson-Zachery, Co-Executive Director

Christopher looks at the camera and smiles gently. He wears a leather jacket and silver jewelry.

Christopher Unpezverde Núñez, Choreographer

Clarissa is a petite latina woman with medium length wavy black hair, a black blazer and white shirt with a white background

Clarissa Soto-Josephs, Executive Director


Cliff Matias with traditional indigenous and colorful outfit and headdress, looking out and to the side.

Cliff Matias, Cultural Director, Redhawk Indigenous Arts Council

Courtney J. Cook Headshot

Courtney J. Cook, Performer, Bold Facilitator, Co-Rehearsal Director with Urban Bush Women, Performer & Vocalist

Denise Roberts Hurlin Headshot

Denise Roberts Hurlin, Founding Director, Dancers Responding to AIDS

Dustin Gibson Headshot

Dustin Gibson, Founding Member, Harriet Tubman Collective

Fred Dixon Headshot

Fred Dixon, President + CEO, NYC & Company

Gabri Christa Headshot

Gabri Christa, Film and Dance Maker; Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Barnard College; Director, Move

Georgina Pazcoguin Headshot

Georgina Pazcoguin, NYCB Soloist, Co-Founder A Final Bow for Yellowface

Griff Braun Headshot

Griff Braun, Director of Organizing & Outreach, American Guild of Musical Artists

Jonelle Procope Headshot

Jonelle Procope, President & CEO, Apollo Theater

Kaisha Johnson Headshot

Kaisha Johnson, Founding Director, Women of Color in the Arts

Karesia Batan Headshot

Karesia Batan, Founding Executive Director, Queensboro Dance Festival

Karisma Jay Headshot - Karisma Jay is smiling in the camera before teaching a virtual class.

Karisma Jay, Performing Artist, Professor, and Executive Artistic Director

AbunDance Academy of the Arts, Inc

Kimberly Olsen Headshot

Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director

NYC Arts in Education Roundtable

Lane Czaplinski Headshot

Lane Czaplinski, Director, Performing Arts, Wexner Center for the Ars

Laura Colby Headshot

Laura Colby, President, Elsie Management

Leal Zielinksa Headshot

Leal Zielinska, Artistic Associate, Gibney Company

Linda Shelton Headshot

Linda Shelton, Executive Director, The Joyce Theater Foundation

middle aged white woman speaking to audience with one hand raised, short blonde hair, grey dress

Lucy Sexton, Executive Director, New Yorkers For Culture & Arts

Marjani Forté-Saunders Headshot

Marjani Forté-Saunders, Choreographer, Co-Visionary of 7NMS| Marjani Forté-Saunders + Everett Saunders, Co-Visionary of Art

Marya Wethers Headshot

Marya Wethers, Independent Creative Producer & Curator

Melanie George Headshot

Melanie George, Dance Maker, Educator, Dramaturg, Choreographer, Scholar, Founder of Jazz Is… Dance Project

Michael Novak Headshot

Michael Novak, Artistic Director, Paul Taylor Dance Company

Michelle Manzanales Headshot

Michelle Manzanales, Director, School of Dance, Ballet Hispánico

Naomi Goldberg Haas Headshot

Naomi Goldberg Haas, Artistic Director, Dances for a Variable Population

Pam Tatge Headshot

Pamela Tatge, Executive & Artistic Director, Jacob's Pillow

Phil Chan:Asian American man in blue silk tuxedo jacket, white shirt, in front of a blue and white background. by Eli Schmidt

Phil Chan, Co-Founder

Final Bow for Yellowface

Quilan Cue Arnold Headshot

Quilan "Cue" Arnold, Dancer and Choreographer

Rebecca Ferrell Headshot

Rebecca Ferrell, Director of Programs, Dance/USA

Sade Lythcott Bio

Sade Lythcott, CEO, National Black Theatre

Sheila Lewandowski Headshot

Sheila Lewandowski, Executive Director, The Chocolate Factory Theater

Simi Linton Headshot

Simi Linton, Arts Consultant, Author, Filmmaker & Activist

Stanford Makishi Headshot

Stanford Makishi, Vice President for Programming, New York City Center

Sydney Skybetter Headshot

Sydney Skybetter, Lecturer and Public Humanities Fellow, Brown University

Tiffany Rea-Fisher

Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Artistic Director & Choreographer


Traci Lester Headshot

Traci Lester, Executive Director, National Dance Institute

Yo-Yo Lin Headshot

Yo-Yo Lin, Interdisciplinary Artist

Series Schedule

Launch:  Thursday, May 21, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Full Series: Every Tuesday starting May 26, 2020 through August 4, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Registration: No registration was required. All conversations broadcast live, free and open to the public.

About: A series of transparent conversations with arts workers highlighting the importance of the arts ecology, pointing to current challenges and offering considerations on our way forward as a field. Most events were moderated by Alejandra Duque Cifuentes or Candace Thompson-Zachery, with the exception of a few guest moderators. 


Special Thanks

Dance/NYC thanks LC Interpreting Services and The Viscardi Center for ASL interpretation and Closed Captioning services throughout the entire series. 



#DanceIsDignifiedLabor #DanceWorkforceResilience #dancenyc #nycdance


Dance/NYC convening is made possible, in part, by leadership support from the Howard Gilman Foundation and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts.



Dance/NYC seeks partners and speakers with a variety of viewpoints for its events with the goal of generating discussion. The inclusion of any partner or speaker does not constitute an endorsement by Dance/NYC of that partner's or speaker's views.




Solo dancer captured in jump alongside text details of the performances.

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