Dance/NYC Announces Fund to Advance Resilience in Dance

Friday, August 16, 2019

Dance/NYC Announces Fund to Advance Resilience in Dance


The service organization Dance/NYC is pleased to announce the second iteration of its Dance Advancement Fund, made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation. The purpose of the Fund is to address the inequitable distribution of resources in the dance field and advance resilience by supporting dance makers with budgets between $25,000 and $1 million. Selected dance makers will receive two-year general support grants of $5,000 to $15,000 each year. 

“Dance/NYC thanks the Ford Foundation for its commitment to supporting the art form of dance and recognizing the central role that creativity and free expression play in shaping a just society,” offers Elissa D. Hecker, Chair of Dance/NYC’s Board of Directors.

Dance/NYC believes the dance ecology must itself be just, equitable, and inclusive to meaningfully contribute to social progress and envisions a dance ecology wherein power, funding, opportunities, conduct, and impacts are fair for all artists, cultural workers, and audiences. Dance/NYC’s approach cuts across its public programs and all aspects of its operations. It aims to advance economic justice through this Fund, while recognizing that dance makers with operating budgets below $25,000 also need support. 

“Because the Dance Advancement Fund provides critical financial support to dance makers from across the entire metropolitan area, it allows for the emergence of new creative work by artists who reflect the diversity of the New York City dance community,” says Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director of Dance/NYC. “The contributions of these dance makers will collectively allow for New York City’s dance field to move toward one that is more just, equitable, and inclusive, which aligns with Dance/NYC’s vision for a resilient dance ecology.”

The Fund leverages Dance/NYC’s capacity as a regrantor and responds directly to the organization’s field research. Dance/NYC’s State of NYC Dance and Workforce Demographics (Dance.NYC/StateofDance2016) shows that dance makers with budgets of less than $1 million comprise the lion’s share (84%) of total groups but have access to only 10% of the total revenue. Notably, the smallest organizations demonstrate the greatest capacity to adapt and have workforces that better reflect the racial diversity and presence of disabled and immigrant people in New York City’s population than the workforces of larger organizations. Helicon Collaborative’s Not Just Money: Equity Issues in Cultural Philanthropy ( shows that diversity in cultural organizations is often inversely related to organizational size, citing a 2015 New York City Department of Cultural Affairs study of 900 cultural institutions, which demonstrated that smaller institutions have more diverse staffs. In Yancey Consulting’s report commissioned by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The New York Community Trust, What Are the Paradigm Shifts Necessary for the Arts Sector to Nurture More Sustainable THRIVING Institutions of Color (, in making the case for continued support of ALAANA-led arts and culture organizations, Lisa Yancey writes, “One cannot expect sustained change with temporary solutions that assuage symptoms without eliminating the core problems. We can only get to these core problems by investing differently and collaboratively in capacity, shared learning, and behavioral modifications that can lead to field-wide culture shifts.”

In late August, Dance/NYC will issue an open call for proposals, inviting metropolitan New York City area dance makers with annual operating budgets between $25,000 and $1 million to submit applications for two-year general support grants of $5,000 to $15,000 each year. In alignment with our research findings, the Fund will prioritize applications from dance makers that are headquartered outside of Manhattan; led by or otherwise creating work by African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) and/or women and/or disabled and/or immigrant artists; and demonstrating service of audiences that reflect the diversity of the metropolitan New York City area, with a focus on majority ALAANA participation and disability and immigrant representation. (According to Census data, the New York City population is approximately 77% ALAANA, 10% disabled, 52% female, and 37% foreign-born. Source: US Census Bureau American FactFinder 2011–2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.)

The deadline for application submission is October 1, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. EST.

Applicants must be dance makers headquartered in the metropolitan New York City area that have been creating and/or performing dance locally as either 501(c)(3) organizations or fiscally sponsored projects for at least three years. Current and past grantee organizations of Dance/NYC’s regranting programs, as well as direct recipients of Ford Foundation grants, and organizations who have not previously been funded by Dance/NYC are encouraged to apply. Additional information about eligibility and application requirements will be available later this month. Consultancy support for the Fund will be provided by Ebony Noelle Golden of Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative

Visit Dance.NYC/programs/funds/danceadvancement for details on Dance/NYC’s Dance Advancement Fund and an open call for proposals available in late August.

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About Dance/NYC (Dance.NYC)
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.

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