Letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Re: Advisory Council on Arts, Culture, and Tourism

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Re: Advisory Council on Arts, Culture, and Tourism


May 13, 2020 

Honorable Bill de Blasio 
Mayor City of New York City Hall
New York, NY 10007 

Re: Advisory Council on Arts, Culture, and Tourism

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

We are writing to you as a dance community of organizations and dance workers that make up a significant workforce that is central to New York City’s cultural ecosystem and economy.

We are reaching out because of the glaring absence of a dance representative on the City’s sector Advisory Council on Arts, Culture, and Tourism. While we acknowledge your team’s efforts to develop a strategic COVID-19 reopening and recovery plan and appreciate the inclusion of the arts and cultural organizations in the City, it is critical that the dance community further advocates for itself. Although some of our needs and experiences intersect with that of other performing arts disciplines, the dance sector is unique and demands the attention of the local government.

The dance community in New York City attracts and exports talent around the world, drives local tourism, and is central to some of the City’s most popular and lucrative cultural attractions– including Broadway. Dance/NYC's State of NYC Dance and Workforce Demographics Report has revealed that the dance sector contributes over $300 million to the City's economy, even as dance remains the discipline receiving the lowest amount of funding in arts and culture. This doesn't include the many freelance artists, LLCs, and fiscally-sponsored groups that also help make New York City the dance capital of the world. Despite this, the dance community remains adaptable and vibrant. Our expertise and experiences position us as significant contributors to the health of the arts, culture, and tourism sector of our City as we endeavor to envision a future that will ensure our cultural capital can thrive once again. 

Our work and organizations celebrate, employ, and serve a diverse group of New Yorkers: We are people of color, disabled people, transgender and gender-nonconforming people, women-identifying and immigrant people, and people living in poverty. We are the birthplace of hip hop, salsa, and modern dance. We are places of preservation of folkloric and culturally specific dance forms. We are performance venues, presenters, educational institutions and festivals. We are New Yorkers dancing barefoot, on point, taps, sneakers, and Broadway. We are community organizers and administrators, educators and therapists, large organizations, and small community collectives. Together we represent over 5,000 individual dance artists, 1,200+ dance-making entities, and 500+ nonprofit dance companies.

As a dance community, we demand inclusion and formal representation on the City’s Advisory Council on Arts, Culture, and Tourism and its plans for recovery and reopening.

Since the start of the pandemic, Dance/NYC has collected data on the impact our sector has experienced as a result of COVID-19 and the findings are staggering: As of May 8, 2020, individual dance-makers reported a cumulative loss of at least $3.3 million with organizations, projects, and groups indicating losses that exceed $20.5 million. These figures largely account for only early March and April activity. The loss experienced by our community has only deepened and the impact continues to be felt by all. More alarmingly, many respondents are indicating they will not be able to sustain themselves or their institutions much longer without unrestricted funds to cover lost salaries/wages, living expenses, and food/groceries–– we may soon lose a large swath of our cultural sector as closures begin to take course. It is against this backdrop that we as a community have already begun to organize and plan for the future, grounded in data and in the experiences of the very people that make New York City’s arts, culture, and tourism sector thrive. 

As the impact of the pandemic grows, our community is evidently suffering the consequences of systems that fail to consider our needs and contributions time and time again. We ask you, Mayor de Blasio, not to further anonymize our stories and expertise by refusing to include us in critical conversations about how we can collectively return to the workplace safely and sustain growth in the near future. 

We thank you and your team for all you are doing and look forward to working with you as we move into a new future for New York City. 


  1. Abarukas
  2. Abby Z and the New Utility
  3. Abrons Arts Center
  4. Abundance Company
  5. A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham
  6. Alice Farley Dance Theater
  7. Alison Cook Beatty Dance
  8. Alma Dance Company
  9. Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company
  10. Alvin American Dance Theater
  11. American Ballet Theatre
  12. American Tap Dance Foundation
  13. Andrea Ward Company
  14. Angela’s Pulse
  15. Arnhold Foundation
  16. Arts Space Sanctuary
  17. Artichoke Dance Company
  18. Asian American Arts Alliance
  19. Ballaro Dance
  20. BalletCollective
  21. Ballet des Ameriques
  22. Ballet Hispánico
  23. BARE Dance Company
  24. Battery Dance Company
  25. Bombazo Dance Co.
  26. Boo Froebel Projects
  27. Brooklyn Studios fro Dance
  28. Buglisi Dance Theatre
  29. Burklyn Ballet Theatre
  30. Camille A. Brown & Dancers
  31. Claudia Schreier & Company
  32. Confluence Performance Project
  33. CPR- Center for Performance Research
  34. Creative Performances
  35. CRS- Center for Remembering & Sharing
  36. CUNY Dance Initiative
  37. Dance Artists’ National Collective
  38. Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE
  39. Dance Entropy Inc./Green Space
  40. Dance in Bushwick
  41. Dance Lab New York
  42. Dance/NYC
  43. Dances For A Variable Population
  44. Dance Parade
  45. Dance Theatre of Harlem
  46. Dance Visions NY
  47. Dancewave
  48. Dancing Crane Georgian Cultural Center
  49. Danspace Project
  50. Danza España/American Spanish Dance Theatre
  51. Devalois Fearon Dance
  52. Divine Rhythm Productions
  53. Dixon Place Theater
  54. Dorrance Dance
  55. Doug Varone and Dancers
  56. DNA
  57. Elisa Monte Dance
  58. Emily Johnson/Catalyst
  59. Ephrat Asherie Dance
  60. Eva Dean Dance
  62. Full Circle Souljahs
  63. Futile Gestures
  64. Gallim / Andrea Miller
  65. Garzia Capri Company
  66. Germaul Barnes-Viewsic Dance
  67. Gibney
  68. Harkness Foundation for Dance
  69. Heidi Latsky Dance
  70. HEWMAN
  71. Ice Theatre of New York
  72. Indelible Dance
  73. Infinite Body/Eva Yaa Asantewaa
  74. Japan Society
  75. Jessica Gaynor Dance
  76. Jiva Performing Arts
  77. Jon Lehrer Dance Company
  78. José Limón Dance Foundation
  79. Kate Weare Company
  80. Kalamandir Dance Co
  81. Kofago Dance Ensemble
  82. Kosoko | Performance
  83. Kristin McArdle Dance
  84. Kupferberg Center for the Arts
  85. Kyle Marshall Choreography
  86. Ladies of Hip Hop
  87. Lone King Projects
  88. Long Island City School of Ballet
  89. Lotus Music & Dance
  90. Mark Morris Dance Group
  91. Marth Graham Dance Company
  92. Melina Ring / Special Projects
  93. mersiha messiha | CIRCUITDEBRIS
  94. MICHIYAYA Dance
  95. Miguel Gutierrez
  96. Monica Bill Barnes & Company
  97. Movement Research
  98. Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
  99. Nancy Meehan Dance Company
  100. National Dance Institute
  101. Nel Shelby Productions
  102. Neville Dance Theatre
  103. New Chamber Ballet 
  104. New York City Ballet
  105. New Yorkers for Culture & Arts
  106. New York International Salsa Congress, Inc.
  107. New York Live Arts
  108. New York Theatre Ballet
  109. New York Theatre Ballet School
  110. Omega Dance Company
  111. PALISSIMO Company
  112. Pentacle
  113. Peridance Capezio Center
  114. Pidgeonwing Dance
  115. Rastro Dance Company
  116. Renegade Performance Group
  117. RIOULT Dance NY
  118. RoCo Dance
  119. Rod Rodgers Dance Company & Studios
  120. Sarah Berges Dance
  121. Shoen Movement Company
  122. Shawn Bible Dance Company
  123. Shen Wei Dance Arts
  124. Soles of Duende 
  125. Staten Island Dance Project
  126. Steps Beyond Foundation
  127. Steps on Broadway
  128. Suzzanne Ponomarenko Dance
  129. Sydnie L. Mosley Dances
  130. SYREN Modern Dance
  131. The Chocolate Factory
  132. The Borscht Collective
  133. The Dance Union
  134. The Equus Projects
  135. The Field
  136. The International Association of Blacks in Dance, Inc. 
  137. The Jerome Robbins Foundation
  138. The Moving Architects
  139. The New York Baroque Dance Company
  140. The New York Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies
  141. The Red Lines
  142. The School of Hard Knowcks, USA/Yoshiko Chuma
  143. The Vangeline Theater
  144. The Working Group of Creating New Futures
  145. Third Rail Projects
  146. Tom Gold Dance
  147. Treehouse Shakers
  148. Urban Bush Women
  150. Queensboro Dance Festival
  151. Young Dancemakers Company

Updated May 19, 2020.

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