Dance Worker Digest | July 2023

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Dance Worker Digest | July 2023


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Dance Worker Digest
July 2023

This month's topics cover resources for dance workers in disaster prep and affordable housing, as well as in dance training and responses to anti-drag legislation.

Emergency planning and disaster preparedness guides for arts facilities and studios

street filling with waterThe National Coalition for Arts Preparedness (NCAPER), published a guide to ensure the arts community has the tools to “respond effectively to disasters and emergencies affecting the arts and culture sector.”

Recommendations include:

• keeping track of emergency alerts through services like the National Weather Service and phone apps,
• sharing updates on weather situations with volunteers and staff,
• determining a studio’s or individual’s critical documents and data backups,
• setting up “go bags”,
• creating a shutdown plan,
• and pre-arranging a designated person to check in on a business after a weather emergency has passed.

The NYC Department of City Planning notes, “New York City is highly vulnerable to flooding from coastal storms due to its intensively used waterfront and its extensive coastal geography.” The Atlantic Hurricane season begins in June and runs into the fall months. As part of season preparedness, the NYC Department of Small Business Services is offering a free webinar on August 3 on hurricane preparedness and business continuity plans.

Dance Business Weekly has a quick set of steps for disaster preparedness, and the Northeast Document Conservation Center, ArtsReady, and dPlan provide a linked library of resources for emergency planning, including salvage, sheltering collections, communications plans, and walkthrough safety lists.

• Check out NCAPER’s guide on flood preparedness
• Review NYC’s Know Your Zone guide on hurricanes and coastal storms
• Sign up for Emergency Alerts in NYC
• Check out NYC’s Rainfall Ready NYC Action Plan
• From NYC gov: How climate change is causing coastal storm flooding

Free housing services for dance workers through the Entertainment Community Fund

The Schermerhorn, an innovative, 216-unit residence in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn and home to The Mark O’Donnell Theater at the Entertainment Community Fund Arts Center.The Entertainment Community Fund has a variety of housing resources available, offering assistance to dance workers navigating the current rental market in NYC.

With free online workshops on topics ranging from apartment hunting to housing for seniors, the Fund is committed to providing assistance to those seeking affordable housing and practical information on how to get organized to apply. Additionally, the Fund’s Housing Resource Center provides a curated list of resources on subjects ranging from tenants’ rights to homeownership.

For those seeking rentals, sublets, or roommates, the Fund’s Housing Bulletin Board provides a space to share housing opportunities. The Fund also maintains affordable housing units across three residences—The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence and Schermerhorn in New York City and The Palm View in Los Angeles—all of which are connected to supportive services available to residents.

• Learn more about the Entertainment Community Fund’s housing services

Image courtesy of The Entertainment Community Fund.

Complete Dance Rising’s Dancer Training Poll

ballet barres in a dance studioDance Rising is running a Dancer Training Poll–an anonymous 15-minute survey for dance workers, now through August, collecting information about the dance community’s professional training preferences, class affordability, how dancers find spaces, accessibility of classes, and more. The data gathered will provide an important perspective on the cost and process of training for professional dance artists in NYC. Aggregate data will be shared with Dance/NYC and New Yorkers for Culture and Arts, and be used as an advocacy tool throughout the sector and city.

• Take the Dancer Training Poll

National arts organizations sound the alarm on growing anti-drag legislation

Drag performers in rainbow dresses posing for a photo during a paradeSeveral national arts organizations have expressed alarm at the growing number of proposed or enacted legislation targeting drag performance, which has dangerous implications for the LGBTQIA+ community and the restriction of performers’ free expression. Legislative measures have been introduced around the country to restrict drag performances (directly or in effect): in MontanaFloridaArkansas, and Texas, among others. 

The Performing Arts Alliance cited several such bills, including the Tennessee law restricting drag performance that a federal judge recently held to be unconstitutionally vague, overbroad, and encouraging discriminatory enforcement.

PEN America condemned the attacks on drag performance and drag story hours, highlighting the sometimes violent attempts to inhibit expression of identities and ideas, and intimidate LGBTQIA+ persons, performers, libraries, and event organizers.

Americans for the Arts have emphasized freedom of artistic expression in reporting on the anti-drag bills and measures, explaining that even bills unlikely to be passed are still used to create a narrative of drag performance–and implicitly the LGBTQIA+ community–as a societal danger. Also raising the alarm is the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, stressing that the bans not only wrongfully target drag performers, but could extend to limiting stage and music performances involving portrayals of gender and gender characteristics.

• Check out Americans for the Arts tracker on anti-drag legislation
• Review APAP’s statement on defending drag performance
• Learn more on the history of drag


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