Dance/NYC Symposium



2020 Digital Symposium

Saturday, March 21, 2020, 9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Zoom x Facebook Live

Sessions were free and open to the public. 

All sessions include ASL interpretation. 
Videos with closed captioning will be available soon.




Opening Remarks
9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

 Remarks, Land Acknowledgement + State of the Dance Field Address by D/NYC

Featured Speakers:

  • Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director, Dance/NYC
  • Ali-Rosa Salas, Director of Programming, Abrons Arts Center
  • Candace Thompson- Zachery, Manager of Justice Equity & Inclusion, Dance/NYC
  • Emily Johnson, Director, Choreographer, Curator, First Nations Dialogue



Keynote: Solidarity, Power and Resonance:
Indigenous led measures of culture shift in performance and potentiality

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

When we center Indigenous stories, artists, and knowledge, we confront the belly of the colonial beast. By being who we are in the work we make and how we make it, we generate healing and equity for everyone - in a myriad of kinstillatory and expansive ways. These artists discuss the concentration of their work and by doing so engage in Indigenous futurity, rights, and responsibility. We will pay particular attention to the politics and differences of working on our homelands or on Indigenous lands where we are guests.

Featured Speakers:

  • Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director, Dance/NYC
  • Ali-Rosa Salas, Director of Programming, Abrons Arts Center
  • Emily Johnson, First Nations Dialogues, Director, Choreographer, Curator (moderator)
  • Jackson Polys, Multi-disciplinary Artist



Building a Disability Politic to Dismantle Racism
12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

We will work to illuminate the deep connections that exist between ableism and racism by examining the capitalist, anti-black, colonial, and eugenics roots of ableism. We will examine the socio-political context that situates disabled people at the center of our struggles for justice. Participants will have an opportunity to identify the ways in which ableism impacts them and/or their work, then begin to develop disability politic that will inform strategy and practice.

Featured Speaker:

  • Dustin Gibson, Co-Founder, Disability Advocates for Rights and Transition, Founding Member, Harriet Tubman Collective



Emergency Response + Preparedness for Dance Organisations and Independent Artists
2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

As members of the dance workforce navigate their livelihoods and operations in response to COVID-19, Dance/NYC has convened a team of experts to speak to the pressing concerns of community. This session will provide insight on legal implications, labor rights, financial strategy, remote work tips, advocacy for disabled and immigrant artists, and mental health resources.

Featured Speakers:

  • Clarissa Soto Josephs, Associate Director, Pentacle, Inc.
  • Courtney Harge, Associate Director, Inbound Marketing, Fractured Atlas
  • Elizabeth E. Schlissel, Employment Attorney, Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP
  • Jaime Benson, Digital Marketing Consultant & Public Speaker
  • Julian Schubach, Partner, ODI Financial
  • Merlyne Jean-Louis, Esq, Business & Entertainment Attorney, Jean-Louis Law, P.C. 
  • Talila A. Lewis, Intersectional Community Lawyer & Consultant, Founder of Harriet Tubman Collective. 




Keynote: Moving From Surviving to Thriving:
A Dance Field in Transformation 

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

An open conversation between dance makers reflecting on generational relationships to abundance and thriving, and how artists are questioning, transforming and creating the worlds they wish to inhabit.

Featured Speakers:

  • Chrybaby Cozie, Litefeet Founder
  • Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director & CEO, Ballet Hispánico
  • Katy Pyle, Artistic Director, Ballez
  • Laurel Lawson, Performer of Kinetic Light
  • Nigel Campbell, Gibney Dance, Company Director
  • Paloma McGregor, Director and Founder of Angela's Pulse





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.

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