Dance/NYC Symposium



Friday, March 20, 2020, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.


Hunter College, 695 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065
Find directions and accessibility features here.



Opening Keynote

Friday, March 20, 2020

7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., The Kaye Playhouse 

Conversation on "Moving from Surviving to Thriving: The Dance Field in Transformation" moderated by Professor Brenda Dixon Gottschild with Director and Founder of Angela's Pulse Paloma McGregor, Founder of The Dream Ring Experience and Artistic Director of FlexNYC Reggie "Roc" Gray, Founding Member and Artistic Director of the Spiderwoman Theater Muriel Miguel, Artistic Director of Ballez Katy Pyle and Performer of Kinetic Light Laurel Lawson.


21st Century Models for Dance-Making

This track will focus on a larger series of discussions centered around technology, tools, and practices useful for modern-day dance-making, archiving, and legacy-building.


Funding a Resilient Dance Ecology

This session will look at recent philanthropic funding projects that aim to be responsive to dance artists’ needs and visions in a new and changing ecology for arts and culture.


21st Century Approaches to Infrastructure for Dance Making

As the socio-economic, political and technological ground under us shifts, dance makers and service organisations are adapting their structures and offerings to ensure that the legacy of artistic production remains possible in culturally dense centers like New York City. In this panel discussion we highlight the challenges of today’s artists and the organisational structures that will support their dance making practices for the future.

Featured Speakers:

  • Clarissa Soto Josephs, Associate Director, Pentacle
  • Claire Buffie, Director of Creative Operations, Dance Lab NY
  • Sarah Maxfield, Operations Lead, Artspool

Labor Organizing for Dance Workers

As conversations around freelance workers' rights has garnered increased visibility, so has work around unionization efforts for dancers. This panel will outline the politics around unionized labor for dancers and recent efforts by local organizations and collectives to take action.

Featured Speakers:

  • Griff Braun, Director of Organizing & Outreach, American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA)
  • Alex Rodabaugh, Co-Founder, Dance Artists' National Collective (DANC)
  • Evvie Allison, Co-Founder, Dance Artists' National Collective (DANC) 
  • David Gonsier, Co-Founder, Dance Artists' National Collective (DANC)



Building a Net That Works

This series of discussions will review Dance/NYC’s action-oriented initiatives surrounding organizing, curating, funding and administrating dance. It will take a look at the infrastructure of the industry in which we work as dance makers, and what effects it has on working artists.  

Strategies in Curating and Presenting

This panel brings together performance curators to discuss how they have shaped practices for building programming across their careers and at their current institutions. The panelists will address how cultural equity, aesthetics perspectives, and questions of representation inform their work and how they contribute to workplace opportunities that allow artists and their craft to thrive. 


Fundraising and Resource-Building for Dance Artists

Fundraising for individual artists remains one of the most challenging factors for sustainability in the dance field. This mini workshop series features experts who utilize a range of fundraising strategies, from co-operative funding to individual donor cultivation.



Business of Dance

This series of workshops and resources features key strategies for the development and sustainability of dance practice for individual artists, companies, and organizations. Sessions will discuss tolls for increasing inclusion and advocacy within organizations, resources for artists, fundraising, and more. 


Sanctuary Space Workshop

Join Art Space Sanctuary and Make the Road to learn how we can help provide sanctuary and support to immigrant and refugee artists and colleagues. This one-hour workshop will provide background on immigration policies and practices, legal framework and strategies on knowing your rights and security protocols, and approaches beyond legal rights to form community and build solidarity.

Featured Speakers:

  • Abou Farman, Assistant Professor, New School; New Sanctuary Movement, Artspace Sanctuary
  • Sophia Garcia, Art Space Sanctuary and Sin Fronteras

Independent Producing: Benefits and Challenges

Independent Producers are a vital component to the performance field yet their work is often under supported. In this panel, independent producers discuss their approach to project management, share best practices, and propose models for professional sustainability.


Building A Tech Rider

A successful show always begins with the development of a clear technical rider. In this workshop attendees will learn basic technical vocabulary, formatting of riders, legal considerations, and accessibility requirements in order to directly understand and communicate the production needs of their work.



Voices on Race and Dance

This track will consist of discussions, panels, and workshops that bring together leading local and national voices in order to explore and foster solutions that address racial inequity and advance an equitable dance ecology. 


Building a Disability Politic to Dismantle Racism

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


Reconsidering the "Vernacular"

The category of “vernacular” dance is used to define dance forms that distinguish styles that require formal training from ones that are supposedly “learned naturally”. In this long table, dance artists take a critical look at the binary between “classical” and “vernacular” and address how the use of these terms has impacted their personal and professional trajectories.

Communities in Motion: Folklore + Tradition

Folk and traditional dance practitioners and producers offer insights on the strength of their traditions for posterity and speak to the ways they participate in the wider dance field. How are these artists perceived, supported and included, and on what terms?



Dance Education

This series of sessions bring together leading national and local voices to explore and foster the role of dance education in creating an equitable dance ecology.


Moving from Assimilation to Self-Empowerment in Pre-K-12 Dance Education

This panel examines how meeting the challenges of everyday life and developing as citizens of a democracy, are skills that are generated in dance classrooms by employing psychosocial abilities for adaptive and positive behavior.  Panelists will discuss strategies for creating classroom environments that increase analytical ability, personal agency, and interpersonal skills for interacting effectively with others while ensuring the thriving of student dancers.


Dance in Higher Education

Dancers are resilient – amazingly so – but are our Higher Education curricula resilient enough to meet the current and future responses to our diverse and ever changing community?  Are we preparing our students in Higher Education to take their place, as creative professionals in the future? In this panel discussion dance faculty from several institutions discuss these challenges, indicating towards practices and policies for 2020 and beyond.



Transformative Justice

These discussions will grapple with some of the intersections of dance and transformative justice. Expanding conversations around some of the practices, strategies, and challenges present when dance tackles our systems of criminal justice, spaces of healing, mental health and survival.


Redefining “Small-Budget” Dance Makers: Research + Practice

How would you define “small-budget” dance makers and why? What are the challenges and questions that are specific to this group? What is their role in redefining and achieving success in a changing cultural landscape, and in contributing to visions for a healthy dance ecology? 

This session will consist of a research presentation from Dance/NYC’s research team on *Defining “Small-Budget” Dance Makers in a Changing Dance Ecology, and a panel discussion led by self-identified “small-budget” dance makers who will respond to the ideas presented through their lived experiences in the field.

*Dance/NYC’s current research initiative that aims to foster public awareness and generate recommendations on recent findings of the inequitable distribution of resources of dance makers with budgets between $25,000 and $1 million. 

Featured Speakers:

  • Ebony Noelle Golden, CEO of Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative 
  • Ephrat Asherie, Ephrat Asherie Dance 
  • Melissa van Wijk, Founder & Director, Born Dancing
  • Ariel Quiñones - Development Consultant, Diversity in Arts and Nations for Cultural Education,
  • Michael Manswell Artistic Director, Teaching Artist & Choreographer, Something Positive Inc.
  • Carrie Blake, Senior Consultant & Research Director, Webb Management Services
  • Nelie Jacques, Project Manager, Webb Management Services


Immigrant Artists Creating New Models

In response to the needs of immigrant artists from Dance/NYC’s research report, Advancing Immigrants. Dance. Arts., this panel discussion will feature artists/producers who are investigating new strategies to cultivate and serve immigrant communities, change skewed narratives and, support and mentor artists.

Featured Speakers:

  • Parijat Desai, Director & Choreographer, Parijat Desai Dance Company
  • Kevin McEwen, Artistic Director, Kofago Dance Company
  • Nasrene Haj, Director & Founder, The Creators Collective
  • Luis Salgado, CEO & Artistic Director, Salgado Productions


Transition, Translation, Transaction.

This conversation will engage trans and gender nonconforming artists in a generative conversation about the realities of their lived experiences in the dance field toward creating stronger networks, tracing lineages and sharing resources.

Featured Speakers:

  • Ashley Yergens, Independent Artist 
  • NIC Kay, Interdisciplinary Artist
  • Ube Halaya, Hybrid Drag-Performer-Artist



SmART Bar Consultations

SmART bars are individual strategic consultations that follow the National Performing Arts Convention model. Drawn from the Arts and Cultural Consultants Network (ACCN), Nonprofit Finance Fund’s Advisory Services, and other partners, SmART bar tenders will respond to any range of questions—from board and fundraising issues to fresh business and marketing ideas—providing tailored recommendations and direction to further resources. Financial topics covered include better budgeting techniques, crafting your financial story, communicating with and through financial reports, balancing money with a mission, effective capitalization, investment strategy, and more. Sign up available at the event.


Legal Clinic


The Legal Clinic, organized by Dance/NYC Board Chair Elissa D. Hecker offers 30-minute individual consultations with arts and entertainment attorneys who are volunteering through the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law and Intellectual Property Sections of the New York State Bar Association. Attorneys are prepared to discuss legal issues concerning entertainment, intellectual property (i.e. copyright and trademarks), licensing, corporation/incorporation, and collaboration agreements, sexual harassment policies and investigations, among other issues.



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