Dance Advancement Fund

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Dance Advancement Fund. For metropolitan NYC area dance makers with operating budgets between $10,000 and $500,000.

2022-2023 Dance Advancement Fund Overview

Table of Contents

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Program Overview and Goals

Made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation and Howard Gilman Foundation, the purpose of the funding initiative is to address the inequitable distribution of resources in the dance field and advance its resilience and thriving. 

Dance/NYC established the Dance Advancement Fund in 2017 to address the inequitable distribution of resources in the dance field, which was underscored by its research, 2016 State of NYC Dance and Workforce Demographics report, which shows that 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. The research also revealed that dance makers with annual 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. 

In 2020, Dance/NYC’s research study, Defining “Small-Budget” Dance Makers in a Changing Dance Ecology, further revealed that nearly all “small-budget” dance makers need funding for salaries/wages (95%) and general operations (93%), with more than half (56%) indicating that the salaries/wages category was the most critical funding need. These needs have only deepened over the course of the past year as the sector responds to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as revealed through Dance/NYC’s Coronavirus Dance Impact Informational Brief which found that individual dance workers were unable to meet their basic needs including housing, food, and medical and mental health resources. Similarly, dance making organizations expressed an inability to cover basic needs, including salaries/wages and rent. To date, and as a result of the pandemic, Dance/NYC has identified 22 dance and arts organizations that have permanently closed their doors with another 18% reporting closure as imminent. Of those facing permanent closure, 84% have budgets under $100K.  

As of 2021, the Dance Advancement Fund has provided $800,000 in general operating support to 45 unique dance making organizations and groups with budgets under $1 million across two grant cycles. As Dance/NYC moves into the third iteration of the program, it will distribute $900,000 over the course of the grant period to 35-50 dance makers with the goals to:

  • Address the long-term impacts of systems of oppression as manifested through white supremacy and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; 
  • Advance economic justice in the dance field by continuing to fill gaps in the availability of resources where they are most needed; and 
  • Address the critical need for consistent financial and knowledge-based support that will allow dance making organizations to move into a state of thriving.  

For Dance/NYC, thriving dance makers have the resources to make dance with dignity, defined as the ability to:

  • Pay dignified wages to all dance workers and collaborators who engage in the ideation, creation, execution, performance, and distribution of their artistic works;
  • Remain generative artists, defined as the creation of new works and/or the sustaining, archiving, performance, and preservation of repertory and/or legacy works; and
  • Work in accountability and healthy interdependent relationships with their collaborators, audiences, local communities, and the field. 

Dance/NYC’s definition of thriving is a reflection of its ongoing dialogue with current and former Dance Advancement Fund grantees. It is also only one definition of the many manifestations and iterations that thriving can embody for dance makers in the field. 

Legacy, Evolution, and Administration of the Program

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. It seeks to advance policies, investments, programs, mindsets, and actions that remove and prevent inequities that exist along the continuum of lives in dance, from the public-school classroom to the stage. 

Dance/NYC’s approach cuts across its public programs—advocacy; research; leadership training, networking and convening; technology and visibility; and regranting—and all aspects of its operations. Its approach is intersectional, building upon multiple issue areas that together create a more just, equitable, and inclusive dance ecology. Dance/NYC’s approach is also grounded in collaboration. It recognizes generations of people and organizations working to advance justice, equity, and inclusion in the arts and culture and strives to contribute to their efforts. It has established formal partnerships with colleague arts service organizations.

The third iteration of the Dance Advancement Fund, its components, and continued evolution is a reflection of:

  • Ongoing learning and dialogue with current and past Dance Advancement Fund grantees, field partners, Dance/NYC’s task forces and committees, Dance/NYC’s ongoing research, former and current Dance/NYC grantees and applicants across Dance/NYC’s grantmaking programs;
  • The direction, vision, conjuring, and advisement of Ebony Noelle Golden of Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, LLC; and 
  • The current events impacting the field. 

It is also inspired by The International Association of Blacks in Dance Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative (COHI) | Managing Organizational Vitality and Endurance and the leadership of Denise Saunders Thompson. 

In alignment with these stated values of justice, equity, and inclusion, Dance/NYC will lead the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Fund to ensure the following:

  • Fund priorities are met;
  • Applicant pool is a reflection of the demography of the metropolitan New York City area;
  • Applicants receive clear information regarding the eligibility and application process;  
  • Applicants across geographies and demographics have the opportunity to receive support in completing their application;
  • The application process and the dissemination of information regarding the application is led by and in conversation with community partners, organizers, and members of the field; 
  • The application process creates opportunities for more meaningful engagement with local dance-making communities; and
  • As many barriers to participation as possible are removed. 

These goals were met by:

  • Hiring of consultant Ebony Noelle Golden of Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, LLC to advise the team at Dance/NYC, facilitate, and serve as a liaison to dance makers who choose to apply to the Fund. Ms. Golden is an artist, scholar, and culture strategist conjuring at the intersection of vision, justice, and creativity with the NYC performing arts ecosystem for over 15 years.
  • Streamlining application announcements, eligibility and ineligibility criteria, and application questions and materials;
  • Only including questions in the application that are absolutely necessary to meet funding priorities and that are conscientious of the time and resource investment required of applicants;
  • Offering multiple points of contact for applicants to receive support; and
  • Working in collaboration with borough arts councils and hiring local community organizers and former grantees to spread the word about the Fund. 

The third iteration of the Dance Advancement Fund is led by the following Dance/NYC Staff:

  • Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director
  • Kirsten Reynolds, Grantmaking Manager
  • Alexeya EM, Grantmaking Assistant


Call for proposals release August 25, 2021


All applicants are strongly encouraged to participate

September 2, 2021, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Virtual Technical Assistance Sessions

20-minute sessions

  • September 9th, 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. EST
  • September 16th, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST 
  • September 23rd, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST 
  • September 30th, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST

*New Sessions Added*

  • October 1, 2021, 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST
  • ​October 3, 2021, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST
  • October 4, 2021 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.;
    3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST
  • ​October 6, 2021, 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST
  • ​October 7, 2021, 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
  • October 8, 2021, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST


40-minute sessions

  • September 8, 2021, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. EST
  • September 10, 2021, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. EST
  • September 22, 2021, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. EST
  • September 30, 2021, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. EST
Deadline for submission Friday, October 8, 2021, 11:59 p.m. EST
Panel review January 2022
Award notification February 2022
Grantee announcement February 2022
Grant disbursements Week of February 21, 2022 (1st payment)
Week of January 3, 2023 (2nd payment)
Grantee Orientation Webinar* Week of March 7, 2022
Interim grantee report due* November 30, 2022
Final grantee report due* March 31, 2024

* Required for all award recipients

About 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.

About the Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation was founded in 1936, and has invested in innovative ideas, visionary individuals, and frontline institutions advancing human dignity around the world across eight decades. We believe in the inherent dignity of all people. But around the world, too many people are excluded from the political, economic, and social institutions that shape their lives. In addressing this reality, we are guided by a vision of social justice—a world in which all individuals, communities, and peoples work toward the protection and full expression of their human rights; are active participants in the decisions that affect them; share equitably in the knowledge, wealth, and resources of society; and are free to achieve their full potential. Across eight decades, our mission has been to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.

About the Howard Gilman Foundation
Howard Gilman believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. The Howard Gilman Foundation honors his legacy by supporting the most robust, innovative, and promising performing arts organizations in New York City.

About Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, LLC
Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative (BDAC) is a cultural consultancy and arts accelerator based in the village of Harlem.  Since 2009, the consultancy has fueled systems, strategies, and solutions for justice and organizational wellness for more than 80 organizations nationally.  In 2020, BDAC launched Jupiter Performance Studio, which houses all of the company’s creative and arts education endeavors. Jupiter Performance Studio is a hub for the development, exploration, and production of diasporic Black performance traditions. Led by artist, scholar, and organizer Ebony Noelle Golden, BDAC bridges many worlds. BDAC’s holistic, results-oriented perspective makes them effective strategists, coaches, and community organizers. BDAC views the organizations they work with as collaborators, not as clients. BDAC is affectionately named after Ebony’s mother, Dr. Betty Ann Sims, who is a retired professor, social worker, and youth interventionist. 

About Gibney’s Digital Media Initiative
Gibney’s Digital Media Initiative seeks to empower artists to create high quality digital content and integrate technology into their practice. The DMI supports artists by providing trainings, consultations, access to hardware and software, and subsidized filming and editing services.

About Pentacle
Since 1976, Pentacle has been a model in the arts administration field, enabling performing artists to focus on what they do best—create art and engage with audiences. As a responsive and trusted partner, Pentacle collaborates with performing artists to design and provide unique and robust programs of support at critical stages in their careers.

Pentacle’s programs include: Fiscal Services, comprised of fiscal administration and sponsorship; Booking, Administrative Support including mentorship, personnel, and performance/showcase opportunities; Education & Outreach programs giving youth the tools they need to grow into the next generation of performing artists, arts administrators, and audiences; and New Initiatives that include partnerships with non-traditional venues for dance and nextSteps our new, capacity-building online administrative support platform.

About PURPOSE Productions
PURPOSE Productions supports artists and organizers in the mothering of PURPOSE-full work that seeks to unify and develop our world community.

Our collective of anti-capitalist freelancers collaborates with individuals and institutions to collaboratively bring visions to fruition through marketing, management, support for families, and more. Named after the Swahili translation of the name Nia, PURPOSE Productions grounds itself in the principles of Kwanzaa, an African American holiday celebrating the fruits of ancestral, communal, and individual labor. Our work is rooted in an Africanist aesthetic and value system, and our community represents diverse cultures, genres, and experiences.

About TrustPlus
A national nonprofit, TrustPlus provides personal finance coaching where and when you need it, helping clients to manage debt, strengthen credit, and build savings on the path to financial health.

A black rectangle with the words: ETD Masterclass Series: DANCE X TECHNOLOGY Discover the Future of Dance with AI. Register by 8/2/2024 and save 25%. August 17-August 18, 2024. Center for Creativity & Dance. www.etd/nyc

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