Dance and Social Justice Fellowship Program

Tuesday, August 29, 2023



Program Overview and Goals

Made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation, the purpose of the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance and Social Justice Fellowship Program is to recognize the critical role that disabled dance workers and arts practitioners play in social justice movements and to ensure that these workers are supported while continuing to place disability front and center as a positive artistic and generative force. Dance/NYC recognizes that, despite the multiple ways disabled communities have been and continue to be impacted by COVID-19 and ongoing racial violence, disabled dance workers have remained active in serving their communities through online and in-person programming and community organizing efforts, often without compensation or funding.

Dance/NYC will award general operating support grants of $1,500 to $4,000 to up to 40 individual disabled dance workers for their dance and social justice related activities completed between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

The DDA Fellowship responds directly to Dance/NYC’s research, Performing Disability. Dance. Artistry. (Dance.NYC/PerformingDDA18) which calls for investment in disabled artists by advancing disability-specific arts funding initiatives. The Coronavirus Dance Impact Informational Brief ( revealed 65% of disabled dance workers were not able to access all of the medical and mental health resources they needed as compared to 41% of non-disabled dance workers. Analysis of Dance/NYC’s Coronavirus Dance Impact Survey in 2021 ( revealed more disabled dance workers need funding for transportation (43% vs 26% for non-disabled dance workers) and personal care (29% vs 22% for non-disabled dance workers). Moreover, disabled dance workers lost 29% of their annual income while non-disabled dance workers lost 25%. While this research was collected in 2021 during a notable wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, more recent data show the arts sector continues to be in a tenuous position. As relief funds wane and audience trends shift, this data remains indicative of ongoing needs among disabled dance workers as they engage in dance and social justice activities.

Fellowship Components

Individual dance workers with disabilities are invited to apply for an award to be used to reimburse expenses incurred for engaging in dance and/or social justice activities from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. Award sizes will be scaled from $1,500-$4,000 in accordance with the extent of dance and/or social justice activities undertaken by the applicant and the magnitude of the expenses incurred. In alignment with Dance/NYC’s values of justice, equity, and inclusion, and in heeding the leadership of Black, Indigenous, and disability justice organizers, Dance/NYC defines dance and/or social justice activities widely to include any activity an individual undertakes which is either related to dance and/or social justice or any activity which supports the individual’s ability to engage in dance and/or social justice activities. Eligible activities include but are not limited to any of the following activities:

  • Creation and dissemination of online and in-person content related to artists’ practice or thought leadership (i.e.: classes, performances, instructional videos, blogs, and/or written, verbal, or video content); 
  • Organizing, hosting, or participating in conversations and/or community events and/or social justice actions with the dance and arts community;
  • Development of new dance works or continued development of repertory work, including but not limited to rehearsals, presentations, performances, or at home training (solo or in a group);
  • Leading and/or engaging in one-on-one or small group mentorship conversations and learning circles focused on/or working from a framework of dance and social justice;
  • Organizing, facilitating, and/or contracting access services for the dance community or yourself, including but not limited to ASL interpretation, closed captioning, audio description, etc.; and
  • Engaging in or leading curated restorative practices as a form of preservation, healing, and resistance.

Activities are not required to be intersectional between dance and social justice, though they can be. Disabled dance workers, across the broadest spectrum of disability identity, are invited to apply. Dance/NYC will prioritize self-identification. No artist will be required to identify their impairment or provide verification in their application.

Dance/NYC plans to process award funds via direct deposit to ensure grant awards are delivered in a timely manner. Dance/NYC will consult with grantees individually to determine whether an installment schedule is necessary to avoid jeopardizing Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. If you are unable to receive funds via direct deposit, please contact Dance/NYC at

About Dance/NYC (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.

Visit Dance.NYC/DDA for details on Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry. Initiative.

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 protections and full expressions 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.


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