Dance and Social Justice Fellowship Program


Dance/NYC is pleased to announce the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance and Social Justice Fellowship Program, made possible by the generous support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs CreateNYC Disability Forward Fund and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. Dance/NYC will award $1,000 to 25 individual dance workers with disabilities for their dance and social justice related activities undertaken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing movement for racial justice. The purpose of the 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 impacted by COVID-19 and ongoing racial violence, disabled dance workers have remained active in serving their communities through online programming, community organizing efforts, and mutual aid, often without compensation or funding. The fellowship program provides a recognition of all activities completed between March 11, 2020 and June 30, 2020.

The Fellowship Program responds directly to Dance/NYC's recent research, Performing Disability. Dance. Artistry. (Dance.NYC/PerformingDDA18) which calls for investment in disabled artists by advancing disability-specific arts funding initiatives. Additionally, the latest findings of Dance/NYC's ongoing Coronavirus Impact Survey ( reveal individual dance workers have reported a cumulative loss of at least $4.2 million due to the social restriction measures implemented to contain the spread of the virus. Notably, the data suggests that the virus disproportionately impacts people who identify as disabled, African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA), women-identifying and genderqueer/nonbinary as well as older dance workers and immigrant dance workers.

Fellowship Components
Individual dance workers with disabilities are invited to apply for a $1,000 award to be used to reimburse expenses incurred for engaging in dance and/or social justice activities from March 11, 2020 through June 30, 2020. In alignment with our 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 of the following activities:

  • Creation and dissemination of online 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);
  • Participation in the development, dissemination, planning, or support of relief funds and/or mutual aid efforts in service of disabled dance workers and/or artists;
  • 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.

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 available as quickly as possible to grantees. If you are unable to receive funds via direct deposit, please contact Dance/NYC at [email protected]

Eligiblity Requirements
Applicants are eligible to apply if they:

  • Identify as a disabled dance worker, as defined by the following:
    • dancer, dance performer, choreographer, dance photographer, dance videographer, dance teaching artist, dance writer/critic, dramaturg, dance scholar and/or
    • related artistic and technical personnel such as: technicians (lighting, stage management, production, etc.), dance musicians/accompanists, independent presenters, producers, agents and/or managers, dance theatre personnel (ushers, in-house vendors, etc.), organizers;
  • Are based (reside) in the five boroughs of New York City, including: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island; and
  • Are able to provide the following information to process digital payment:
    • A Tax Identification Number, which can include any of the following: social security number (SSN), employer identification number (EIN), or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN);

Applicants are not eligible to apply if they:

  • Do not identify as a disabled dance worker;
  • Are based (reside) outside of the five boroughs of New York City; and/or
  • Are an organization [501(c)(3) or fiscally sponsored group] of any kind.

Funding Priorities and Review Rubric
Priority in grant selection will be given to applicants who demonstrate to a review panel:

  • Need, defined as the total amount of expenses incurred in the development and execution of dance and/or social justice activities from March 11, 2020 through June 30, 2020;
  • A commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion:
    • The review panel will consider the role that historically underfunded groups--including African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA), LGBTQ+, women-identifying, gender nonconforming and/or nonbinary, and immigrant artists--play within the applicant pool and wider dance field;
    • Demonstrated actions in alignment with stated values; and
  • Diversity of participant roles and perspectives.

Proposal Specifications
Required materials for Fellowship applicants include:


Fellowship Period March 11, 2020 to June 30, 2020
Fellowship Application Opens June 30, 2020
Deadline for submission July 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST
Panel Review July 2020
Participant Notification August 2020


Submission Details
Dance/NYC is using an online application portal Before completing the application form, interested applicants are asked to first complete a series of questions to determine baseline eligibility. If eligible, applicants will be prompted to complete the application.

Complete applications must be submitted online no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Incomplete applications, hard copy submissions, and applications received after the July 14 deadline wil not be considered.

Accessibility and Questions
Dance/NYC is committed to accessibility and the inclusion of disabled people in its programs. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for assistance. If you have questions not already addressed on the FAQ page or need assistance accessing any part of this application, please contact us at [email protected]. Please only send questions to this e-mail account. As appropriate, Dance/NYC's responses to questions received will be added to the FAQ page.

Dance/NYC staff is available to support prospective applicants in the completion of their applications via phone (voice-only) dictation or Zoom. Staff cannot provide advice on application content but can assist with the application input process in Submittable. Registration is now open on a first-come, first-served basis: Applicants can register for one (1) 30-minute session to receive one-on-one support. Please register for only one session. ASL interpretation will be available upon request for those who register at least two business days in advance.

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. It works in allicance with Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance.

Visit Dance.NYC/DDA for details on Dance/NYC's Disability. Dance. Artistry. initiative.

About the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs CreateNYC Disability Forward Fund
The CreateNYC Disability Forward Fund was launched in 2018 as a pilot initiative designed to support new and ongoing efforts to engage people with disabilities as artists, cultural workers, and audience members. By supporting new and expanded programs in a number of disciplines for a range of different disabilities, the new fund builds on recommendations made in the CreateNYC cultural plan released by Mayor de Blasio in July 2017 and reflects the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs' commitment to working with cultural organizations to provide opportunities for all New Yorkers to engage in the arts. Learn more:

About the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation
The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation was founded in 1995, and is primarily committed to providing grants and programmatic support for: access to art for a broad audience, art in the service of social justice, art in the service of social change and discourse, and under-recognized artistic practice. The Foundation supports arts and cultural organizations through grants to catalyze collective action, promote equality, contribute to advocacy and policy change, and develop capacity for greater civic engagement. The Foundation is also interested in supporting organizations outside of the arts whose programs seek to engage communities through cultural activities. Now in its fifth cycle, the art and social justice grant program will reward fifty-three New York-based cultural organizations for their artistic activism and engagement with social justice. Grants will provide direct support for exhibitions, educational programs, activist initiatives, artists' projects, publications, and operations. Learn more:

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