Issue 3: Justice, Equity and Inclusion are Still Lagging

The dance workforce still doesn’t reflect NYC demographics with lacking representation from BIPOC, older generation, and disabled dance workers.

Many of our dance entities are not implementing justice, equity, inclusion, and access policies and practices (either due to capacity or lack of priority), and among us, those from historically disinvested communities are not adequately resourced or engaged across all levels of the workforce including leadership. Organizations centering BIPOC dance practices have more limited financial resources than genres of ballet, contemporary, and modern.

What are the Facts?

  • Immigrant workers are 17% of NYC Dance vs 37% of NYC as a whole.1
  • BIPOC dance organizations are more prevalent under the $250K threshold.2

From the State of NYC Dance 2023 Report:

  1.  An Economic Profile of Immigrants in New York City 2017. NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. (2020). ↩︎
  2.  Defining “Small-Budget” Dance Makers in a Changing Society. Dance/NYC. (2023). p 52. ↩︎

How do we get to Just, Vibrant & Diverse?

By considering our relationship to larger systems, how we interact in community, and activities on a day-to-day level as well as incentivizing those in positions of power to take action.

Larger Systems

Injustices within the dance field are an extension of the larger oppressive systemic structures that create barriers to resources, opportunities, and protections to BIPOC, LGBTQIA2+, Immigrant, Disabled, and low-income people to name a few. Here’s how you can help shift larger systems to better the New York City dance industry: 

Quick Actions (5 minutes)

Deeper Actions

  • Consider other social justice-oriented policies that you can support at the legislative level.
  • Find social justice-oriented grassroots movements that you can join or support.

Questions for Reflection

  • Have you clearly articulated your values around justice, equity, and inclusion? Are they present in both internal and external communications?
    • Examples of internal communications: meetings, orientations for new staff/dancers/volunteers, letters of agreements
    • Examples of external communications: website, newsletters, social media posts
  • How are you contributing to the manifestation of those values in your community? How are you interrupting white supremacy? 

In Community

When we engage with others creating spaces and building organizations we either replicate, or, interrupt and challenge systemic injustices in dance. Here’s how you can engage in community with this in mind: 

Quick Actions (5 minutes)

Deeper Actions (1–5 hours)


Experience conversations from our past Dance/NYC Symposiums to further understand the historical and ongoing efforts towards justice in the dance field:

Questions for Reflection

  • Are the spaces you are building or participating in accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities? 
  • Have they considered the land, the history, and diverse life experiences of those in the community?
  • Are you presenting and supporting artists of a variety of dance lineages and aesthetics regardless of time of year, without putting them on a special month or in a special space but as part of your ongoing regular programming? 
  • Are you giving equal respect and compensation to dance traditions by immigrant artists and disabled people?
  • Are there ways to create pipelines to leadership and leadership development for dance workers from historically disinvested communities?


Our day-to-day actions can lead to small changes, disrupting systemic power imbalances that play out in our interpersonal environments. However, these changes often require us to be more mindful and deliberate in our actions.

Quick Actions (5 minutes)

  • Offer your pronouns and invite others to do so in events you organize.
  • Identify and name the native land you and/or your organization exists on.
  • Follow BIPOC, immigrant, and disabled thought leaders on your social platforms.

Deeper Actions (3–4 hours)

Questions for Reflection

Positions of Power

Do you hold a position of power that influences how funding reaches the dance community or how policy is set? Review and prepare to advance the following actions for:

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