Glossary of Terms

Dance/NYC recognizes that language is constantly in flux and that words might have different meanings depending on their context and use. This glossary of terms is meant to contextualize the use of these terms within this research. While not comprehensive, it reflects Dance/NYC’s understanding and application of these terms at the time of writing.

The definitions for some terms were derived from Dance/NYC’s work with and following the leadership of local community organizers; Justice, Equity and Inclusion partners; members of our Disability. Dance. Artistry., Immigrants. Dance. Arts., and Dance. Workforce. Resilience. task forces and advisory groups; and experts in justice, equity, and inclusion. Other sources, where available, are specifically linked and/or named. 

Dance/NYC uses wider understandings of race, ethnicity, immigration, and disability-specific terms, prioritizing self-identification and recognizing each term as a marker for identification and membership within specific groups connected by social, political, and cultural experiences.

AccessibilityDance/NYC recognizes that the term “accessibility” is broad and can take on a number of different definitions. It often refers to, or is used in the context of, the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. In this report, “accessibility” refers to the ability of disabled people to access, experience, and benefit from dance industry offerings and experiences, including programs, spaces, and jobs. Accessible modifications allow unrestricted admittance to accommodate: individuals who may or may not have mobility disabilities or use assistive moving devices, like wheelchairs or canes; individuals who may have sensory disabilities; and individuals who communicate in different languages, are d/Deaf or hard of hearing, blind or low vision, and/or have cognitive or learning disabilities. (Source: National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)) Accessibility is both collective and individual, requiring practices of care and relationship, and not limited to legal accommodations provided by the ADA. Accessibility as it is defined in a radical sense, and as it merges with Disability Justice, is also an ongoing and ever-shifting process that goes beyond individual needs and considers the surrounding social and political systems that create inaccessibility (Fritsch, 2016: 26).
AdvocacyAdvocacy is support for a particular cause or policy on the part of individuals, collectives, communities, or entities. In this report, Dance/NYC refers to advocacy in terms of public support for dance as an industry, its programs and outputs, and its workers.
BIPOCA term referring to “Black and/or Indigenous People of Color.” While “POC” or “People of Color” is often used as well, “BIPOC” explicitly leads with Black and Indigenous identities, which helps to counter anti-Black racism and the invisibilization of Native communities and to recognize that Black and Indigenous people are severely impacted by systemic racial injustices. (, “BIPOC.” Dictionary, Accessed 10 Nov. 2023.). According to HR 3239 Advancing Equity Through the Arts, the term refers inclusively to—(A) “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color,” which includes South West Asian and North African (SWANA); (B) Black and African American; Hispanic and Latino; and (C) Native American, Alaska Native, and Indigenous American; Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) peoples.

In previous research, Dance/NYC has used the racial and ethnic identifier “ALAANA” (African, Latina/o/x, Arab, Asian, Native American.). Dance/NYC acknowledges that the terms ALAANA and BIPOC may be insufficient in capturing the multiple experiences, identities, and realities of members of these communities.
Business StructureA business structure provides a legal framework for an organized entity. There are many types of legal business structures that offer varying balances of legal protections and benefits to their owners. According to the IRS, an entity’s type of business structure impacts everything from day-to-day operations to taxes and how much of an owner’s personal assets are at risk. The most common business structures in the U.S. are Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Corporations, S Corporations and Limited Liability Company (LLCs.) In dance and the broader arts sector, a nonprofit business structure (a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization) is also very common. Business structures are sometimes also referred to as fiscal structures.
CapitalismCapitalism is an economic system in which private actors own and control property in accord with their interests, and demand and supply freely set prices in markets in a way that can serve the best interests of society. There is no centralized planning in capitalism by governments. Nevertheless, in modern times, governments do exercise some level of control.

The essential feature of capitalism is the motive to make a profit. In a capitalist economy, capital assets—such as factories, mines, and railroads—can be privately owned and controlled, labor is purchased for money wages, capital gains accrue to private owners, and prices allocate resources, which naturally seek the highest reward, not only for goods and services but for wages as well.  (International Monetary Fund, Economic Times)
Common GoodA common good is anything (material, cultural, institutional, etc.) that is available and accessible to everyone in a society and benefits that given society. In this report, there is discussion about the need to advocate for dance as a common good.
Community OrganizingIn this context, community organizing is the coordination of cooperative efforts carried out by members of the dance industry to come to shared goals and thereby promote the interests of their community. Through community organizing and campaigning, the dance industry may lobby for legislative action or engage in advocacy.
Dance MakerPeople who make or facilitate the making and sharing of dance work, including dancers, choreographers, administrators, etc.
Dance WorkerAn individual whose livelihood and/or identity intersects with or relates to dance within the New York City metropolitan area. Dance/NYC embraces an inclusive definition of “dance worker” that recognizes the many roles and positions that are essential to making dance work happen. These include: dancers, choreographers, and directors; dance teachers and studio personnel; dance presenters and producers; musicians and accompanists; photographers and videographers; lighting, costume, and scenic designers; stage managers and production professionals; writers, journalists, critics, and dramaturgs; researchers, scholars, educators, and academics; wellness providers and practitioners; managers, agents, and publicists; and dance administrators and service providers.
DisabilityThe terms “disability” and disabled as markers for identification and membership within a specific group—connected by social, political, and cultural experiences—and not intended to assign medical significance. The social model of disability defines it as a socially constructed experience that identifies systemic barriers, negative attitudes, and exclusion by society (purposely or inadvertently) as contributory factors in disabling people. The social model promotes the notion that while physical, sensory, intellectual, or psychological variations may cause individual functional limitation or impairments, these lead to disability only if society fails to take account of and include people regardless of their individual differences. The social model further recognizes disability as a community and a culture. The use of language follows movements in disability studies and disability rights, discussed in detail in Simi Linton’s seminal Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. Further, this research encompasses all impairments—mobility and physical, sensory, intellectual, cognitive or learning, and psychological, whether readily apparent or not.
Entity or Organized EntityDance/NYC aims to be inclusive of all entities with a primary focus on the creation and/or performance of dance. For this study, “organized entities” refers to dance organizations, businesses, groups, and projects regardless of fiscal or legal structure. Organized entities include sole proprietors, as they are technically operating themselves and their work as a business.
EquityEquity is a process of eliminating disparities so all people can have the same outcomes. It is the intentional and continual practice of changing policies, procedures, systems, and structures by prioritizing measurable change especially in the lives of underinvested and marginalized populations and communities. (Adapted from Race Forward
Fiscal SponsorshipFiscal sponsorship is a formal arrangement in which a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization/public charity provides oversight to an entity (including sole proprietors) that does not have its own nonprofit status. Sponsored individuals and projects are eligible to solicit and receive grants and tax-deductible contributions that are normally available only to 501(c)(3) organizations. Only recently have some grant-making entities provided eligibility for fiscally sponsored projects. Fiscal sponsorship is not a business structure and any “fiscally sponsored individual or entity” must also utilize another business structure for its operations.
Fiscal YearA fiscal year is a 12-month accounting period that an entity uses for financial and tax-reporting purposes. For example, many nonprofit organizations use a fiscal year that either aligns with the calendar year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) or is offset from the calendar year (e.g., July 1 to June 30).
Full-Time WorkerAccording to the Internal Revenue Service, for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions, a full-time employee is, for a calendar month, an employee employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week, or 130 hours of service per month. Most businesses define a full-time employee as an employee who works 35 or more hours per week.
Gig Work / Gig EconomyThe gig economy is a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. Gig work can be defined in many ways depending on perspective. For example, by work arrangement, legal classification or nature of work ( For this research, we consider gig work to be any freelance work outside of a long-term or open-ended employer/employee relationship. In dance, many workers engage in gig work both within and outside of the dance industry.
ImmigrantThe term immigrant is broadly defined in the U.S. by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as “Any person lawfully in the United States who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or person admitted under a nonimmigrant category as defined by the INA Section 101(a)(15),” and is the common referent for permanent resident aliens ( Dance/NYC’s use of the term “immigrant,” allows individuals to self-identify as immigrants regardless of their classification by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and includes people who are foreign-born and their descendants.
InclusionAuthentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power. (OpenSource Leadership Strategies)
IntegralSomething that is integral is essential, fundamental, and necessary to make a whole complete.
InterdependentInterdependent is derived from words that mean “among, between,” and “to hang from, be dependent on.” When things are interdependent, they have a sense of dependency between them.
JusticeSystematic fair treatment of people that results in equitable opportunities and outcomes for everyone. In the case of dance, it refers to combating white supremacy and structures of power inherent in dance making and dance giving, including racism, ableism, xenophobia, among others, and the inequitable distribution of resources, which leads to undervalued and under-resourced dance communities. Dance/NYC shifted to this term and away from “diversity” in the DEI initialism to acknowledge the harms and injustices that led to how the field operates today. (Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide, Annie E. Casey Foundation,
LegislationLegislation refers to the preparation and enactment of laws by a legislative body (e.g., a federal or state senate, city council, etc.) through its law-making process. The legislative process includes evaluating, amending, and voting on proposed laws and is concerned with the words used in a bill to communicate the values, judgments, and purposes of the proposal.
LGBTQIA+The term LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and additional identities. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Living WageA living wage is what one full-time worker must earn on an hourly basis to help cover the cost of their or their family’s minimum basic needs where they live while still being self-sufficient. The MIT Living Wage Calculator was used for this analysis and is referenced as such within these report components. (
LobbyingLobbying is the deliberate and organized effort to influence government officials, typically legislators, with the aim of shaping their decisions, policies, or legislation in alignment with the interests, concerns, or objectives of a particular group, organization, or industry. This can involve a range of activities, including advocacy, providing information, and building relationships, all aimed at shaping the direction of government actions and decisions in favor of the lobbyist’s agenda.
Part-Time WorkerWhile full-time workers typically work more than 30–35 hours per week, part-time workers regularly work less than 30–35 hours per week on a regular basis and set schedule.
ReparationsThe International Center for Transitional Justice offers that, “reparations are meant to acknowledge and repair the causes and consequences of human rights violations and inequality in countries emerging from dictatorship, armed conflict, and political violence, as well as in societies dealing with racial injustice and legacies of colonization.” In the U.S., the movement for reparations to be offered to Black people and the descendants of enslaved Africans, in addition to the ongoing call for Indigenous sovereignty and reparations to be offered to Indigenous communities, has built momentum with the resurgence of Black Lives Matter in 2020. This should not be confused with the literal definition of reparations which refers generally to the making of amends for a wrong that one has done. Dance/NYC is deepening its learning in this area and is reflecting on its role in the reparations movement. Read more about reparations on Dance/NYC’s Racial Justice Resources Page (Dance.NYC/for-artists/resource-pages/RacialJusticeResources).
Sole Proprietorship or Sole ProprietorAccording to the Internal Revenue Service, this is an unincorporated business that has just one owner who pays personal income tax on profits earned from the business. There is no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity. A sole proprietor does not necessarily work alone and may employ other people. By default, the IRS considers a single-member limited liability company as a “disregarded entity,” meaning there is no separation between the business and its owner.
SustainabilityAnother term that is defined in multiple ways, “sustainability” by definition is the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. This research refers to sustainability in terms of people and entities. For dance workers, sustainability refers to their ability to maintain a basic quality of life and access basic necessities. For entities, sustainability refers to financial health and ongoing operations that are breaking even or resulting in surplus over time such that the entity is able to continue operating.
ThrivabilityThrivability is the act of thriving or prospering beyond survival and sustainability. (
White Supremacy“White supremacy [is] a descriptive term and useful term to capture the all-encompassing centrality and assumed superiority of people defined and perceived as white, and the practices based on this assumption. White supremacy, in this context, does not refer to individual white people and their individual intentions or actions but to an overarching political, economic and social system of domination.” (“White Fragility,” Robin DiAngelo. 2018.