Dance/USA Statement In Support of a Healthy, Safe, and Equitable Culture

December 12, 2017

Contact: Johanna Tschebull

Professional dance, like any other industry in our society, must reckon with the dynamics of power, the challenges of interpersonal communication, and the impact of systemic inequities. Power can be  abused and inappropriate or disrespectful behavior can harm individuals’ ability to thrive.  Furthermore, abuse of power, bullying, and harassment can impact all people regardless of gender, identity, ability, race, age, or sexual orientation. Anyone can be an offender or a victim.

As awareness of the extent and effects of sexual harassment in the arts and other fields has been raised in our country, a cultural shift is underway to decry the silence and impunity that has for too long enabled misuses of power. As a national service organization for dance, it is our responsibility to promote healthy and safe working environments in our field and to support the cultural movement towards a more equitable future.

We challenge and commit ourselves to celebrating our art form of physical expression while ensuring our field is a safe and equitable place for all.

This is an opportunity for everyone in the dance field to audit themselves and their organizations and ask: Is the culture in my dance environment healthy? Are individuals who need to speak up empowered and given a supportive path to do so? Is everyone, in all levels and positions, educated about what behavior is inappropriate and about what constitutes an equitable workplace? Are the individuals in power respectful of everyone around them? None of us should be exempt from honestly conducting this personal evaluation.

To support the dance field during this time of national cultural change, dance service organizations are coming together in solidarity. Together, we commit to advocate for healthy organizational environments that do not tolerate harassment of any kind or abuse of power. United, we champion a just and equitable culture where individuals have supportive pathways to speak up.

By signing on to this statement, we agree to:

  • Advocate for a culture that is safe and equitable for all individuals and is intolerant of harassment of any kind or abuse of power
  • Ensure our own organizations put in place and enforce healthy and equitable policies and procedures
  • Provide resources, information, and/or education to the dance field, as appropriate, to promote safe and equitable work environments for all individuals in our field

Alabama Dance Council; Birmingham, AL
American College Dance Association; Rockville, MD
American Tap Dance Foundation; New York, NY
Audience Architects; Chicago, IL
Boston Dance Alliance; Boston, MA
Dance/NYC; New York, NY
Dance/USA; Washington, DC
Dance Bridge with the City of Boulder Office of Arts + Culture; Boulder, CO
Dance Metro DC; Washington, DC
Dance Resource Center; Los Angeles, CA
Dance Source Houston; Houston, TX
Dance Wire; Portland, OR
Dancers’ Group; San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Destiny Arts Center; Oakland, CA
National Dance Education Organization; Silver Spring, MD
New England Foundation for the Arts; Boston, MA
OhioDance; Columbus, OH
Pentacle; New York, NY
Resources for Dancers at The Actors Fund, supporting dancers nationally, with headquarters in New York, NY
The Dance Complex; Cambridge, MA
The International Association of Blacks in Dance, Inc.; Washington, D.C. 

(Find resources on harassment in the workplace on the Dance/USA website here.)

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