Disability. Dance. Artistry.: Dance/NYC

Organization Name: Dance/NYC

City: New York

Program Name: Disability. Dance. Artistry.

Time of Program: New and expanded online resources will continue to be available at Dance.NYC, including a Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance Maker Directory and list of service organizations and government entities that provide the most up-to-date and useful resources at the intersection of disability and dance in NYC. Visit Dance.NYC/equity/disability/resources.

Program Length: New and expanded online resources will continue to be available at Dance.NYC, including a Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance Maker Directory and list of service organizations and government entities that provide the most up-to-date and useful resources at the intersection of disability and dance in NYC. Visit Dance.NYC/equity/disability/resources.

Program When Elaborate: The program coincided with the performances and activities of the six integrated and disability dance artists and companies who were supported by Dance/NYC’s Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund, made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation. Dance/NYC provided marketing and communications support leading up to each company’s performance. The NEW YORKERS FOR DANCE video campaign was launched in July 2018 during Disability Pride Month, and online resources are continuously available on the Dance.NYC website.

Goal: To create an experience where audiences can critically connect with disability arts and disabled artists, and learn how to become advocates for integrated and disability dance artistry. To support new content developed by disabled artists for disabled audiences. To foster collective learning among integrated and disability dance artistry companies. To increase engagement of disabled audiences for NYC dance and of all audiences for integrated and disability dance artistry productions in NYC.

Time of Year Offered: New and expanded online resources will continue to be available at Dance.NYC, including a Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance Maker Directory and list of service organizations and government entities that provide the most up-to-date and useful resources at the intersection of disability and dance in NYC. Visit Dance.NYC/equity/disability/resources.

Program Description:

The Disability. Dance. Artistry. Initiative aims to advance inclusion and access to the art form for disabled people. As a part of the initiative, Dance/NYC administered the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund, made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation, to generate dance making and performance by and with disabled artists in the New York City metropolitan area. The Fund support six integrated and disability dance productions by Heidi Latsky Dance, Dancing Wheels Company & School, Full Radius Dance, Jess Curtis and Claire Cunningham, AXIS Dance Company, and Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light.

Dance/NYC’s Engaging Dance Audiences program established peer-to-peer practices:
1) Online marketing support for the six companies on the Dance.NYC website, the go-to resource for New York City artists;
2) Disability. Dance, Artistry. Dance Maker Directory featuring integrated and disability dance artists and companies at Dance.NYC;
3) NEW YORKERS FOR DANCE video campaign, where artists and audiences share statements on why disability dance artistry matters to them in 30-second to 2-minute advocacy videos (YouTube.com/DanceNYCorg).

These practices were not only about increasing visibility and advancing the artistry of the companies, but also about expanding ways in which audiences could engage with the art form, by providing resources to deepen their knowledge and appreciation.

Number of Participants: Audiences for the performances by the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund grantees ranged from approximately 100 to nearly 7,000. The marketing for these artists reached a large group (estimated ad reach: 3,185,523; estimated ad engagement: 2,567), and the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance Maker Directory was viewed over 1,000 times. The NEW YORKERS FOR DANCE video campaign featured more than 30 statements, including 28 videos produced by Dance/NYC and 7 community submissions, and have nearly 3,000 combined views on YouTube.

Target Audience: Audiences, educators, patrons, and advocates for integrated and disability dance artistry, both disabled and nondisabled.

Private/Public Public

Nature of Audience Engagement: The audience can deepen their knowledge and appreciation of integrated and disability dance artistry through online resources, including the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance Maker Directory, which provides information on performances, workshops, trainings, and more, as well as interactive commenting functionalities to connect with dance makers, and the NEW YORKERS FOR DANCE video campaign, in which audiences created and submitted their own content.

Location: New York City metropolitan area

How Many Staff: 5 staff members who liaised with the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund grantees, developed online resources, promoted and advertised content through the Dance.NYC website and social media, coordinated the NEW YORKERS FOR DANCE video campaign for Disability Pride Month, and conducted peripheral research and convening.

Marketing for Program: Audiences are encouraged to participate through Dance/NYC’s online marketing, communications, and social media as well as the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Network, a dedicated community comprised of 1000+ members for promoting integrated and disability dance artistry. Learn more and join the DDA Network at Dance.NYC/equity/disability/network.

Cost for Program Participants: Free

Attendance To Date: Audiences for the performances by the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund grantees ranged from approximately 100 to nearly 7,000. The marketing for these artists reached a large group (estimated ad reach: 3,185,523; estimated ad engagement: 2,567), and the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance Maker Directory was viewed over 1,000 times. The NEW YORKERS FOR DANCE video campaign featured more than 30 statements, including 28 videos produced by Dance/NYC and 7 community submissions, and have nearly 3,000 combined views on YouTube.

Past Iterations: There were six productions by the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund grantees, as well as additional coinciding workshops, trainings, town hall conversations, and more.

What works? Dance/NYC’s centralized online marketing was a first step to building a community of artists, audiences, and advocates for integrated and disability dance artistry. Dance/NYC leveraged its online platforms, including the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Network, an audience list of disabled New Yorkers and allies. Approximately 275 people signed up for this list during the grant period. Dance/NYC secured 14 new profiles in its Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance Maker Directory, which now includes more than 20 disabled artists and integrated dance companies. The Directory addresses a gap in the visibility of and knowledge about these artists by centralizing artist-generated listings that include contact information and accessible multimedia content. Dance/NYC also found new partnership opportunities. For example, A Plus (aplus.com) contacted Dance/NYC to connect with disabled dancers, which resulted in a National Dance Day social media feature on 3 company members from Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund grantee Heidi Latsky Dance. For all grantees, Dance/NYC programmed adjacent town hall conversations that examined the needs, opportunities, challenges, and journey of each grantee’s relationship with their presenter. Critically, conversations meaningfully connected grantees to their audiences, before or after their performances, and cultivated new audiences through expanded public visibility. The series highlighted Dance/NYC’s role as an advocacy organization that is well positioned to bridge the gap between disabled artists and their presenters, and to hold these presenters accountable. Dance/NYC extended its successful NEW YORKERS FOR DANCE video campaign, credited by The New York Times with “Bringing New York City Dance into the Limelight,” by producing and promoting 28 statements featuring New Yorkers who are integrated and disability dance artistry creators, performers, advocates, educators, and audiences. This time, Dance/NYC also developed protocol and experimented with encouraging audiences to submit their own videos. The montage video included community-generated statements as an advocacy and tool during Disability Pride Month.

What doesn't work? Because not all artists and companies are the same, their opportunities and challenges varied greatly depending on their location, networks, presenter relationships, and more. For example, grantees who were already more established in New York City generally chose to engage less with the pro bono marketing that Dance/NYC offered. Critical audience engagement should take into account these nuances in order to adapt and re-evaluate how to use existing audience engagement tools. Although the NEW YORKERS FOR DANCE video campaign successfully brings visibility to integrate and disability dance artistry, it does not fully reflect the complexities of the subject. Making time and space for more in-depth conversation and coalition building can extend the impact of the video campaign. Dance/NYC acknowledges that online marketing is not sufficient in building sustainable, diverse audiences for integrated and disability dance artistry. It is, however, a necessary component that must continue at a minimum. Dance/NYC will expand its Disability. Dance. Artistry. Network and Dance Maker Directory and will continue to advocate for presenters, curators, funders, and audiences to experience integrated and disability dance artistry.

Performances Where Offered: Because Dance/NYC is not a presenting or performing group, it leveraged its role as an advocacy and service organization to provide programmatic offerings that complemented the performances of the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund grantees, thereby increasing their visibility and driving a collective movement to advance the art form of integrated and disability dance artistry. In this way, Dance/NYC’s program was positioned to bridge the gap between disabled artists and their presenters, and to hold these presenters accountable.

Past Research on Program: Yes, Dance/NYC produced a comprehensive research report meant to increase knowledge about dance made by disabled artists, performed by disabled artists, and rooted in disability culture and aesthetics, in and beyond the New York City metropolitan area. It shares findings and provides action-oriented recommendations based on the experiences of the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund grantees, including attention to audience literacy in disability arts and innovating in the use of disability access features at every level of dance production to create new entry points for artists and audiences, disabled and nondisabled. Visit Dance.NYC/PerformingDDA18.

Continuing Program? Yes, Dance/NYC plans to implement these audience engagement tools as organizational practices that are replicable and applicable across its programs.


Target Audiences General Audiences

Dance 101 Participation - attending performances

Online Engagement Both online and in person