Dance. Workforce. Resilience. Initiative

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The Dance. Workforce. Resilience. (DWR) Initiative aims to address economic inequity and strengthen the dance ecology by directly serving individual dance workers, dance organizations, fiscally sponsored groups and projects, and nonprofit and for-profit dance entities. The Initiative will build an infrastructure of partnerships, cross-sector support, and accountability to reduce the gap between dance workers and the resources they need to thrive.

While dance workers contribute significantly to New York City’s creative economy, the dance workforce is the least unionized and least labor protected group of arts workers. Dance workers cannot be left behind in the decisions that affect their lives and impact NYC’s cultural community. A sustainable, resilient, and thriving dance workforce in New York City would include new wage standards for dance workers across their roles in the field; shared best practices for hiring dancer workers in ways that address systemic inequities and accessibility; and employment opportunities that provide dignified, living wages and benefits to the workforce, including health insurance and benefits. 

The DWR Initiative will equip individual dance workers in the New York City metropolitan area with the principles, practices, and resources to address issues of financial inequality (low wages, inconsistent pay, unfair contracts, etc.) that too often prevent dance workers from reaching their full creative potential. The first phase of the Initiative will focus on the dissemination, collection, and analysis of research, while the second phase will focus on implementation based on its findings. 

Initiative Timeline

A timeline. Graphic one text: July 2022-March 2023: Data collection period via Dance Industry Census & Roundtable Discussion SeriesA timeline. Graphic two text: April–July 2023: Data analysis period  + consultation with industry stakeholders & DWR Task Force  on recommended solutions for the field in response to research findings. An arrow indicates WE ARE HEREA timeline. Graphic three text: August– October 2023: State of NYC Dance  Research Report writing periodA timeline. Graphic four text: November– December 2023: Report publishing + convening to present findings & recommendations.A timeline. Graphic five text: 2024 and beyond: Development & dissemination of resources, tools & learnings to address workforce issues.

Dance/NYC’s Dance. Workforce. Resilience. Initiative is made possible, in part, by leadership support from the Mellon Foundation, New York Community Trust, Doris Duke Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and a coalition of general operating support funders, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment of the Arts.

Mellon Foundation Logo The New York Community Trust Logo
Doris Duke Foundation Logo Mertz Gilmore Foundation Logo
New York State Council on the Arts Logo National Endowment for the Arts Logo NYC Cultural Affairs Logo
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