Dance/NYC Report: Advancing Immigrants. Dance. Arts.
(New York, NY) – The service organization Dance/NYC is pleased to announce the release of its latest research report, Advancing Immigrants. Dance. Arts., a qualitative analysis prepared in collaboration with the organization’s Immigrants. Dance. Arts. (IDA) Task Force.
With leadership support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the study extends generations of work by artists, activists, and academics, and responds directly to Dance/NYC’s quantitative research studies Immigrants. Dance. Arts.: Data on NYC Dance (2018) and New York City’s Foreign-Born Dance Workforce Demographics (2018). It is the third research deliverable of Dance/NYC’s Immigrants. Dance. Arts. Initiative aimed at fostering the inclusion, integration, and human rights of immigrants in the New York City area.
The new study is grounded in voices of dance artists and cultural workers who self-identify as immigrants and are underrepresented in existing data. Information was collected directly through a field-wide survey; conversations between participants and audiences during Dance/NYC’s Immigrants. Dance. Arts. Conference; the organization’s IDA Task Force, and a volume of commissioned essays by immigrant dance artists and cultural workers who offer reflections and recommendations based on the research findings, as well as their own personal experiences.
“Everyone can participate in advancing immigrant dance artists and cultural workers,” says Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director of Dance/NYC. “The findings in the report encourage local, national and international dialogue across arts and culture and point to the need for iterative inquiry and application. All of the recommendations rely on the comprehensive understanding and intentional inclusion of immigrant artists, cultural workers and audiences at every level.”
The findings suggest key opportunities for the dance community; call for investing in immigrant artists, audiences, and cultural workers; and demand expressly, equitably, and continuously including immigrant rights among diversity, equity, and inclusion matters throughout the sector. Across every issue area—funding, access to resources, education and mentorship, audience development, and community engagement—the immigrant workforce studied articulated a need for sustained support and investment.
Most notably, the immigrant dance workforce studied explicitly named the role that racism and bias play in their experiences, encouraging the application of intersectional and racially explicit frameworks to programs for and by immigrant artists, and presenting a call to action for stakeholders across dance to examine the manifestation of systems of oppression in their internal operations and external programs. Highlights from the report can be found by visiting Dance.NYC/IDAData2019.
“Dance/NYC has a long history of working to ensure that the dance community reflects the diversity of all those who call New York City home – the natives and the newcomers,” says Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. “This report is the latest in a series of significant Dance/NYC research and advocacy initiatives raising questions that must be addressed in order to create equity for all within dance. The artistry of immigrants contribute so much to our international city, and now thanks to this report we have a better picture of who makes up this community.”
“Though several of the stated concerns of immigrant dance artists are common to many New Yorkers – such as affordability – it’s also important to understand how we in the cultural sector can better address the needs unique to this group. This includes improving access to resources and information, as well as helping cultural organizations to support the creativity and the rights of undocumented dancers. The intersectional approach taken in this research – incorporating conversations on race, disability, age, and sexual orientation – provides an even greater set of opportunities to actively lift up the artistry of New Yorkers from all across the globe, which in turn lifts up the rigor and integrity of dance itself.”
“Dance artistry plays such an important role within our city—from preserving and celebrating the diversity of ever-growing dance genres to sparking conversations about critical human rights and social justice issues,” says Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “As highlighted in this Dance/NYC report, there are many ways that organizations and agencies can continue to improve the equity and inclusivity of immigrants in dance by providing opportunities to all, regardless of immigration status. I commend these actions as an important step towards the elimination of inequities that impact our immigrant communities.”
The report offers specific recommendations for various groups — dance makers and companies, public agencies and institutional funders, educational institutions, and the service sector to achieve the following:
• Strengthen dance making by supporting immigrant artists and organizations
• Build dance education programs for immigrant students, particularly in the public schools
• Engage immigrant audiences and audiences for immigrant artists, organizations, and programs
• Grow and nurture the careers of immigrant artists and cultural workers
• Showcase dance artistry that illuminates the immigrant experience