Dance/NYC and Gibney Publish Digital Toolkit: Reopening Dance in NYC

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Michelle Tabnick
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Things to do near New York, NY » Art » Performing-Arts

Dance/NYC and Gibney have launched Reopening Dance in NYC (, a digital toolkit that aims to support the planning process that the dance industry faces while it works toward its eventual reopening. To ensure the highest level of safety for all dance workers, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses, the toolkit has been developed from New York State, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance and in collaboration with public health, medical, and legal experts over the past eight months. The release of this toolkit coincides with the launch of Open Culture, a program that marks progress toward the industry's anticipated reopening and will bring the arts safely to the streets following the Open Street model. Reopening Dance in NYC will be updated on an ongoing basis as changes warrant to reflect government guidance, COVID-19 information, and industry-wide input.


New York State and City have established reopening guidelines for various industries, however that guidance does not extend to the highly specialized dance industry. Reopening Dance in NYC provides a framework including Standard Recommendations for Dance, which directly adapt existing guidance, such as the guidelines for Gyms & Fitness Centers and Sports & Recreation activities as outlined by the New York State Department of Health. Additional considerations for dance industry-specific scenarios-ranging from independent dance workers and dance companies, to rental and class-focused studios, to presenting venues and more-are offered based on crowdsourced input from the dance industry. Moreover, the digital toolkit aggregates much-needed information through a glossary, an FAQ page, extensive resources, and downloadable posters and templates.


"With the release of this toolkit in support of the dance industry's efforts to work toward safe reopening,, Dance/NYC is underscoring our mission to promote the practice and performance of dance in NYC. For some members of the sector, reopening is not possible or practical. However, we recognize that in order for many organizations to survive, reopening safely is a necessity. In close collaboration with Gibney, we have created a framework to give the sector tools to navigate their decision-making process and to do so in a spirit of reciprocity, collaboration, and calculated risk.The dance industry-and performing arts as a whole-has been hugely impacted by this crisis, especially hyperlocal as well as culturally-specific and/or BIPOC-led organizations and arts workers. With this digital toolkit, we propose ways forward for our community." Alejandra Duque Cifuentes - Executive Director of Dance/NYC.


"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our industry. When we come together again-in studios, on stages, or as audience members-it is crucial that we ensure the safety of our community as well as the general public. Artists and organizations have faced unique decisions, pressure, and inequities over the past 11 months. It is my hope that this toolkit offers support as we collectively navigate our plans and paths toward reopening. I am grateful for the field-wide collaboration this toolkit represents, and the continued partnership of Dance/NYC and their dedication to dance in New York." Gina Gibney - Founder, Artistic Director & CEO of Gibney.


Dance/NYC and Gibney are uniquely suited to collate these resources. Dance/NYC brings its expertise in the areas of advocacy, research, and its field-wide network. Gibney offers its lens as a two-location dance studio, commercial and non-profit rental space, presenter, training hub, professional dance company, and employer navigating its own reopening plans. Additional input was provided by various medical, legal, and field-wide advisors. The full and growing list collaborators can be found here. The dance community is encouraged to help build upon the toolkit's scenarios and resources by contacting


Dance/NYC and Gibney believe the dance industry must itself be just, equitable, and inclusive to meaningfully contribute to social progress and envision a dance ecology wherein power, funding, opportunities, conduct, and impacts are fair for all artists, cultural workers, and audiences. Reopening Dance in NYC aims to ensure that all organizations, businesses and companies have access to vital information to keep their communities safe. Dance/NYC and Gibney request that users of the toolkit are guided by a commitment to justice, equity and inclusion and act in the best interest and wellbeing of the communities they serve.

As the leading service organization for dance in New York City, Dance/NYC continues to partner with members across the field to advocate for the creation and issuance of Interim New York State Guidance for Dance & the Performing Arts during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The Standard Recommendations for Dance were created with these advocacy efforts in mind and will offer policymakers an industry-wide framework to consider for the safe return of dance activity.

About Dance/NYC
Dance/NYC's mission to promote and encourage the knowledge, appreciation, practice, and performance of dance in the metropolitan New York City area. It embeds core values of justice, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of its programs and operations.

About Gibney
Gibney's mission is to tap into the vast potential of movement, creativity, and performance to effect social change and personal transformation. Gibney serves the performing arts community through three fields of action: its innovative contemporary dance company of Artistic Associates who perform works by renowned and rising choreographers, its essential and impactful community initiatives that use art as means to prevent and move beyond violence, and its two vibrant performing arts centers featuring studio, performance, gallery, digital media, and community space.

Disclaimer & Code of Conduct

This digital toolkit and its reopening recommendations are intended to be used as one input, among many, and are not intended to take the place of medical or legal advice. Neither Dance/NYC nor Gibney endorses or encourages anyone in the dance sector to reopen without government mandate, fully developed and personalized reopening plans, and the implementation of such plans. Each organization or artist is responsible for making their own informed decision about how to safely move forward. It is vital to acknowledge that any considerations around working in and through this public health pandemic must occur alongside a recognition of the ramifications on various communities. This pandemic has revealed in new ways how issues of healthcare, access to resources and safety nets and the presumption of safety in public space occurs inequitably for many, specifically those who are in low-income communities, those who are chronically ill, disabled, immunocompromised, immigrants, Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x, Asian/ AAPI, MENA or elders and those who are on the frontlines for their livelihoods.  Dance/NYC and Gibney request that users of the framework are guided by a commitment to justice, equity and inclusion and act in the best interest and wellbeing of the communities you serve. #ReopeningDanceInNYC #ArtistsAreNecessaryWorkers #NewYorkersForDance

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