The service organization Dance/NYC has announced the 20 recipients of the second iteration of the New York City Dance Rehearsal Space Subsidy Program (RSS), made possible by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation. The purpose of the program is to make affordable rehearsal space available to dance makers who are in critical need of space for the creation and development of their work, while also fostering a more inclusive and just dance field. By addressing financial barriers to accessing artistic development space, this program aims to advance dance artistry in the five boroughs of New York City and contribute to the field’s overall diversity, sustainability, resilience, and health. While dance rehearsal space facilities are the direct recipients of funding, individual dance artists and dance making organizations are the primary intended beneficiaries of the program. Through the program, dance artists and small budget dance making organizations/groups will have access to affordable, accessible rehearsal spaces in all five boroughs of New York City at rates ranging from $5-$10 per hour.
This iteration of the RSS Program, its components, and continued evolution is a reflection of ongoing learning and dialogue with previous RSS grantees, artists who utilized subsidized space offered through the program, field partners, Dance/NYC’s task forces and committees, and Dance/NYC’s ongoing research; research related to the broad landscape of dance rehearsal space and expertise in the development and operation of cultural space; and the current events impacting the field.
Each grantee will receive grant funds to provide subsidized dance rehearsal space throughout the course of the grant period (May 1, 2022-December 31, 2024); fees to support administrative costs to run the program; in-kind marketing, communications, and outreach annually through Dance/NYC platforms; and professional development support in the form of grantee cohort meetings and annual site visits to drive individual and collective learning about artists’ needs and the landscape of dance rehearsal space in NYC.
Dance/NYC’s New York City Rehearsal Space Subsidy Program has provided $1,760,500 between 2019-2021 to 16 grantees to collectively provide subsidized rates for over 65,000 hours of dance rehearsal space across the five boroughs of New York City. As Dance/NYC moves into the second iteration of the program, it will distribute over $2 million over the course of the grant period (2022-2024) to 20 rehearsal spaces to provide subsidized rates for dance rehearsal space.
Throughout the three phases of the application process Dance/NYC remained committed to several key program goals. One such goal was to prioritize and center the experiences and input of individual dance artists at every level of decision making, beyond ensuring that artists and organizations have easy access to affordable and accessible rehearsal spaces.
In the first phase of the process, artists were invited to nominate spaces they already know, and those venues were invited for participation in the Expression of Interest phase. A review panel of individual dance artists and workers across the sector evaluated the expressions of interest and determined which applicants advanced to the full application phase which was again evaluated by a panel of artists.
Another key goal was to create the greatest material benefit and tend to the impact of participation in the program. Venues which participated in the full application process received an application honorarium of $2,500 to offset the costs of completing an application, and substantive technical assistance options were provided to all applicants, inclusive of on-site visits and one-on-one sessions with the program consultant for support in completing key components of the application. Finally, the review panelists, together with Dance/NYC, identified a final grantee pool that collectively increases equity in the distribution of subsidized hours in terms of geography, dance genres, budget sizes, and the demographics of the artists served.
“Across our grantmaking programs, Dance/NYC seeks to identify and provide resources that collectively support dance makers and their ability to thrive,” said Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director, Dance/NYC. “We recognize that affordable, accessible rehearsal space is an essential resource for the creation and development of dance works, and, through this Program, we seek to ensure that dance artists and organizations across genres, budget sizes, and demographics have equitable access to this foundational resource.”
• Abrons Arts Center, Henry Street Settlement
• Ballet Hispánico
• Dance Theatre of Harlem
• Fourth Arts Block
• Gibney Dance
• Movement Research
• National Dance Institute
• New York Live Arts
• Open Jar Studios
• PMT House of Dance
The 20 grantees include thirteen (13) returning grantees from the first iteration of the program, seven (7) new applicants, seventeen (17) 501(c)3 groups, and three (3) for-profit groups. There will be 69,615 total subsidized hours over the three-year grant period, comprising 1,500 in each of the Bronx and Staten Island, 9,000 in Queens, 19,500 in Brooklyn, and 38,115 in Manhattan (including 2,600 in Mid Manhattan, 7,200 in Upper Manhattan, and 28,315 in Lower Manhattan). The 20 grantees include representatives from all five boroughs of New York City: The Bronx (1), Brooklyn (5), Manhattan (11), Queens (2), and Staten Island (1). Grantee entities are majority ALAANA-led (15 of 20), and include majority women-identifying and gender nonconforming/nonbinary/genderqueer and transgender led (16 of 20), majority immigrant led (11 of 20), one (1) with disabled leadership, and nine (9) with LGBTQIA+ leadership.
These grantees were selected by a review panel of dance artists and workers across the sector, including members of Dance/NYC’s task forces and committees. Additional information on the review process, including the list of review panelists, can be found by visiting Dance.NYC. Consultancy support for the Program was provided by Carrie Blake of Webb Mgmt.
Dance/NYC’s mission is to promote the knowledge, appreciation, practice, and performance of dance in the metropolitan New York City area. It embeds values of justice, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of the organization.
The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.
Webb Mgmt’s mission is to advance the arts with sound planning and research. The firm is a leading provider of advisory services for the development and operation of cultural facilities, organizations, agencies, and districts. Our clients include public agencies, colleges and universities, nonprofit arts organizations, community and private foundations, commercial developers, economic development agencies, and various friends of the arts.