What Dancers Need to Know About the New Health Insurance Exchanges

By Alexander Thompson

On October 1st, in spite of the government shutdown, the most significant aspect of the Affordable Care Act (affectionately or disdainfully referred to as Obamacare depending on whether you support it or are against it) went into effect: the health insurance online market exchanges. These are online marketplaces where Americans can now shop for health insurance (they have been referred to as Orbitz for health insurance). But what does this all mean and what do you have to do?

denae Photo by Denae Hannah

The most important thing to know is that you will have to have health insurance by March 31st, 2014 or you will pay a penalty (either $95 or 1% of your income, whichever is higher – note that this will increase to $695 or 2.5% of your income in 2016). Continue reading

Dance Ambassadorship

By: Erica Frankel, Marisa Ballaro, Alexander Leslie Thompson, Alexandra Sasha Pinel, Mercedes Searer

This year, with an eye towards engaging communities outside of dance, the Dance/NYC Junior Committee has established a think tank to consider relationship-based engagement with non-dance peers. Our goal is to harness the passion of our colleagues in the field in order to build  dialogue about dance outside the confines of the dance community. Ultimately, we see one-to-one engagement as a way to strengthen the field, and we hope to train a cohort of dance ambassadors who can advocate for dance in their everyday lives.

We recently sat down for an initial gathering to discuss engagement anecdotes from our own lives in order to get closer to best practices. We realized that sometimes “engageable moments” happen when you least expect them, like when a stranger next to you on a bus introduces themselves. Others are less unexpected, like conversations about the rehearsal you just came from with your close friend or your partner. Sometimes they are planned, like when you take someone who’s not a regular audience member to see a dance performance.

At this meeting we all acknowledged that talking about dance with people outside of the dance community is really, really hard to do, and that that must mean that it is really, really worthwhile. Below are just a few of the challenges we’ve considered in our early conversations. Continue reading

Apply to Serve on the 2013-2014 Junior Committee!

We are thrilled to announce that we have formally opened applications for the Dance/NYC Junior Committee for next year! Please see our Apply page to learn more about what we’re looking for, what membership on the Committee looks like, and to apply!

Applications will be accepted through May 15th, 2013 for the coming year.

Finalists will be notified in the following weeks & interviewed, and acceptances will be made by the beginning of July. The new committee will meet for summer planning sessions later that month and will convene for its first meeting of the year in August.

Apply here!

If you have questions, please direct them to members Erica Frankel at ewf@ericafrankel.com & Amy Jacobus at amynjacobus@gmail.com.

We look forward to your application!

How Can Social Media and Other Technologies Increase Participation in the Arts?


Junior Committee member Alejandra Iannone delivers testimony to the Committee on Cultural Affairs. Thanks to all Junior Committee members who worked to generate and deliver this testimony.


Testimony to the Committees on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup and Technology on Oversight: How Can Social Media and Other Technologies Increase Participation in the Arts?—December 14, 2012

As representatives of the Dance/NYC Junior Committee of dance workers ages 21-35, we submit testimony on behalf of our peers, of the service entity Dance/NYC, and of the wider local dance field—more than 1,200 dancemakers strong. 

Our goal today is to highlight the importance of social media and other technologies in increasing participation in dance and to encourage continued inter-agency collaboration in the advancement of technology for use in our discipline and arts-wide. 

Technology and social media can increase the bottom line. Our City’s dancemakers are working entrepreneurially to put new crowdfunding tools (e.g., Artspire, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub, USA Projects) to use. In response to a Dance/NYC town hall, “Kickstarting NYC Dance,” the Washington Post published “Dance is Kickstarter’s Most Successful Category,” applauding “funders and dance advocates [for] paying attention.” A Dance/NYC Twitter campaign in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, #sandydance, helped provide testimony necessary to establish an NYC Dance Response FundFifty Years, Fifty Stories, the New York City Arts Coalition’s artist-lead video campaign for the New York State Council on the Arts, was described by Stuart Elliott of The New York Times as “State of the New York Arts.”

Another Dance/NYC town hall, “Dancer’s Voice: Personalizing the Marketing Experience” showed that technology and social media are evolving dancers’ roles as advocates, commentators, and company ambassadors, using American Ballet Theatre, Keigwin + Company, New York City Ballet, and New York Live Arts as case studies. 

Opportunities for using technology and social media to increase audience participation are also demonstrated by New York City participants in Dance/USA’s Engaging Dance Audiences initiative: Misnomer Dance Theater now helps artists/companies adopt and utilize their web-based Audience Engagement Platform (AEP), designed to facilitate two-way interactions between dance audiences and artists through innovative web interactions that allow emailing, blogging, live-streaming, instant messaging and much more to occur all through one portal.STREB was also supported through this initiative for their SLAM REMOTE, a new presentation model that employs interactive technology to connect remote audiences to live performance and engagement activities.

DanceNYC.org, the centralized resource for promotion and management resources in dance, experienced growth of 100% in registered user-base from 2011 to 2012—signaling the field’s commitment to growing its online footprint.

In response to a Dance/NYC Junior Committee social media campaign in preparation for this Hearing, Facebook user Faith Rein, writes, simply: “Going viral is saving the arts.”

Committed to harnessing the potential of technology and social media to increase participation in dance, Dance/NYC wants to acknowledge and thank the Council for organizing the Hearing today and for its commitment to advancing the City’s role as a global dance capital.

Making It (Work): Statement of Intent

We are the Self-Advocacy Working Group of the Dance/NYC Junior Committee. A group of 5, we have committed ourselves to pursuing an explorative research project through June 2013 that will affirm or call into question the work practices of dance professionals in New York City, specifically as they relate to compensation (in its many forms).

This is where our conversation started: the Junior Committee’s Dance Workforce Census: Earnings Among Individuals, Ages 21-35 measuring dance workforce compensation in fiscal year 2010. Now: what are the individual narratives living below the surface of this data? We look to arm our demographic with the tools they need to advocate for professionalism and a better standard of living. We aim to extrapolate the most effective models to initiate conversation and inspire action.

Here are some questions that have prompted our research and exploration.

  • Primarily, we ask: What are valuable forms of compensation? What is not zero sum, but builds synergy / is mutually supportive?
  • Also: What is the relationship between payment and work? How much work are dance workers doing without pay?
  • How does dance relate to other artistic disciplines with respect to payment?
  • How do dance workers talk about compensation with their peers? With their communities? With their employers? What pre-existing resources and structures are available to frame and guide these conversations?
  • Who uses unions? Who do the unions serve?
  • What’s the cost to make a dance — what goes unreported?
  • What are relationships between dance workers, recognizing that sometimes these relationships reflect fluidity when people embody multiple roles within the field?

At its core, this is a project about transparency: what can we name, unearth, cast light on, applaud, or provide feedback for? We recognize that talking about employment is sensitive, and we will do our darnedest to write with utmost sensitivity in mind.

As a group, we bring with us our diverse perspectives about what we face as individuals working in dance. But enough about us. Follow along through June and lend your voice to the ever-evolving conversation here on our blog.

This is how we do it. We meet for a two hour session to co-author a blog post informed by our individual research done outside this time. Each post will be a deep dive into one topic. We will address research, existing structures, symptoms. We will ask big questions, identify opportunities, and make recommendations.

Central to our work is the existence of outside mentorship in the form of an advisory committee, pooled from our own, trusted professional relationships. These advisors will act as additional editors and elevate our material.

Because this conversation, at its core, is about compensation, we should note that ours is not monetary. We will, however, be tracking other forms of compensation for our efforts through June, perhaps in the form of increased knowledge, professional development, self-empowerment, and the gratification of doing worthwhile work. Also, your engagement with this project will be a form of payment to us. The more you comment, share, and act as a thought partner, the more we “make.”

– Virginia Cromwell, Erica Frankel, Brighid Greene, Kaley Pruitt, & Mercedes Searer