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Dance/NYC and Gibney publish digital toolkit ‘Reopening Dance in NYC’

Photo courtesy of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre.
Photo courtesy of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre.

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 towards reopening in New York. To ensure the highest level of safety for all dance workers, non-profit 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. 

Hallway at Gibney Dance.
Hallway at Gibney Dance.

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 and fitness centers and sports and 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,” said Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, executive eirector of Dance/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.” 

Bombazo Dance Company in rehearsal. Photo by Milteri Tucker Concepcion, Bombazo Dance Company.
Bombazo Dance Company in rehearsal.
Photo by Milteri Tucker Concepcion,
Bombazo Dance Company.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our industry,” said Gina Gibney, founder, artistic director and CEO of Gibney. “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 its dedication to dance in New York.” 

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

Gibney Dance studio.
Gibney Dance studio.

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 and 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.

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