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Barkin/Selissen Project Launches The Second Round of Dancers Above Water

Barkin/Selissen Project Launches The Second Round of Dancers Above Water

Published on September 18, 2020
Photo: Fumihiro Kikuchi

The Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund Aids NYC-Metro Area Dancers & Choreographers

PROBLEM: Over $87.73M in Lost Income

(According to Americans for the Arts survey, as of August 2020)


RESPONSE: #dancersabovewater 


During the Covid-19 global pandemic, performing artists have lost both primary and secondary forms of income, most with no financial safety net. In New York City alone, performing arts organizations have reported over $87M in lost income and laid off thousands of workers. Join Barkin/Selissen Project in helping dancers who are struggling right now.  Please consider contributing to this fund to provide support for NYC area-based contemporary dancers and choreographers in need.

As of July 2020, B/S P was able to disburse financial support to twenty-six dance artists in the NYC-metropolitan area through the first round of the Dancers Above Water Fund. Donate today to help keep even more artists afloat!



The application portal will REOPEN on September 28th, and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until October 7th 2020.


Who is eligible?

Professional Status

  • Professional Modern and/or Contemporary Dancer or Choreographer*
  • *Professional is defined as receiving a portion of essential income in exchange for dance or choreography services
  • Must demonstrate proof of at least 6 months of professional dance work in NYC since 2019
  • Must be willing to provide proof of lost work and be unable to gain sufficient work due to COVID-19
  • Must be legally allowed to work in the US (no citizenship requirement

Financial Status

  • Currently unemployed or partially employed and ineligible for ample benefits* from any employer or other sufficient support system
  • *Ample benefits & sufficient support system defined as: receiving little to no support from any source, previous employer, family, or other relief fund.
  • Receiving some assistance and/or unemployment is ok given the amount is not enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle and residence in NYC.
  • Must have little to no liquid assets that would sustain you in your current status for the next 12 months
  • Must be able to provide Tax ID or Social Security Number
  • Must be able to provide a bank account & routing number or information for digital deposit


  • NYC resident, or commuters from the New York metropolitan area
  • Anyone who has already received support from Dancers Above Water may reapply, but may only receive financial support a maximum of two times. If you are selected twice, you may not reapply again.

Applicants are INELIGIBLE if

  • You are a dancer/choreographer that did not lose dance-related work as a result of COVID-19 illness and/or implemented social measures
  • Are based outside of the New York City metropolitan area or the states of New Jersey and Connecticut
  • Are receiving sufficient income or financial support that renders financial status relatively un-impacted by COVID-19
  • You are applying on behalf of a collective.


How much will I receive?

The Dancers Above Water Relief Fund may provide financial support of $500 to a dance professional in need and/or Goods & Services contributed and available.


How will recipients be chosen?

Once an application is submitted, it will be entered into a randomized lottery system and, if selected in the lottery, will be reviewed.


When will I hear back?

We will be contacting applicants on a rolling basis. If you are not chosen for the first lottery selection, your application will automatically be rolled into the next selection period. For updates on timeline and specifics, please subscribe to our email list.

Please Note: If you are seemingly ineligible, and in time-sensitive dire need, please contact us directly regarding special exceptions for consideration on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions about your eligibility, the application process or our document retention policies, please contact us at

What is the Partner Support System?

The Partner Support System provides Recipients with additional assistance throughout the support cycle. Each Recipient in the Partner Support System will be assigned a Partner (a member of the Dancers Above Water or B/S P organizations) who will offer support and guidance through the cycle, and help connect them with resources as needed. The Program includes an introductory and wrap-up “check-in” meeting at the beginning and end of the cycle in order to learn and exchange valuable information, and partners may also interact throughout, according to individual needs. The Partner Support System is meant to round out the support that we give, as we recognize that help in many areas outside of financial support is another strong need right now.  If you would like to be considered for this program, in addition to financial assistance, please check the correlating box on your application before submitting!


Guiding Principles

Supporting dancers and choreographers who, due to COVID-19, are not finding ample support elsewhere right now 

Prioritizing fairness, various forms of support, and on-going relationships/coalitions

Ease and flexibility for applicants and recipients to apply and/or comply

Transparency, accountability, and collaborative approach, a Governance/Oversight Committee that reflects and represents the community we serve

Keeping the vital dance community active and healthy in NYC, to be able to stay and thrive beyond this crisis

Being a community-driven platform; one by, for and about the dance community that we are trying to support

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