Dance/NYC Announces the 26 recipients of the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance and Social Justice Fellowship Program

Dance/NYC Announces the 26 recipients of the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance and Social Justice Fellowship Program

Published on August 10, 2020
Photo: Christine Krishna Washbur

The dance service organization Dance/NYC is pleased to announce the 26 recipients of the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance and Social Justice Fellowship Program made possible by the generous support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs CreateNYC Disability Forward Fund and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation with additional support from the New York Community Trust.

"We are proud to be able to offer this recognition and support to disabled dance workers and the activities they have undertaken over the course of the pandemic," said Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, executive director of Dance/NYC. "It was with great pleasure that we were able to exceed our anticipated funding levels for this program, providing a greater number of awards and increased grant amounts, particularly as we know there is a general lack of funding for disabled artists. We have seen a tenacious commitment by the fellows to engage with and bolster the disabled dance community while using their wide-ranging perspectives to advocate for social justice, and Dance/NYC is excited to support this most important work."

Jerron Herman. Photo by Jon Trend

The purpose of the Fellowship Program is to recognize the critical role that disabled dance workers and arts practitioners play in social justice movements and to ensure that these workers are supported while continuing to place disability front and center as a positive artistic and generative force. Dance/NYC recognizes that, despite the multiple ways disabled communities have been impacted by COVID-19 and ongoing racial violence, disabled dance workers have remained active in serving their communities through online programming, community organizing efforts, and mutual aid, often without compensation or funding. The Fellowship Program provides a recognition of all activities completed between March 11, 2020 and June 30, 2020. Visit Dance.NYC for the full Fellowship details.

The recipients of the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Dance and Social Justice Fellowship Program, who will each receive one-time awards of $1,000-$2,000, are:


April Biggs

Audre Wirtanen

Branden Wallace

Christine Krishna Washburn

Dominic Bradley

Donald Lee

Elisabeth Motley

iele paloumpis

Jannell Alvanzo

Jerron Herman

Kayla Hamilton

Kiah Amara 

Kiera Bono

Mana Hashimoto

Moira Williams

Ogemdi Akunna Ude

Sidiki S. Conde

Sonya Rio-Glick

Walei Sabry


Yo-Yo Lin

Anonymous (5)


The 26 fellows include representatives from four boroughs of New York City: The Bronx (1), Kings (11), New York (9), and Queens (5). Grantees are majority African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) (17 of 26 or 65%), majority women-identifying, transgender, and gender nonconforming/non-binary/genderqueer individuals (21 of 26 or 81%), and include 4 (15%) immigrants.

iele paloumpis. Photo credit: Adrien A. Weibgen

These fellows were selected by a review panel and were among a pool of 30 metropolitan New York City area individual dance workers with disabilities who submitted applications in response to an open call. Key evaluation criteria included: need, defined as expenses incurred in the development and execution of eligible activities; a commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion, with consideration for the role historically underfunded groups including African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA), LGBTQ+, women-identifying, gender nonconforming and/or nonbinary, and immigrant artists play within the applicant pool and wider dance field; and a diversity of participant roles and perspectives. Additional information on grant requirements and eligibility can be found on our website atDance.NYC. Dance/NYC worked with community organizer and disabled dance artist Christopher Unpezverde Núñez to ensure that every aspect of program development, communications, application intake and review, and panel review aligned with Dance/NYC's values of justice, equity, and inclusion and that the organization remained accountable to its intended beneficiaries.

Photo courtest of the artist, Mana Hashimoto

The Fellowship Program responds directly to Dance/NYC's recent research, Performing Disability. Dance. Artistry. (Dance.NYC/PerformingDDA18) which calls for investment in disabled artists by advancing disability-specific arts funding initiatives. Additionally, the latest findings of Dance/NYC's ongoing Coronavirus Impact Survey (Dance.NYC/covid-19/Impact-Survey/Overview) reveal individual dance workers have reported a cumulative loss of at least $4.2 million due to the social restriction measures implemented to contain the spread of the virus. Survey responses reveal disproportionate needs and impacts for dance workers who identify as disabled, ALAANA, women and genderqueer/nonbinary as well as older dance workers and immigrant dance workers.

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