Dance Wire was founded on the belief that dance is for everyone.
We recognize that dance in America has been steeped in Eurocentric and ablist values. As we sit with these realities, we must each examine OUR ROLE within them before we come up with our new vision. As dancers, we will recognize this as the creative process. Long, arduous rehearsals and extensive training will be required. There will be pain. There will be conflict. There will be mistakes. There will be disagreements. People will fight over “stage-time”. There will be a lot of grey area.
The most influential art comes from a creative process where dancers work together, listen deeply, RESPECT each other, and HONOR different experiences within the group. While a powerful soloist is exciting, a powerful ensemble is breathtaking.
To share your own ideas on how Dance Wire can advance equity in the dance world, please email our Founder & Executive Director Emily Running.
Our Core Beliefs + Values
We believe in the intelligence of the body.
The body is underestimated, underused and undervalued as a way to express, communicate and process.
We unify cultures through a common language.
Movement is a universal language that crosses cultural barriers.
We demand inclusivity.
All ages, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status’, and disability status’ are given respect and a voice in our network.
Visibility is power.
We help all artists and organizations shine.
We reduce isolation between groups.
Our centralized network facilitates connectivity and collaboration.
We take representation seriously.
Dance artists, dance administrators, dance content and dance audiences should all be reflective of the community to create true access.
Here is a sampling of the things we do behind the scenes to advance equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the dance community.
Nonprofit Workers for Justice Foundation Assessment
Our Vision Director has been an active member of a task force called Nonprofit Workers for Justice, a grassroots group of nonprofit workers seeking to effect systemic change in philanthropy. (NWJ receives administrative support from Willamette Valley Development Officers). The group has spent the past year developing a Foundation Assessment, the first-ever community-led evaluation of the practices of Oregon and Southwest Washington foundations.
Foundations are evaluated in four key areas:
- Payout rate
- Unrestricted funding
- Participatory grantmaking
- Grantee diversity
We believe that the vast majority of individuals working in philanthropy are authentically dedicated to achieving social justice. However, we also believe, and cannot ignore, that philanthropy as it currently exists cannot achieve social justice, because it ultimately serves to preserve control over unjustly accumulated wealth.
NWJ envisions a philanthropic sector in which people from marginalized communities hold power over this wealth, and are fully leveraging it against the existential problems we face. This vision can only be realized if philanthropy in our community and beyond fundamentally changes how it functions. This Foundation Assessment seeks to encourage that change.
Safe Working Environments task force with Dance/USA
Our Vision Director has also been part of a Safe Working Environments task force hosted by Dance/USA and composed of leaders from dance organizations across the nation. “To support the dance field during this time of national cultural change, Dance/USA’s Safe Environments Working Group is coming together in solidarity to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to advocate for healthy organizational environments that do not tolerate harassment of any kind or abuse of power. United, we champion a just and equitable culture where individuals have supportive pathways to speak up.”
Our Network + Ambassadors Cohorts
Our research shows that there are over 400 dance companies and studios in Portland representing 79 different styles of dance. Our network is inclusive of all dance-centered artists and organizations and currently includes people of various ages, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status’, and disability status’. Each year we select a new Ambassador cohort which features 10 different artists from various genres and backgrounds as part of our ongoing commitment to listening, learning and staying connected to all pockets of the dance community. Among other things, we do a podcast interview with each Ambassador about the challenges they have faced pursuing dance, the resources and people that have helped them the most, and how they would like to see the dance community evolve. These interviews are an opportunity to both listen and to archive the progression of the dance community over time, giving Dance Wire valuable insight on how to design and develop our programming to truly meet the needs of the community we serve.
Community-Centric Fundraising Approach
We have adopted a Community-Centric Fundraising model that is grounded in equity and social justice. Key elements of this model include presenting our work holistically and not as individual transactions, encouraging mutual support between nonprofits, valuing time equally to money, and fostering a sense of belonging not “othering”.
If you support any of the statements or actions above, consider a DONATION TO DANCE WIRE to help us advance our services to the dance community and the public.