Core Values + Equity

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.

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.

Dance artists, dance administrators, dance content and dance audiences should all be reflective of the community to create true access.

Our Actions


Our Executive Director has been an active member of a group of white anti-racist arts leaders since 2015. In January 2020 the group began working with a facilitator and convening monthly. The group includes consistent personal reflection, reading, research, and discussions coupled with group learning, visual pattern mapping, and deep dives on anti-racism as it shows up in the arts.

Each year we select a new Ambassador Committee 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 StoryCorps 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.


It’s worth noting that every programmatic discussion we have includes consideration of equity and inclusion. Dance Wire does not have unique program that addresses equity, rather, it’s built into the fabric of everything we do in many ways, from small to substantial.

The Dance Wire hosts an inclusive network of over 140 dancer and company members representing 39 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’. See our THIS is What a Dancer Looks Like campaign on Instagram.

Visibility that isn’t based on budget. Our website gives artists and organizations visibility while exposing both new and existing audience members to the wide array of dance happening in Portland. The model of you-pay-more-you-get-more leaves behind those just getting started or those with a smaller operation. We know that budget size does not determine quality or worth.

Until dance is better funded, the risk associated with pursuing a career with very little income potential limits the ability to advance as an artist to those of higher socioeconomic status. We actively help other organizations and independent dance artists fundraise so that their artistic voices can be heard!

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.

Your Cash Helps the Dance Community Grow and Prosper!