DANC members Vanessa Cruz and Antuan Byers had a conversation about the importance of the Disability Justice framework, centering multi-marginalized identities, and ensuring accessibility for disabled people in dance. This video was omitted from Dance/NYC’s Dance Workforce Resilience (DWR) Task Force Launch Event a year ago.

In response to this omission, DANC launched the #StopDisabilityErasure campaign.

DANC’s full statement regarding our involvement with Dance/NYC:

After the disability erasure incident involving DANC member, Vanessa Cruz, and Dance/NYC, we want to inform our community of the reparations that have been made and what the future looks like regarding DANC’s involvement with Dance/NYC.

Here’s an update on what happened: 

  •  On July 20, 2022, at Dance/NYC’s Dance Workforce Resilience (DWR) Task Force Launch Event, one of DANC’s Disabled members experienced blatant ableism and disability erasure. Vanessa, a Disabled & Chicana DANC member serving on the DWR taskforce, was slated to be a speaker at this event, but was excluded on the day of.
  • Since then, DANC has been calling in Dance/NYC regarding this incident and demanding specific reparations based on the harm incited to Vanessa. 
  • On July 23, 2022, DANC, led by disabled members Vanessa Cruz and April Biggs, launched our #StopDisabilityErasure campaign
  • On July 29, 2022, Dance/NYC responded only via an Instagram post where they decided what reparations they wanted to offer Vanessa without consulting her.
  • On August 12, 2022 DANC + Vanessa responded by email, laying out more appropriate reparative actions for Dance/NYC to take. Since then, DANC and Dance/NYC held two mediated meetings. Here’s an update on how Dance/NYC has responded to each of our four reparations requests:
    • Dance/NYC issued $600 to Vanessa and April as reimbursement as a restorative justice compensation.
    • The video made by Vanessa and Antuan will be publicly released by Dance/NYC within a week of this statement.
    • Dance/NYC has been explicit about how they will not be making any financial compensation for labor involved in “calling in” Dance/NYC about their ableism by the two Disabled members of DANC’s Leadership Team over the last couple years.
    • Dance/NYC has not yet taken the reparative actions of addressing ableism and lack of disabled artists on the DWR Taskforce.

Throughout this process, since July of 2022, much time lapsed between Dance/NYC’s responses to DANC. For DANC’s Leadership Committee, corresponding with Dance/NYC and checking in with each other as a group became a priority and took a lot of time and energy throughout the second half of 2022 and beginning of 2023. 

Releasing the video that was omitted during the launch event is an act of solidarity to our Disabled communities. We want to ensure that Vanessa’s contributions are acknowledged. Dance/NYC often claims to be working in support of disabled dancers, but our efforts to call Dance/NYC in and toward Disability Justice have not been met with an actionable response that we would expect from an organization in true allyship. As we are moving forward and continuing to push for the remaining reparations, we have decided to no longer be involved with the Dance/NYC DWR Census, Taskforce or Initiative Network.