Photo credit: Becca Vision NYC

NYSDEA Guide to Dance Advocacy

Every child, teen and adult has the right to an inclusive and culturally responsive dance education. Advocacy efforts are crucial to meeting this goal. Today, only 7% of children in the US have dance in their schools. And while dance has proven benefits to the physical, mental and social/emotional health of people of all ages, access remains limited for older adults, boys and men, members of marginalized communities, people with disabilities and families with low incomes, among others. Access alone is not enough. Once students are in the studio or classroom, are they truly welcome? Does the dance program provide the needed supports so that all students thrive? Thoughtful, heartfelt, consistent and informed advocacy is a key to growing dance in education, increasing student supports and ensuring access! There are several ways to advocate for dance, starting with your own program and community and expanding to the state and national levels.

Begin with your own teaching practice and your local community

Tell people about what you do and the impact of dance on your own and your students’ lives. Celebrate the achievements of your students! You are very likely already implementing many these ideas. Consider adding one new action that raises the profile of your work and supports your professional goals.

Taking action in new york state

Both the State Senate and State Assembly have Legislative Committees devoted to Education and the Arts. Here is information on the State Assembly’s NYS standing committee on tourism, parks, arts and sports development and the NYS senate arts and culture committee. Each of these websites list the members of the committee and has a link to help you find your own State Senator or Assembly Member. These folks are key to:

Recommended Reading

Community Activist Carol Walton shares Four ways to contact elected officials to make a change.
This is a short (4m) read sharing strategies including: finding your Representatives, getting on the record with consistent communication, tips on telling your story, and the power of working with allies!

If you live in new york city, connect to dance/nyc

Dance/NYC advocates on behalf of the greater New York City dance community with core values based on justice, equity, and inclusion. Dance/NYC uses its action-oriented research as the foundation for effectively advocating to make all New Yorkers, New Yorkers for Dance. Dance NYC advocacy pages are a must read. They share action items at the City, State and National levels.

The national dance advocacy stage

“Dance is a natural method for learning and a basic form of cultural expression. Children learn movement patterns as readily as they learn language. Just as all societies create forms of visual representation or organize sounds into music, all cultures organize movement and rhythm into one or more forms of dance. ... It is essential that education provide our children with the developmental benefits and unique learning opportunities that come from organizing movement into the aesthetic experience of dance.”

To learn more about how NDEO advocates on a national level, visit "How NDEO advocates."

To learn more about how you can advocate on the local, state, and national levels, visit "How can you advocate?"

For tools and resources to use in your advocacy efforts, visit “Advocacy tools."

To stay up to date with advocacy news, visit the "Advocacy forum."

Americans for the arts

Stay in touch with Americans for The Arts and visit their Arts advocacy hub. Here you will find information on all their current advocacy and awareness campaigns, legislative updates, the Covid-19 Impact Survey, Facts and Figures to make your case, Advocacy Tool Kits and much more!

Here are two highlights from the Summer 2021 legislative update

New bipartisan federal bill to Put Creative Workers to Work for Community Recovery Introduced Aug 19, 2021 -- On Friday, August 13, 2021, U.S. Reps. Teresa Leger Fernández (D- NM) and Jay Obernolte (R-CA) introduced the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA). The bill authorizes $300 million to mitigate creative worker displacement, stimulate local creative workforce growth, strengthen connections for local creative small businesses and networks, create a pipeline for new creative jobs, enrich communities, increase access to culture, and invest in creative workers and local economies harmed by COVID-19.

U.S. House passes STAR Act provision Within Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill Jul 07, 2021 -- The STAR Act provision will reverse a 2015 prohibition on using Federal Transit Administration funds for art in transit, and give local transit authorities the opportunity to reap the numerous benefits of art in transit— encouraging ridership, improving customer experience, deterring vandalism, and more.

Advocacy For Dance Education

Americans for the Arts Recap 2020

We are in the 2nd year of a two year term for House Representatives, and many Senate seats are also up this election cycle. Voting and advocating is of the utmost importance as this is an election year. There are two caucuses that are of importance when advocating for the Arts.

Currently, the Congressional Arts Congress Caucus is led by Rep. Elise Stefanik(R-NY) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME). The Senate Cultural Caucus led by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Senator Susan Collins(R-ME). Again, this will change in January when the new Congress takes office. For up-to-date committee assignments go here

The House appropriations committee is another committee of note as representation could change in November. The House of Representatives appropriations committee is led by the Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)

What you can do:

Sign up for Congress email alerts

Find your Representatives or Senators Many also have individual websites, facebook pages and twitter feeds. Ask your members to join the Arts, Cultural, or Arts and Steam Caucuses(co-chaired by both a Democrat and a Republican)

Find your Americans for the Arts state captain and other resources here

National Partners of Americans for the Arts here

Buy the Arts Advocacy Day Handbook here

Look at Arts, Culture and Education parts of the Democratic Platform, unveiled during the National Convention here (Currently has the 2016 platform, return for updates after August 17th)

To find a schedule of Arts bills, resolutions and laws and their progress here

NYS and NYC resources relating to Covid-19

1. The Office of Arts and special Projects at the NYC DOE has sent up the following google classrooms, which contain lesson plans posted weekly and links to resources. They codes are here:

PreK Google Classroom Code:

K-2 Google Classroom Code:

3-5 Google Classroom Code:

6-8 Google Classroom Code:

9-12 Google Classroom Code:

2. Dance NYC

Dance/NYC's mission is to promote the knowledge, appreciation, practice, and performance of dance in the metropolitan New York City area. It embeds values of justice, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of the organization

They have a wonderful advocacy video, Artists are necessary workers, here:

The have published a Covid-19 Preparedness Resources guide here:

And Covid-19 relief fund info here:

3. Gibney Dance has published a Covid-19 resource list here: And has presented Town Halls and free virtual programming.


4. New York State Council on the Arts Covid 19 resources here:

Make a difference for education in our country!!

Explore the following links to learn more about the Trump Administration's nomination of Betsy DeVos.

Take action today!!!

Arts Advocacy Day

Summary of Events

NYSDEA Board Member, Daniel Reichert, shares his experience from the capitol on Arts Advoacy Day this year:

"Americans for the Arts Arts Advocacy Day was a huge success. NYSDEA sent three representatives to make sure that dance education in New York is being considered by lawmakers and recognized by other arts organizations across the nation. Over 500 people showed up to lobby for the arts, including more than 70 national partners. Members of NYSDEA were seen in over 15 congressional offices and the senate, where we advocated on behalf of dance education and arts funding in general. The specific points asked for included re-branding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to STEAM, the new A standing for Art!

We also asked for increased funding to the NEA, reauthorizing the Every Student Succeeds Act to replace No Child Left Behind and support for charitable deductions, which are a great source of revenue for arts organizations. Members also had opportunities to share stories of how dance and dance education made a positive impact on their lives and communities.

NYSDEA was invited to the White House for a press briefing on the state of the Arts in the US. The first thing at the conference was a showing of this clip marking dance as important to this administration. The general trend had been decreased funding to arts and education, though through lobbying and a better understanding of the importance of art to our culture, the administration is interested in changing that trend. While arts education in general and dance specifically are still in need of greater recognition for the benefits we provide, some serious steps were made at Advocacy Day."

Vision Document for Dance 2050

The Future of Dance in Higher Education

This completed Vision Document was presented to DANCE 2050 participants at the 2014 National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) National Conference in Chicago, IL. Those attending, along with those contributing electronically, reviewed the document and voted to accept it as a shared vision of those participating in the blind reviewed DANCE 2050 project.

You can find the whole document here:

Vision Document Dance 2050 Vision Document Dance 2050

The Essential Skills The Arts Teach: RESEARCH BULLETIN

The Arts Education Partnership’s latest research bulletin, , Preparing Students for the Next America: The Benefits of an Arts Education, offers a snapshot of how the arts support achievement in school, bolster skills demanded of a 21st century workforce, and enrich the lives of young people and communities. It draws on the research in AEP's, the nation's first clearinghouse of research on the impact of arts education on students and their school communities. Order hard copies online or download the PDF for free! Tweet about it using the hashtag #ArtsFosterSuccess.

NCCAS Releases Arts Learning Guiding Framework

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) released a narrative framework document detailing the rationale, goals, and strategy of the new National Standards for Arts Education currently being written by five arts discipline teams in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. National Core Arts Standards: A Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning was formally released during the January 18-20 meeting of the coalition’s leadership and writing teams at the New York City headquarters of The College Board. Follow the link above to find the full document. The video of the release presentation is archivedhereon the NCCAS website.

The Arts and Academic Achievement

A significant body of research shows that students from low socio-economic backgrounds, English language learners, and students with special needs—often underserved in public schools—show the greatest relative improvement in academic achievement when participating in the arts. Research also finds that English language learners are significantly more likely to pursue a college degree if they attend an arts-rich high school (Catterall, 2009).

Common Core Standards and the Arts

Department of Education Webinar on Common Core and the Arts

In December 2012, the Department of Education hosted a panel discussion on the intersection of the arts and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The panel was moderated by Scott Jones, the Arts Education Partnership’s Senior Associate for Research and Policy and featured Scott Norton, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Standards, Assessments, and Accountability, Council of Chief State School Officers; Scott Shuler, Arts Consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education; and Denise Brandenburg, Arts Education Specialist, National Endowment for the Arts. The webinar discussed the development and implementation of the CCSS, their overlap with the artistic disciplines, and other topics. Click here for a recording of the webinar.

Common Core Standards and the Arts


To work with national and state organizations in carrying out the national mission of promoting and strengthening dance as an art form and as an effective tool for education.

Get Involved

Join NYSDEA to keep informed about critical issues and campaigns that affect dance education and arts in New York State as well as nationally.