Magazine article Dance Magazine

Dancers as Activists: Gibney Dance Company Empowers Its Members to Create Their Own Social-Impact Initiatives

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Dancers as Activists: Gibney Dance Company Empowers Its Members to Create Their Own Social-Impact Initiatives

Article excerpt

What if your full-time dance job required more than rehearsing and performing? What if it also asked you to create new ways to give back to your community? The six members of New York City-based Gibney Dance Company have been empowered to do exactly that, as artistic director Gina Gibney expands the troupe's mission beyond its traditional performances and domestic violence outreach. Each member will now direct his or her own "advocacy fellowship," with Gibney's oversight. "I've seen so many young artists who want to make a difference but didn't have the resources available to them to make it work," says Gibney. "Being advocates for the field is now part of their job description."

The dancers are being guided by Gibney's staff, board members and outside partners at every stage, from planning to production. They started by drafting their own program designs, case statements, timelines and methods to evaluate success. While funding for this extension of the company--in particular the dancers' salaries--comes from Gibney donors, the dancers are actively participating in the fundraising for their own projects. Programs range from an organization that helps dancers through tough career moments, like negotiating a contract or getting injured, to youth dance programs. Some have already tested their ideas through pilots: Nigel Campbell is one of the first company members to roll out his initiative. With co-founder Chanel DaSilva, he started Move(NYC), a tuition-free summer intensive for advanced dancers from New York City's five boroughs. …

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