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June 17, 2016
BROOKLYN, NY, June 17, 2016: Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams released “All the Right Moves: Advancing Dance and the Arts in Brooklyn,” a report examining the challenges facing artists in the borough and accompanying recommendations, as part of his kickoff of NYC Dance Week, a 10-day, five-borough celebration with local studios opening their doors to the public for free or discounted dance, fitness, and wellness classes and exhibitions. The announcement followed a public demonstration of dance that he hosted yesterday, in partnership with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and NYC Dance Week, at Albee Square in Downtown Brooklyn, featuring performances from local groups such as Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy in Prospect Heights, Jamie J Dance Company in Flatbush, Jeté Dance Center in Gowanus, Mark Morris Dance Center in Fort Greene, Ms. Kay’s Dance Academy in Clinton Hill, PS 105 The Blythebourne School dance team in Borough Park, and Williamsburg Movement and Arts Center in Williamsburg. Borough President Adams highlighted the benefits of dance to maintaining physical fitness and enjoying creative self-expression, as well as its contributions to the vibrant culture of Brooklyn.
“You can hear the sound of Brooklyn’s diversity in the rhythms of salsa in Sunset Park, soca in East Flatbush, hip-hop in Bed-Stuy, and ballet in Brooklyn Heights,” said Borough President Adams. “Whatever the music, dance is a binding force for One Brooklyn. We must maintain the pulse of positive energy that emanates from dance in our borough, not only as a lasting tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando but as a lasting commitment to the vitality and unity of all Brooklynites. NYC Dance Week is a chance for the young and young at heart to enjoy the many benefits of dance, such as improved physical fitness and creative expression, and my recommendations for advancing arts in the borough are a call for the City to focus its policies and resources on maintaining the vibrancy of our cultural landscape, which makes it possible for Brooklyn to be a safe place to raise healthy children and families.”
Borough President Adams’ report noted a variety of positive contributions dance has and can further make in Brooklyn, including combating the borough’s high rate of obesity — 59 percent of adults as of 2013, according to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) — and helping children succeed in school, a finding supported by research released by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc. Moreover, dance has been a significant part of the impact that the arts have had on economic development in Brooklyn; a 2015 report from the Center for an Urban Future found a 20 percent increase since 2006 in attendance at events organized by local cultural institutions, benefitting the borough’s business community. Borough President Adams’ findings also detail many challenges facing the local arts community, such as an absence of diversity — fewer than half of the individuals working in dance in Brooklyn are people of color, based on 2000 United States Census data. Additionally, funding for the arts has decreased dramatically in New York City in recent years, including by 37 percent from the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA), 15 percent from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and 16 percent from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA).
To overcome these obstacles, Borough President Adams laid out a series of recommendations that urge the City to develop a comprehensive plan that will create affordable spaces for artists and promote diversity in the arts, such as: designating vacant or City-owned properties as affordable spaces for artists and cultural institutions, including provisions for studio and other cultural spaces in New York City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) projects; identifying non-traditional areas for studio and work spaces, including schools and libraries; considering a zoning text change that would allow for additional spaces for cultural and artistic uses, and enhanced training for dance organizations to focus on anti-racism and diversity. Furthermore, Borough President Adams expressed his intent to establish an arts task force as a venue for artists to collaborate and discuss cross-sector issues.
The 2016 edition of NYC Dance Week, taking place from Thursday, June 16th to Saturday, June 25th, will provide classes at Full Force Dance Repertory in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Ballet in Boerum Hill, Xtend Barre Brooklyn in Brooklyn Heights, Fit4Dance in Crown Heights, Mark Morris Dance Center in Fort Greene, Breakin Boundaries in Greenpoint, Dancewave in Park Slope, East River Pilates Studio, LLC and SLAM (Streb Lab for Action Mechanics) in Williamsburg, and other locations throughout the city.
“NYC Dance Week collaborates with noted studios in New York City to celebrate the joy and diversity of dance with an exhilarating 10-day festival of free dance, fitness and wellness classes,” said Aileen R. Malogan, a producer and director with NYC Dance Week. “The festival engages each of New York City’s boroughs to experience the joy of dance and encourages participants to live active and healthy lifestyles. NYC Dance Week is also committed to showing participants how dance can benefit the mind, body and spirit.”
“We’re honored to participate in NYC Dance Week, which conveniently coincides with out ten year anniversary,” said Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “We invite everyone to come out to Albee Square on June 24th for the Downtown Brooklyn Get Down featuring Big Daddy Kane and H+, an official sponsor of NYC Dance Week.”
“We are thrilled to be part of the NYC Dance Week kickoff in Brooklyn with Borough President Adams!” said Lakey Evans-Pena, executive and artistic director and founder of the Williamsburg Movement and Arts Center. “Our mission at the Williamsburg Movement and Arts Center is to inspire and empower through dance and how better to do that than today’s kickoff. Given the recent events in the news, this is the perfect opportunity to come together and share the beauty of expression and its transformative powers, as a community, a borough, a city and a nation.”
“NYC Dance Week has been a valuable platform in increasing awareness of the many dance offerings all over the city,” said Sydnie Liggett, school director at Mark Morris Dance Group. “We’ve seen the effects of NYC Dance Week first hand at the Mark Morris Dance Center. It’s always so exciting to meet Brooklynites who join us and mention that they’ve lived in Brooklyn for years and never knew just how accessible and diverse our class schedule is. I think they’re surprised to hear of the variety of offerings such as modern dance, capoeira, tap dance, West African dance, fitness classes and more. They often end up becoming repeat class takers and making dance an important part of their routine, and it’s all thanks to the exposure of NYC Dance Week.”
“Dancing is music played with the body,” said Christina Lo, a dance teacher at PS 105 The Blythebourne School. “NYC Dance Week presents people with an opportunity to experience the excitement of dance and, hopefully, to incorporate the activity into their lives.”
“All children are meant to sing and dance!” said Tamia Santana, executive director of Jeté Dance Center. “Thank you, Borough President Adams, for bringing all of us together to celebrate dance in Brooklyn. To quote Martha Graham, ‘dance is the hidden language of the soul.’”
Additional information on NYC Dance Week is available at nycdanceweek.org. “All the Right Moves: Advancing Dance and the Arts in Brooklyn” can be accessed on Borough President Adams’ website by visiting brooklyn-usa.org/reports.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams showed off his moves at Albee Square in Downtown Brooklyn, dancing the Hustle with NYC Dance Week Founder Tasha Norman at his Brooklyn kickoff of the 10-day citywide festival.
Photo Credit: Erica Sherman/Brooklyn BP’s Office
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