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About Dance Now

Created as a pilot program for the Downtown Multi-Arts Festival in 1995, DANCE NOW (DN) launched independently in 1997 with our signature Festival series, and a mission to offer unconventional, all-inclusive destination events to make dance more accessible to the public by bringing it into the places where people, live, work and play. DN’s primary goal has always been to promote today’s dance makers in a diverse and inclusive manner, providing them with new, unique and challenging opportunities for artistic expression and audience engagement, presenting dance in more than 25 unconventional venues, including galleries, boxing rings, firehouses, churches and even out-door swimming pools. For more than two decades, DN has celebrated a wide range of dance genres, encouraging artistic exploration, innovation, and collaboration, emphasizing the importance of cultural diversity and the unique voices and stories that today’s dance makers bring to their audiences. DN serves a diverse range of communities, including ethnic minorities, BIPOC artist, the LGBTQ community and individuals with disabilities, and is committed to addressing the specific needs and challenges faced by each of these communities to ensure that their voices are represented.
In 2003, DN created the Dance-mopolitan Series for the intimacy of Joe’s Pub at The Public. The closeness of the artists to their audience at the pub provided a vital stimulus to spark creativity. This, along with our challenge initiative, encouraging work marked by brevity and clarity, inspired the commissioning of more than 35 full and shared evening works for the pub over the past two decades. In response to the huge success of our pub programming, we merged all our programs to Joe's Pub in 2011, where our audiences continue to expect risk-taking, surprise, extraordinary dancing and magical experiences. Throughout our 27 years of producing, we have generated new audiences for dance that reflect the wide spectrum of artists, ranging in age, gender and ethnic diversity that we present.
In 2020, the pandemic forced the cancellation of all our live programming in NYC, as well as our residency, teaching and performance programs in Lehigh Valley, PA and Boston. Following a year and a half of digital online presentations designed to keep the DN community of artists connected, creating and paid during the pandemic, we were forced to make the difficult decision in 2021 to shutter our programming due to a financial loss of more than forty percent of our earned income from lost box office sales, cancelled contracted services and residency fees, and the overwhelming and high cost to keep our staff in place to support the creation of online programming, which coincided with DN’s Executive Artistic Director and Producer, Robin Staff’s grave personal loss.
In the summer of 2022, Joe’s Pub invited DN to curate programming for their new out-door September Astor Alive series so that they could highlight and honor the great partnership that we have shared for 19 years. This free outside event, showcased TruDee (Deborah Lohse) as host, and presented excerpts from two of DN’s favorite commissions, Megan William’s Dance Project’s One Woman Show (2018) and TAKE Dance’s Somewhere Familiar Melodies (2013), on September 17th, 2022. The event was a huge success. It signaled the need for DN to consider continuing to provide our artists with rich and meaningful opportunities through our unique partnership with Joe’s Pub, and to continue to bring a broad range of dance to our long-time DN fans, as well as the new audiences that the pub has always generated. In the early fall of 2022, we made the decision to return to Joe’s Pub in the fall of 2023, during our traditional spot right after Labor Day to once again kick off the NYC dance season as DANCENOW / NOW. As we transition back to present programming that supports a full spectrum of artistic voices and visions, we are focused on equity, inclusion and diversity, committed to the principal goal of a not-for-profit arts organization that mirrors the great diversity of the NYC dance community and to expand the constituent we serve in New York City and beyond. As a community that has remained together for 27 years, including during the two year long pandemic, DN will continue to seek out the young and new voices rising up in the community, while continuing to support and promote our existing artist relationships that span generations.


DN Celebrates Over 25 Years


Over the years, the DN Festival has presented dance in more than 25 traditional and unconventional venues throughout NYC, and is recognized by the dance community as “the coziest, coolest way to start the fall season” (Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine).


DANCE NOW NYC is created as a program of the Soho Multi Arts Festival.

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DN launches independently.


DN creates the Dance-mopolitan Festival series, using the intimate setting of Joe’s Pub to inspire creativity and to give audiences a unique cultural experience.

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The Dance-mopolitan series is expanded to challenge today’s dance innovators to create new, full-evening works for Joe’s Pub.

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DN celebrates 25 years of presenting 1000+ NYC artists in our annual signature series, the DN Festival.

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