Partners for Sacred Places began our NYC Dance in Sacred Places program in the Manhattan and Brooklyn Boroughs in 2019. We spoke with and inventoried 20 sacred places in those two boroughs to identify underutilized spaces that could be potential rehearsal, office, and/or performance space. Through a series of training sessions, we connected the sacred places with space to share with over 40 dance makers who are actively looking for space to rent in the hopes of crafting mutually beneficial space-sharing arrangements.
Little did we know what 2020 would have in store for all of us. By mid-March of 2020, things seemed to be progressing in a bad direction, NYC was shutting down and folks were told to stay in their homes. We were a one-day training session shy of completing our NYC work for Phase I but we decided to take a step back to re-evaluate our program in light of our new reality.
Seeing space sharing as potentially problematic in our socially distanced world- Partners took the time to reassess our work to align with the priorities of New Yorkers, we hosted two happy hour Zoom sessions. No agenda, no work expectation – just a check in with our friends in the Big Apple. We discovered that our work may have an even greater impact than before. With the possibility of losing some key dance maker spaces in NYC, our work opening up and drawing connections with sacred places may play a key role in maintaining and revitalizing the dance scene – keeping it alive by providing much needed affordable creation space.
Having pivoted to online sessions to complete our Phase I work, we strived to create meaningful online interactions where relationships can be initiated. As a result of our efforts, our work in NYC is being taken to Phase II. Starting in July 2020 through December 2021, the NYC Dance in Sacred Places program is looking for 30 additional sacred places in Manhattan and Brooklyn and up to 45 dance makers (city-wide) who are looking for creation space.
We are happy to announce our continued collaboration with Dance/NYC, New York Landmarks Conservancy, and Goldstein Hall Law Firm. The goal of this project is to create and foster sustainable, mutually beneficial space sharing relationships between dance organizations and sacred places. We also have developed a NYC Advisory Committee to help guide our process and progress, keeping us committed to serving the faith and dance maker communities therein.
Our online training will cover topics including:
- Aligning dance organization’s sacred place’s missions
- Relating artistic content to religious doctrine
- Creating a space sharing agreement that works for both parties
- Reimagining the sacred place facility for use by the dance community