Dance/NYC Announces New Leadership Structure
Dance/NYC has announced that Alejandra Duque Cifuentes will step aside as Executive Director of Dance/NYC as she shifts into a new role as the organization’s Strategy and Research Consultant, effective January 1, 2023. An experienced interim leadership team will continue to advance Dance/NYC’s important operational and programmatic work while the organization’s Board of Directors simultaneously establishes a Strategic Leadership Committee responsible for assessing and identifying a new bespoke leadership model for the organization.
Dance/NYC’s goal is to establish a new paradigm of more democratic and collectively-driven leadership–one that distributes decision-making and representational responsibilities to engender sustainable, creative, and responsive engagement with the dance field. In doing so, it aims to center wellness as a manifestation of its values of justice, equity and inclusion in order to embody the change-making it advocates for in the field. To support these efforts, Ms. Duque Cifuentes will advise the interim leadership team, support the organization in memorializing its processes, and continue to lead the Dance Industry Census through its completion in her role as Strategy and Research Consultant.
After joining Dance/NYC in 2015 as a part-time temporary employee, Ms. Duque Cifuentes rose in its ranks to then helm the organization through unprecedented times. In her 7-year tenure, she led Dance/NYC through a pandemic that impacted the performing arts like no other sector, where she led the distribution of over $1.55 million in relief support to the dance community. Internally, she doubled the organization’s budget and increased the staffing infrastructure while creating wage and salary standards for its workers for the first time in the organization’s history. Externally, she led the creation of the organization’s justice, equity, and inclusion initiatives, expanded the reach of its annual Symposium, distributed over $5.45 million in financial support to the field through Dance/NYC’s ongoing grantmaking programs, and launched its groundbreaking Dance Industry Census and Dance. Workforce. Resilience. Initiative aimed at addressing economic inequity in the sector. She emerged as a significant advocate for the dance industry, launching the #ArtistsAreNecessaryWorkers campaign in 2020, ensuring that dance had a seat at every table where decisions about its workforce were being made.
“Working at Dance/NYC has been one of the greatest honors of my career thus far, filled with immense challenges and victories that have yielded impactful shifts both personal and collective.” said Ms. Duque Cifuentes. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and be a part of the dance community in this way, and for the trust and accountability with which it has held me. I know that stepping aside from my role as Executive Director is the necessary opening that Dance/NYC needs to reimagine what truly sustainable and holistic infrastructure can be. Dance/NYC’s success and growing influence is the result of so many across the dance community working together during one of the most challenging times of our lives. Now more than ever, it is clear that artists are necessary workers for healthy local communities and for a more just future.”
The interim leadership team is comprised of four women with a deep understanding of the organization:
Candace Thompson-Zachery, who will be promoted to Director of Programming and Justice Initiatives. Having led Dance/NYC’s Symposium and programmatic work since 2019, Candace has played an integral role in advancing the organization’s justice initiatives strategy; Vicki Capote who will be promoted to Director of Development. Since joining the organization at the top of 2021, Vicki has stewarded Dance/NYC’s revenue streams, with a focus on sustainability and community care; Sara Roer who will lead Dance/NYC’s core administrative functions as its new Director of Operations and Finance. With 15+ years of experience in the dance sector and in the areas of human resources and operations, Sara is a welcome addition to the team; and Milena Luna, Dance/NYC’s founding Operations Manager and former Co-Interim Executive Director, who will return as Interim Executive Director. Milena has been with Dance/NYC across a variety of roles for 9 years, and brings deep institutional knowledge and coaching expertise to support the organization as it experiments with new leadership constructs.
Together, this powerhouse team will work as a collective—sharing power, strategy, vision, and labor—to put to the test Dance/NYC’s first attempt at a shared and distributed leadership structure. You can learn more about them by visiting Dance.NYC.