Saving Dance New Amsterdam

DNA’s Dance Rally at City Hall © 2010, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

After releasing a statement on July 6th announcing a possible eviction on July 14th from its Lower Manhattan space, the 26-year-old Dance New Amsterdam has released another, more promising statement and update on today’s events.  Show your support by signing the petition.

Today Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) took to the steps of City Hall in spite of the pouring rain with hundreds of supporters and dancers joining our fight to save DNA. Dancers held signs reading “Save DNA,” “We Heart DNA” and “Gotta Dance.” During the downpour, dancers also performed choreography by Teri and Oliver Steele in front of the steps of city hall.

Earlier this morning we met with our landlord Fram Realty, representing lawyers and elected officials Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly member Deborah Glick, Council Member Margaret Chin, Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s representative, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s representative. As a result of the cooperative and positive meeting, we are pleased to say the landlord has agreed to postpone eviction proceedings until August 26. Fram indicated during the meeting that it appreciates the difficulties facing DNA and will propose revised lease terms. All of those at the meeting expressed a desire to have the city more involved with final negotiations. We believe the key players include Department of Citywide Administrative Services (owner of DNA’s building) and the Mayor’s office.

Since we went public with our story we have been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received, especially from the dance community. Over 2500 people, from all over the world, have signed our statement of support. We’ve also received more than $7,000 in donations in only one week. We have letters of support from Community Board 1 and Council Member Chin posted on our website. We’ve seen the dance community come together in generous support, including Dance/NYC, Dance/USA, Dance Parade, National Dance Week, Steps on Broadway, Battery Dance Company, 3LD, HERE Arts, The Flea, Soho Rep, The Children’s Museum, and the QAS at Webster Hall, as well as numerous choreographers and hundreds of contributors to the dance world.

Today was the first of what we hope will be many victories for dance and dancers in New York. We encourage continued support and donations.

Elected officials have this to say from the morning meeting:

“Dance New Amsterdam is an important cultural institution in Lower Manhattan, serving thousands of artists and tens of thousands of visitors – keeping the studio in Lower Manhattan is vital to the community. We will continue working together to reach a solution that will allow Dance New Amsterdam to remain in its home.”

-Senator Daniel Squadron

“I believe Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) is a critically important cultural institution. Since 9/11, the City and the State have spent an enormous amount of energy and money to attract businesses, residents, and services to Lower Manhattan. Ten years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, there is still a gaping hole at Ground Zero. It is the cultural organizations, like DNA, that have been contributing to the rebirth of Lower Manhattan while Ground Zero is still under construction. DNA is a vital and vibrant part of the downtown community at a very minimal cost in public money. Clearly, DNA has made significant contributions to the public and its continued growth is in the public interest.”

-Assembly member Deborah Glick

“Lower Manhattan has been historically starved for cultural institutions – and the space to house them. For over 25 years, Dance New Amsterdam has helped fill that void by offering dance classes, workshops, and gallery space to tens of thousands of New Yorkers. And in the wake of 9/11, the center became an essential part of the effort to rebuild the area. By employing over 500 artists downtown and generating three quarters of a million dollars a year in revenue for neighboring businesses, the center has also proven to be an important financial resource. We look forward to finding a way to bring all involved parties together to ensure Dance New Amsterdam can continue to serve the Downtown community.”

-Council Member Margaret Chin

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