Dancing is like art in motion. Similar to spoken poetry, the grace and fluid body movements of dancers captivate the hearts and attention of the audience. Not everyone is gifted with such a talent. And if you are among the gifted, you need to hone your talent through the years because it can get rusty over time. Like singers, most dancers start to train young. They join dance classes and dance groups to build their familiarity with the different grooves and build their confidence on stage as well.
Dancers invest their time and effort in perfecting their craft. However, like with any other aspects of the arts in the country today, it is at serious risk of budget cuts that can affect productions and so much more. President Trump does not fully support the arts in his federal budget plans, so is education, free trade, etc. Will the industry ever cope with such a lack of support from the federal government or is it the end for everyone involved?
On Thursday, the Trump administration released a preliminary 2018 budget proposal, which details many of the changes the president wants to make to the federal government’s spending. The proposal covers only discretionary, not mandatory, spending.
To pay for an increase in defense spending, a down payment on the border wall and school voucher programs, among other things, funding was cut from the discretionary budgets of other executive departments and agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and the Agriculture Department took the hardest hits. The proposal also eliminates funding for 19 agencies.
There will be dance protests in an effort to raise awareness and catch the attention of the administration. What they seek is for Trump to allocate sufficient budget in all aspects of governance and not just pool all the resources on a select few.
So, on Thursday, the Dance Liberation Network and NYC Artist Coalition will host an event called “Let NYC Dance” in Brooklyn that aims to raise awareness about the outdated law and encourages people to sign a petition asking the Department of Cultural Affairs for its repeal.
“This law should have been taken off the books years ago,” said Let NYC Dance organizer Adam Snead. “The fact that it remains is not only an ugly blemish on a city that is seen as the cultural capital of America, but also a reminder that we are still not truly free to live out loud. If we cannot express ourselves through the simple, natural movement of dance, then how can we claim to truly be free?”
While we see dance as an art and as a form of entertainment, it actually generates a lot of profit from tourists both here and abroad. Without enough budget, local initiatives may also be affected in a big way.
Bush argues that access to arts and culture should not be determined by an individual’s financial state.
“Everyone should have access and opportunities to experience the arts regardless of their economic status, where they live, ethnicity or disability,” he said. “This budget proposal must not be approved. ASC, the cultural community and its supporters are reaching out to their representatives in Congress now and advocate to keep funding the NEA. It is my hope that fellow residents will do the same.”
TheU.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and NEA data from 2013 indicate that the arts provided America’s economy with $704 billion, and 4.2 percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product. The arts also provided 4.7 million jobs.
“Funding to the NEA serves as a significant leveraging tool that has helped create an entire industry of locally based small businesses and jobs that cannot be outsourced,” Bush said. “Investment in the NEA provides funding that promotes artistic innovation and addresses access social, technological and healthcare issues.”
Dance is an artistic and graceful expression of a nation’s rich history and culture. Although we could not put a monetary value on its impact to everyone, we could never put a price on its contribution to society in general. The threat of Trump’s budget cuts feels more real as the days go by. It is why artists all over the country unite in asking the president to make changes to his policies and consider the impact of the arts on the development of America as a first-world country from then until now.