Change does not come by itself, we need to make it happen
for all of us
DEI for Dance=DEID
Message from the co-founder & DEI officer of sarAika movement collective Aika Takeshima
I have seen a wide range of dance companies that have started to work on diversity, inclusion and equity, but their focus is mostly on diversity, especially hiring POC and not on inclusion at the same level as other corporations have been working. As a certified DEI practitioner as well as the co-founder of a dance company in NYC, DEI work in dance industries is still a long way to go.
For example, we contemporary artists are more likely open to diverse gender/sexuality, culture, behavior, unique thoughts,etc in general. However, it suddenly becomes difficult when it comes to their creation. The environment that most of the NYC dance companies use is top-down style. Typically, the founder is also the choreographer who decides the company’s artistry. Depending on their artistic mission and preference, their DEI work can be easily limited. If the company’s mission is to empower women, they might find it difficult to hire male dancers and even transgender female dancers. Another example is that their artistic preference can cause their unavailability in opening to listen to others suggestions.
Co-founder/director & DEI practitioner of sarAika movement collective
DEI is not just a number game of hiring more people of color.
Creating an inclusive environment and leverage the diversity you have.
That is the DEI.
If you only focusing on increasing the number of people of color and not working on inclusion, it will lead you to end up with piling dissatisfaction; just a gathering of different ways to solve problms/behave/think/talk/manage things with different culture/norms/expectation, which can be caotic. The effective DEI strategy should benefit everyone. Successful DEI work by major corporations have proved that the real DEI is working also for white male.
As a dance company whose co-founder is their own certified DEI practitioner, we understand dance companies’ values: artistry, dancers’ performing skill and DEI.
That is why I am here to deliver the effective DEI strategy
for the dance industry.
And I named it DEI for Dance
Sara Pizzi & Aika Takeshima, the founders of sarAika movement collective, are immigrants, women, POC, multidisciplinary artists, dancer-choreographers, activist and LGBTQIA+ supporters and representatives. We make art for and about people, representing and empowering the communities we belong to and creating awarewnss of topical aspects to spark creativity, reflection and imagination.
DEI Education for dance industry
Our company advocates for a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. We aim to offer the platform which we have been looking for, a safe place of growth and launch desired from our diverse communities. And we aim to spread them in the dance industry.
The balance of your artistry and diverse professionals - it is challenging, but not impossible and it will be an innovative creation if you find the proper strategy and keep taking action.
What we've done
August 2022~July 2023
1. Renewal of contracts/protocols
Implemented DEI value to our contracts, Examined format and terminology of all sarAika’s documents & company protocols
2. Added "multiracial" to the demographic survey
3. Added pronouns to all of our names in our website and email
4. Made DEI for Dance seminars
5. Offered the seminars online 4times
DEI foundation, unconscious bias, microaggression, DEI strategic framework
6. Proactive attendance to more diverse community events
Offered community dance classes for emerging dancers, Immigrant women in NY, Queens, Mental health awarness event, Roe v. Wade, Women rights, and more
Introduction of sarAika
sarAika movement collective is a contemporary/conceptual dance collective based in New York since 2021, funded by Aika Takeshima and Sara Pizzi, who are immigrants, women, POC, multidisciplinary artists, dancer-choreographers, activist and LGBTQIA+ supporters and representatives.
sarAika is dedicated to making art about and for humans creating awareness and reflection on actual social issues and self-consciousness, breaking the concept of standard performance creating collaborative, conceptual, interactive art experiences.
sarAika strongly believes in the power of art. It raises individual self confidence, leading to the understanding of diversity, opening the doors to eliminate prejudice and discrimination. No matter one’s career, their being – emotions, conscious and unconscious thoughts, and life experience – are expressed through art, which we capture to bring a wider perspective to the world.
Make art about and for humans, facilitating their process of finding more freedom and possibilities in themselves, through our movements, words, and passion.
Thus, opening space to allow everyone to be authentic to themself,
bringing comfort in togetherness, to ultimately grow the strength and bond our community.
DEI unlocks innovation and builds sarAika where we all can feel respected, safe to be authentic ourselves, belonging and contributing.
3 Key elements to ask ourselves/ our professionals/collaborators to achieve our DEI goals:
Why we focus on DEI
Taking in consideration the founding value of sarAika movement collective, we are a collaborative dance company which makes art about and for humans, that is able to create unexpected creative work, a diverse workforce & inclusive, equitable work environment, which we consider fundamental for the growth and longevity of our workflow. In addition, as representatives of underrepresented communities such as LGBTQIA+, immigrants, POC, and women, ensuring our professionals and all of our communities are respected, feel safe and belong are essential.
Stabilize and improve our DEI work
Last year was our starting year of DEI work and could succesfully buiid the foundation in order to spread the awarness to people. The next thing to do is to actually spread, improve and optimize them. We are going to reflect and utilize what we’ve experienced last year and reach out to more organization in the dance industry by offering DEI for Dance webinars, interviewing and open discussions as well as monitoring on sarAika’s work environment itself.
sarAika’s DEI for Dance focus areas:
Our DEI for Dance strategy is how we activate everyone’s curiosity and trust in each other and bring a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture to life every day.
sarAika appreciate each one’s differences and commit to make an environment where everyone respects each other’s differences, trusts in ourselves as a team, feel safe to be authentic themselves, belonging, and their voice is heard.
When everyone can feel so, we can perform our best.
(Adapting The People Company DEI Implementation Framework, 2022 by Deborah Biddle.)
DEI for Dance STRATEGIC PLAN
Building an inclusive, respectful collaborative and professional company culture through
-Implement DEI value to our contracts
-DEI training to our professionals (as representatives, teachers & members)
-Make tailored summary of our DEI training to share to all our collaborators
-Pulse survey to our professionals
-Feedback survey to collaborators
-Examine format and terminology of all sarAika’s documents & company protocols
-Involving workrs voice more into our creation
Addressing diversity gaps in our workforce/collaborators pipeline through
-Proactive attendance to various community events, teaching and performing in various community/area
-Build our methodology classes regularly where emerging dancers can learn the skills to be a professional dancer level
-Creation of community event/residency in the support of local companies/schools
Making an impact to communities of dance facilities in New York City with our DEI method specialized in dance industry through
-Interviewing with them about their DEI environment
-Create platforms to discuss DEI such as “What is DEI and the struggle in the dance industry?”
-Spread awarness by social media
-DEI for Dance webinars
How do we tell our DEI message?
- To Audience/clients(=curators, directors, schools, students, collaborators, supporters)
-Social media branding, website, news letter, flyers, promotion
- To Applicants
-Social media branding, website, hiring ads, event pages
- Our professionals
-Pulse survey, daily behavior, learning & growing together
What do we tell them about DEI?
- sarAika’s DEI value
- Current state, sarAika’s Goal of DEI
- Sharing our DEI methods or tips
- Promotion in the context of event/training/ regarding DEI
DEI for Dance seminars
- Foundation of DEI (Dimensions of diversity, Differences from previous effort, What is DEI?, Why do we need DEI?, Effects & Trends of DEI, Keys to foster inclusive culture, Considerations in dance industry)
- Unconscious bias & Microaggression
- Basic DEI framework
- Cultural competencies, Cultural appropriation
- Inclusive casting, Widening your artistry for more innovative work with inclusive and diverse casts
Our process of DEI
- Annual survey and event feedbacks about demography & satisfaction to workers and collaborators
(How is your leader’s leadership? Could you share your opinions enough and were those heard enough? Did your leader and co-workers respect you? etc…)
- Demographics of clients,donors,audience,commentators, engagement,students, directors, curators and communities we interact with.
- Diversity score cards and Checklist
- The number of publicity about our DEI(social media, news letter, poster, etc)
What we are going to do for the next steps
1. Offering DEI for Dance webinars to our professionals and other organizations
2. Improving and Making more DEI for Dance seminars
3. Interviewing with other dance related organization
3. Proactive attendance to more diverse community events
4. Creating Diversity score cards and Checklist specialized in dance industry
After the analysis and study of all sarAika’s achievements, vision and future goals, we arrived to the conclusion of although the amount of dance works are notably increasing thanks to all the communities, sarAika’s willingness of improvements using DEI consulting approach and the openness to innovating programs, these factors are the right propositive element to define an environment full of flexibility and potential that will lead the company to accomplish a successful growth. Thus, we keep comitting to DEI for Dance both inside and outside of sarAika movement collective.
By listening to one another, challenging what’s possible, and living our values of Respect for All People, Continuous Improvement, and Act for Others, we will continue to make our workplace, communities, and world better for all.
Every day we commit ourselves to continuous improvement.
We know DEI is a journey, not a destination.
DEI for Dance is expanding possibilities and lighting our path to a limitless future.
DEI for Dance survey
Share with us anything you would like to know about DEI, questions or concerns! This is an anonymous format.
Contact us for Free initial consultation
for DEI for dance
What would you like to know about DEI? What is your concern? Where to start? Any issues have been rising up in your organization?
Any questions or requests would be welcomed.
Share all of them with us in a 30mins completely free initial cosultation.