Tucson, AZ (August, 2021) — Dancing In the Streets AZ (DITSAZ) of South Tucson and the greater Tucson area has received an AZ Organizational Relief Grant (ORG). Administered by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the AZ ORG Program directs relief funds allocated by Governor Doug Ducey from the State of Arizona’s Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund in support of arts and culture organizations across the state.

“During this Pandemic, Dancing In The Streets AZ, like other businesses was forced to close due to concerns about COVID- 19 and the Public Health. Prior to this Grant we had not received any of the Government financial assistance. Because of the nature of ballet classes, we were not able to offer drive-thru or take-out like restaurants to continue to bring in some kind of revenue. On-line ZOOM classes for the population we serve was not an option either, most of our students do not have a reliable internet provider, and/or they share one device with the whole household. The grant will help to ensure that DITSAZ can keep our doors open and continue providing high-quality classical ballet training to a population that would not have had this opportunity if we close. What makes us different than other studios is our commitment to our student’s success, which means sometimes we have to pick up and drop off students to and from class; purchase dance attire for students whose families can’t afford to purchase proper attire; purchase pointe shoes for advanced students; feed hungry students; refer parents to other organizations in our community to go for help. At DITSAZ, we feel that we are all in this together. This is a community investment and many of our students and families face inequitable access to quality education, gainful employment, food insecurity, and safe and stable housing. These inequities highlight the urgency of our mission to build thriving communities through the power of arts education. We don’t lower our standards even though we deal with a vulnerable population of students and families.” said Husband and wife Founders/Artistic Directors Joseph Rodgers and Soleste Lupu.

Intended as emergency relief for a sector that has been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis, AZ ORG grants were delivered through a simplified application and review process to over 300 arts and culture organizations throughout the state.

“Through the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the State of Arizona endeavors to ensure that all Arizonans can participate in and experience the arts,” said Jaime Dempsey, Executive Director, the agency’s Executive Director.

Dempsy added, “We believe the diversity of the arts ecosystem is a strength, the diversity of the arts ecosystem is essential to the wellbeing of communities and economies, and that arts workers, audiences, funders, and supporters have a vested interest in ensuring that a diverse arts ecosystem exists on the other side of the pandemic.”