Step it Up NYC: Black Lives Matter

In 2021, we partnered with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development on the virtual production of the Step it Up NYC dance, step and service competition.

The Story

Step it Up NYC is a dance step and service competition. Youth dance and step teams from across New York City come together to create routines that speak to a cause they wish to address in their community. The program is over a decade old. It is run by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). We’ve been creating videos for the event since 2016. In 2020, we were nominated for a Webby for our PSA for the event, Step it Up for LGBTQ Rights. In 2021, the competition theme was Black Lives Matter. Together with DYCD, we won a Gold Medal at the inaugural Anthem Awards for this competition. 

The Process

  • Gibney Dance was DYCD’s dance partner and we coordinated with their team throughout the competition
  • To announce the competition, we edited this teaser video
  • After that, our team covered all production for the competition including videos streamed during the event and two live competition rounds
  • Production included a suite of custom animations
  • For the semifinals event, we advised the teams on how to record their performances for the biggest impact
  • Once the top 10 teams were selected, we location scouted for the best place to film teams’ final performance
  • The final performances were each filmed on location in one take with one camera
  • Afterward, we filmed an introductory performance with Gibney’s amazing group of judges at Lincoln Center and the surrounding area
  • Finally, we organized a conversation between Kadie Henderson, our competition host and Robert Hartwell, founder of the Broadway Collective
  • After the finale, we produced this video announcing the winners for social media

The Results

  • The finale for Step it Up NYC streamed on Juneteenth 2021
  • We integrated video vignettes about each team’s service work into the final stream 
  • During the stream, judges provided expert commentary, advice and general awesomeness. 
  • As a result of our collaboration, in 2022 we won a Gold Medal at the Anthem Awards – the social-good awards sponsored by the Webby’s
Learn more about DYCD here.