Improving lifelong outcomes for DC youth and communities. Advancing equity in the dance industry worldwide.

The unique model at Dance Institute of Washington (DIW) combines world class dance experiences with comprehensive subsidized services to improve academic, career, and community opportunities. ​The foremost minority-led dance equity organization in Washington, D.C., Dance Institute of Washington (DIW) impacts racial and economic equity in dance locally, nationally, and around the world. ​

Learn more on how DIW educators and experts in equity are changing the lives of students, the local arts economy, community-based organizations, and the concert dance industry through its three core areas: Educate, Create, and Advance

Award-Winning Program


"You have helped hundreds of boys and girls discover their strengths, their grace, their spirit; and you have given them wings to fly."
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
(Speaking about DIW’s Founder, Fabian Barnes)

Welcome to our family

Join us in revolutionizing the dance industry. Our equity-focused mission and global expert offerings ​affect individuals, organizations, communities, and the dance industry in Washington D.C. and the world.

Train With Us


The DIW Pre-Professional School supports students ages 3-17 and youth from D.C. communities, training artistic excellence at the highest level to build life-long skills and confidence through compassion, empowerment, academic discipline, emotional support, and nutritional guidance.

DIW’s Allegro Program offers a critical career bridge into the dance industry for young adults ages 18-24 that are SNAP-eligible and recent high school graduates through paid professional training, performance opportunities, and mentorship.

Support Our Work


We believe in providing opportunities for creators where they feel like they belong. In the heart of Columbia Heights, our fully equipped dance studios and Fabian Barnes Blackbox Theater are available at heavily subsidized rates to local artists and companies that have been historically barred from access by identity and financial barriers. ​ Curated offerings from the DIW Incubator and Community on 14th, provide space, mentorship, networking, and professional development opportunities in a welcoming environment focused on equity and representation.


DIW is a resilient, responsive, innovative organization. All decisions, programs, and experiences at DIW are grounded in the mission to advance racial and economic equity.

Having piloted a range of specific programs that are eliminating barriers and advancing equity in the concert dance and dance education industries, DIW Advance is in the process of testing, listening, refining, and designing new ways to manifest this core portion of our mission into programming, partnerships, and experiences to impact individuals and organizations worldwide.

Join us as we lead change in the dance industry and the ecosystem as a systems activist.