Dance/USA 2021 Institute for Leadership Training Guidelines and Criteria


The overarching goal of Dance/USA’s Institute for Leadership Training (DILT) is to build the leadership and resiliency skills of early-career dance leaders who represent the diversity of the national, professional dance community. The program has a specific focus on supporting BIPOC individuals; individuals with disabilities or working in physically integrated dance; and individuals from a diversity of gender identities including transgender, agender, gender fluid, genderqueer. All are welcome to apply regardless of Dance/USA membership.

DILT emphasizes regular communication between established leaders (mentors) and early-career leaders (mentees) to foster self-direction, self-reflection, and embracing challenge. Mentors are identified after the mentees have been selected; allowing for thoughtful pairing of mentees with mentors who will truly aid in the mentee’s needs and goals! The relationships between mentors and mentees extend beyond geographic boundaries, explore various areas of interest, foster community connections, and provide exposure to opportunities available in the field. A limited number of pairs are matched based on experience, area of interest, geography, and/or professional affiliations by the Dance/USA DILT Selection Committee.

The 2021 program will launch the week of the Dance/USA Virtual Conference, held June 14-16. From that time forward, participants will engage in a one-on-one mentorship experience.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY* for the 2021 Dance/USA Institute for Leadership Training now! 

*Please have PDFs of your resume/CV and brief bio ready to upload (required), as well as a link to an optional informal video statement describing your work, goals, and reasons for applying to the DILT Program (3 minute maximum; no performance reels, please).

*To view the application questions in advance, you may download a PDF copy of the application HERE. Your responses must be submitted through the online form above.

Application Deadline: Wednesday, March 10th, 2021 at 11:59 PM ET.

Learn more about our 2020 Mentees and 2020 Mentors.

There are three (3) elements to the DILT Program:

    During the week of the 2021 Dance/USA Virtual Conference, all mentees will convene at the DILT Seminar to become better acquainted with their fellow cohort and gain further leadership training. All mentees must attend the Seminar plus the full duration of the Conference (June 14-16; Seminar Date TBD) and will be able to participate in all Conference activities.
    Dance/USA emphasizes consistent one-on-one communication for two hours each month between mentor/mentee pairs for the duration of the program. Dance/USA recommends alternative methods of communication to assist pairs that stretch geographic boundaries (Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc.). Meetings are expected to be scheduled and driven by the mentee.
    Dance/USA will schedule three bi-monthly ZOOM check-in meetings with team and cohort members to hear about pairs’ progress, note common areas of interest among the cohort, and assist with any questions or concerns. During at least one of the check-ins, special guest speakers will be invited to address the cohort on various topics including (but not limited to) leadership, adaptive resilience, philanthropy, social change, and more!


You should apply if you identify as an emerging leader and fall under at least three of the following categories. You:

  • are an arts administrator or your primary role within the dance field is arts administrator
  • consider yourself a leader and are looking for an opportunity to grow your leadership and management skills within the dance sector;
  • are looking for ways to move to the next level of your career in the dance field;
  • have specific needs and goals related to the dance field that cannot be met with your current resources or within your current networks;
  • have the time and willingness to engage with a mentor for the sake of your desired advancement in the dance field;
  • have experienced barriers to advancement toward leadership in the dance field based on age, gender, race, religion, disability, familial status, income level, or other aspects of your social identity;
  • demonstrate a willingness to take personal and professional risks in order to further your career in the dance field;
  • are able to initiate and maintain consistent dialogue with your mentor and engage in self-reflection throughout the duration of the program; and
  • possess the ability to self-direct, an openness to challenges and opportunities, and a genuine interest in building a stronger career in the dance field.


DILT participants are selected by the DILT Selection Committee, a panel of dance industry leaders including Dance/USA Board of Trustees and staff members. When considering applicants, a focus was placed on:

  • Purpose | Dance/USA hopes to strengthen leadership within the professional dance field by supporting a diverse group of emerging dance leaders through the enhancement of leadership skills, growth of professional networks, gaining knowledge, and providing access to existing resources.
  • Need | This opportunity is intended for those who are looking for support in advancing their career and aim to be a leader within their organization and/or the professional dance field. We hope to identify applicants who stand to gain the most from this opportunity and who may have experienced barriers to advancing their career.
  • Desire | The ideal mentee is excited about the idea of having an impact on the dance field, desires leadership responsibilities, and has an interest in serving as a mentor to future generations. Ideal mentees are willing to participate in a program that is self-driven and requires personal initiative.
  • Viability | Applicants must be able to fully participate in DILT and commit to participating through the full duration of the program, including monthly meetings with a mentor, attendance at the Dance/USA Annual Conference, three check-in meetings with the Dance/USA team, and completion of all required program evaluations. Accepted applicants will agree to NOT participate in other mentorship related programs during the duration of DILT.

Questions about the program should be sent to Dance/USA’s Office Manager & Board Liaison, Jessica Denson, via email.