National initiatives give Dance/USA agency to respond to an issue or need in the field. In order to best use the opportunity, Dance/USA conducted planning to help assess the state of the field and its needs — needs that are appropriate for a national service organization to address and that would advance Dance/USA’s commitment to equity. DFA was designed with the dance community, rather than for it, and directly informed by the field and some of the communities that will be served.
Dance/USA began with a committee from the arts and funding fields, including artists. Dance/USA then sought guidance from a different group of artists and administrators, who reviewed the guidelines and offered feedback. They included representatives from indigenous, transgender, and disability communities, as well as the folk/traditional dance and social justice fields.
In addition, we acknowledge the leadership and work of the Leeway Foundation, as well as the Jerome Foundation, whose language informed the structure of the application process.
Dance/USA views DFA as a logical, yet progressive, outgrowth of Engaging Dance Audiences, which funded organizations that engaged audiences and communities. Within recent Rounds of EDA, engagement was often defined by artists in the context of the creative process they employed, work they made, issues of concern to them, and community(s) with which they worked.
Finally, Dance/USA would like to thank all individuals who played a role in shaping this new program. Because this is the first round of an ambitious new initiative, Dance/USA views the program as in development.
DFA will benefit from continued input from the dance field. Please share information about this program with dance artists who are eligible and qualified.
Return to DFA Overview.