DFA Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: This FAQ is from the pilot round of DFA.

Dance artists interested in applying for the new program, Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists, are encouraged to review these frequently asked questions. Additional Questions are being posted prior to the LOI deadline and flagged as New

About Eligibility

How do I know if I am eligible?All applicants are strongly encouraged to carefully review the eligibility criteria and program priorities, read all FAQs in this section, and then contact the program manager with any questions. 

I have worked as a dance artist for a long time but do not have seven years in arts and social change. Can I apply? Applicants who do not have the required experience are not encouraged to apply.

Why do you require seven years of experience? Through the DFA planning process our advisors felt that artists generally require at least that long to develop a solid practice; seven years allows time to learn what works and even experience some failure. 

Why will you not consider artists who have received major national fellowships? Other fellowship programs that serve dance artists directly are important but can support only a few dance artists, most of whom are well established, rather than supporting the field at large. DFA is designed to support artists who have not obtained such major support.

New:  I have received several national grants personally, as an individual artist, all under $100,000. Am I eligible?  Yes, but in order to determine your competitiveness, it is recommended that you speak to the program manager about your circumstances.  

I work as a performer and administrator for a well-known dance company. Am I eligible to apply for my own work? Yes.

Do I need to have performed concerts in traditional theaters? No. 

Could an artist apply to work with a community or social justice issue that is new to them? It is unlikely that the artist will be competitive.

Do you have to be a Dance/USA Member by the LOI deadline? No.

Can applicants who choreograph jointly apply? Yes, as long as they have a history of jointly created works and/or practice.

New: Can artists who are primarily living and working in abroad apply?  No. DFA is designed to support artists living and working within the U.S.

About the Letter of Inquiry

New: Within the LOI form, I am asked to describe my “community(s).”  Does the term “community” primarily refer to the geographic location where my work happens?  No, not necessarily. Community in this context means the group(s) of people with whom you choose to work, which might be defined by ethnicity, gender, ability, age, location, income, faith and/or other such characteristics. 

New: Funding opportunities for individual artists are rare.  Am I correct that I am not required to complete a project?  Correct. 

New: Can artists submit more than one Letter of Inquiry? No.

Can artists who are not working in dance apply? No.

I have never applied for this type of funding before. Is help available? Yes! Visit this page to learn about all forms of assistance that are available to applicants, including coaching and webinars. DFA is co-managed with Callahan Consulting for the Arts. The  DFA program director is available to assist applicants until the deadline. Contact DFA staff at fellowships@danceusa.org.

New: Within the LOI form, I am asked to provide “a description that would aid the panel in understanding how you operate.” What does “operate” mean here? Describe the team of people, including volunteers, that provide support to help you with your artistic practice.

About the Full Application and Review

Do I have to submit work samples? Samples will be required at the full application phase only. Guidance on how to submit them will be provided to applicants. The samples will be only one piece of information considered.

How will the applications be reviewed? After an internal screening for eligibility and completeness, the LOIs will be reviewed by a peer panel of individuals, including artists, consultants, managers, and educators with expertise in a range of dance forms as well as social justice issues.  A subset of them will review the full applications.

Who is on the panel? The identities of the panelists will be shared in April 2019, after fellows are selected.

What will the DFA Network do? It will have two in-person meetings, a webinar series, and other opportunities for fellows to network and receive support.  

Will a budget be required as part of the application? No.

About the Fellowship Period

Can fellows send a dancer or another person to the national meetings? No. 

Do all fellows have to complete a visibility-raising activity, such as a webinar or podcast?  Yes. 


Why did Dance/USA phase out Engaging Dance Audiences? Dance/USA views DFA as a  logical, yet progressive, outgrowth of EDA, which funded organizations that engaged audiences and communities. As EDA evolved, concepts of engagement shifted from standard interactions with audiences attending proscenium performances to deepening artists’ and presenters’ relationships with their communities. Within recent rounds of EDA, engagement was often defined by artists in the context of the creative process, work made, issues of concern, and community(s) with which they worked.

Is there any grant support for organizations? At this time, no grants are available for organizations. However, Dance/USA offers many services for organizations in the dance field, including convenings, research, advocacy, and preservation. Find out more here.

Return to DFA Overview and Guidelines.