PRESS RELEASE: Engaging Dance Audiences Receives $1.873 Million in Renewed Funding

September 23, 2014

Contact: Johanna Tschebull

Washington, DC – Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to renew Engaging Dance Audiences (EDA), the national funding program focused on the implementation, refining, and sharing of dance audience engagement practices.  In this third round of EDA, Dance/USA will distribute the grants to meet two objectives that are designed to sustain audience engagement programs. Additionally, the program will be expanded to allow those beyond the membership of Dance/USA to apply and the application process has been simplified through the addition of a Letter of Inquiry phase. 

Building on past rounds that encouraged applicants to try new engagement methods, the emphasis in EDA Round Three will be on sustaining and refining engagement programs that have been successful.  Applicants can meet one or both of two objectives.  1) They can apply to sustain an existing engagement program, focusing particularly on the audience or community that experiences that program. 2) There is a commitment to supporting projects proposed by organizations that have a track record of engaging dance audiences that have been historically underrepresented in the EDA grantee pool, with particular interest in supporting organizations to sustain or refine their engagement of audiences of color, the LGBTQ community, and/or people with disabilities. The panel for EDA Round Three will be charged with curating a portfolio of grantees whose audiences better address the changing demographics of the nation.

“We believe that one of our country’s greatest strengths is its diversity–in races, ethnicities, belief systems, and cultural practices, including art forms and genres,” said Amy Fitterer, executive director of Dance/USA. “Dance/USA is thrilled to be given this opportunity to not only refine and sustain what we have learned about audience engagement, but also to expand our circle of support and share the information widely. We are deeply grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for their continued support of this vital project.”

“We were pleased to see that the second round of Engaging Dance Audiences built upon the inspiring success of the first round, again supporting exemplary projects and generating important research for the entire field,” said Ben Cameron, program director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “As such, we’re thrilled to support a third round of grants. Recognizing that our grants have been flat for the last five years in the wake of the economic downturn even while costs and needs have increased, increasing the grant sizes was a high priority.  We are happy now to be able to move in that direction with this new increased grant for this excellent program. ”

In order to expand the program’s reach, dance organizations that are not currently members will be permitted to apply alongside members for a Letter of Inquiry in the fall of 2014, with a number invited to submit full applications. After an application deadline in early 2015, up to 25 grants of up to $46,250 will be given to audience engagement projects that take place from June 2015 to the summer of 2016.  In an effort to acknowledge the costs of implementing new projects, the grants will be augmented with general operating support of about one-third of the grant amount.  

Visit the Dance/USA website to view the EDA Round Three guidelines and application information, including what is new in this round. 

The EDA Project Manager is Suzanne Callahan, founder of Callahan Consulting for the Arts, who has managed EDA and other re-granting programs for Dance/USA and other organizations.  Along with the Dance/USA staff, EDA’s activities will be supported by a team of culturally diverse advisors and facilitators.  

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Arts Program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz, and theatre artists, and the organizations that nurture, present, and produce them. For more information, please visit

About Dance/USA

We believe that dance is essential to a healthy society, demonstrating the infinite possibilities for human expression and potential, and facilitating communication within and across cultures.

Dance/USA is the national service organization for the professional dance field. Established in 1982, Dance/USA serves a diverse national membership of dance groups working in the genres of aerial, ballet, contemporary, culturally-specific, hip-hop, ice, international, jazz, liturgical, single-choreographer, and tap, dance presenters, dance service organizations, dance agents, dance educators, independent dancers, freelance choreographers, students of arts administration and/or dance and business in service to dance, and individuals related to the field. Learn more about Dance/USA by visiting our website,

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