EDA Round Three Overview and Guidelines

Engaging Dance Audiences (EDA) is made possible with generous support from the Doris Duke CharitableFoundation.

EDA was conceived in 2008 to significantly increase the dance field’s capacity to engage audiences by researching, implementing and documenting effective and forward-thinking practices, and sharing them with the field. In this third round of EDA, Dance/USA members and the field at large will again benefit from direct funding and related professional development services.  The program structure of EDA Round Three involved significant changes from previous rounds; read more about the changes here.  Read the press release announcing the renewal of funding here

Note:  Round Three is over.  View the grantee list The overview below is provided for information purposes. 

Three Related Components

Funding Structure

EDA’s three components are designed to advance the dance field’s effectiveness in audience engagement through 1)  Support for Projects and Operating Costs, 2) Technical Assistance, and 3) Creation of a Learning Community.

1.  Support for Projects and Operating Costs

Direct support was provided to dance organizations to sustain and refine existing engagement programs that have shown success at or strong potential of reaching dance audiences. In addition, at the time of their applicaiton, dance orgnaizations were required to meet one or both of the following objectives:

Option A) Focusing on Audience Experiences. 

Rather than be required to design new programs, grantees will apply to sustain an existing engagement program, focusing particularly on the audience or community that experiences that program.  Successful applicants will be expected to articulate the experiences that they wish their dance audiences to have during engagement activities and propose program refinements that realize these experiences. Ideally, grantees will strengthen their relationships with their dance audiences and learn about these audiences’ experiences at engagement activities.  

Option B) Engaging Specific Audiences. 

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.  There is particular interest in supporting organizations to sustain or refine their engagement of audiences of color, the LGBTQ community, and/or people with disabilities.   The most competitive applications will establish clear links between the proposed audience project and the organization’s mission, track record and capacity. 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.


Applicants must have:

  • 501(c)3 nonprofit status at the time of application or apply through a fiscal sponsor.
  • Paid administrative staff.
  • Existed for at least three years by the time of application.
  • An annual operating budget of at least $150,000.

Grant Amounts 

It is anticipated that between 20-25 grants of up to $46,250 each to support audience engagement programs will be awarded. Additionally, in an effort to acknowledge the costs of implementing projects, the grants will be augmented with general operating support of almost 30% of the grant amount, for a total funding amount of up to $58,650. 

The total funding allocation is $1,173,000, including $925,000 for project support and $248,000 for general operating support. It is anticipated that the total project funding allocation of $925,000 will be split about evenly between the two objectives. In making decisions about grant amounts, the panel will take into account the organization’s capacity, as indicated in part by its budget size.  The intent is for the project scope to match the organization’s capacity to complete and administer it.

Review Criteria

-For All Applicants

  • Clarity and specificity of the project’s goals, planning, and engagement activities, as well as target audience(s). 
  • Ability to implement the project, as shown through factors such as staff qualifications, management, and financials.
  • Appropriateness of the proposed project budget and timeline.
  • Likelihood that the project will be successful at engaging dance audiences, and that it will support audiences in meaningful ways and engage them more deeply.
  • Artistic quality of artists and/or works proposed, if relevant to project.  

-For Option A

  • Clarity of the intended audience experience to take place before, during and/or after the engagement activity.  

-For Option B

  • Track record of organization and project in reaching specific audiences as listed in Option B. 

Application Process (Updated)  

All organizations could apply to EDA, including those that are not currently Dance/USA members.  Applicants first submitted a Letter of Inquiry (LOI).  The deadline for the LOI was 5:30 pm Eastern Time, on Friday, November 21, 2014, when 117 LOIs were received.  In mid-December 2014, two peer panels invited 46 to submit full applications. The deadline for full applications was Friday, January 23, 2015, at 5:30 Eastern Time.  The full application guidelines were distributed in November 2014.  Grantees were selected in March 2015. 

For more information, refer to the list of Frequently Asked Questions. In addition, Dance/USA encourages members to peruse and use the content on audience engagement that EDA has produced on the EDA Resource Library.

2.  Technical Assistance

Grantees will have the option of receiving technical assistance from specialized consultants or Dance/USA staff who have expertise in audience engagement, project management, budgeting, evaluation and/or audience research.  This added benefit, which is available to grantees at no cost, will allow them to access professional services that might support their project but otherwise would be unaffordable. The intent is to support grantees in administering their projects and in learning more about the audience’s experience of attending engagement events.  More information will be shared about this component in conjunction with the Application Package, by November 2014. 

3.  Creation of a Learning Community

A benefit of this program is the opportunity to participate in the professional development activities for grantees that will run from the summer of 2015 to the summer of 2016, both online and at conferences. Based in part on the enthusiasm of both rounds of grantees about meeting together as peers, grantees are again being funded to not only undertake their projects, but also to actively participate in a learning community about engaging audiences. Information and learning will continue to be shared with the Dance/USA membership and broader dance field at meetings and online.  Grantees will be required to attend, in-person, two meetings: one in June 2015 and one in June 2016. Travel costs will be covered.

Additionally, grantees will have the option of visiting another EDA grantee to observe their engagement activities and meet their staff.  Travel would be paid for the site visit, outside of the grant amount. See the Grantee Timeline for additional information.

Schedule Overview

Letter of Inquiry Deadline

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 5:30 pm Eastern time.  Confirmation of receipt will be sent via email by Friday, November 28, 2014.  

Notification of Invitation to Apply

Monday, December 15, 2014

Full Proposal Deadline

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 5:30pm Eastern time

Notification of Funding Decisions

By Friday, March 27, 2015

Earliest Project Start Date

June 1, 2015

Latest Project End Date

August 31, 2016

Grantee Peer Learning Community

From the summer of 2015 to the summer of 2016

Grantee First In-Person Meeting (Required)

Two days between June 16-18, 2015 in Miami, FL, just prior to Dance/USA conference (EDA covers travel). Meeting will take place over two days, with grantees traveling the day before.

Interim Report Due

February-March 2016

Second In-Person Meeting (Required)

June 2016, prior to Dance/USA conference (EDA covers travel)

Final Report Due

August 31, 2016 or up to 60 days after project end date, whichever is earlier. All final reports must be submitted by the early fall of 2016.

For more details on what to expect during the grant period, see the EDA Round Three Grantee Tentative Timeline.

What Happens to Your Application

After the deadlines stated above both the LOIs and full applications will be reviewed for their completeness.  Both LOIs and applications will be reviewed by a peer panel comprised of experts who specialize in areas including choreography, presenting, services, and audience engagement, and reflective of a range of demographics.  During February-March 2015, applicants may be contacted for additional information.

To Get Help or Ask Questions

As a national service organization, Dance/USA is available and ready to assist all organizations, regardless of membership status, in understanding EDA and accessing its support. EDA is co-managed with Callahan Consulting for the Arts. Suzanne Callahan, consultant and EDA program manager, is available and ready to discuss your project ideas and answer any questions.  Organizations are encouraged to contact her in advance of either deadline. Contact her at 202.955.8325 or eda@danceusa.org.

EDA Serves the Broader Dance Field

Dance/USA strongly believes that the dance field as a whole will benefit if it builds stronger connections with audiences.  To that end, EDA is committed to sharing a range of resources with the field at large, for free.  Visit the EDA Resource Library to view content that might assist you in engaging your audiences.  There you will find webinars, videos from live training sessions, reports on audience research, and tools to help you plan your budget and staffing needs for audience engagement.  Our newest resource is the Audience Engagement Online Cookbook, a searchable database of audience engagement practices, built initially from the content of the EDA projects themselves so that you can learn from and also contribute to the dance field’s growing resources in audience engagement.

Learn about the Letter of Inquiry process.
Review the
Round Three Frequently Asked Questions
Read about What's New in Round Three
View the Round Three Grantee Tentative Timeline
Read the press release announcing funding for Round Three. 

Peruse the audience engagement resources, including the EDA Principlescontent from Round One projectsresearch, and content from Round Two Learning Exchanges.   

Go to the main EDA page.
Go to EDA Round One.
Go to EDA Round Two.