Learn about past programs that Dance/USA has offered to the membership and the greater dance field. For more information about these programs, please contact us via email.
Support for Female Choreographers in Ballet
In line with Dance/USA’s mission to champion an equitable and inclusive dance field, Dance/USA administered a special program in 2019 to address the lack of female choreographers working in ballet. Male choreographers still create the majority of main-stage, evening length works for large budget ballet companies. To help raise the visibility of female choreographers working in mid and large budget ballet companies, Dance/USA partnered with the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation to award grants to member ballet companies that have both a proven track record of supporting female choreographers and have commissioned new works by female choreographers for the 2019-2020 season. A peer panel reviewed and selected the final six grantees* during the summer of 2019. The grant recipients were: Ballet Memphis, Charlotte Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and Nashville Ballet.
The female choreographers whose new work will be presented by the above mentioned grantees are: Julie Niekrasz and Crystal Michelle Perkins, Ballet Memphis; Chelsea Dumas, Charlotte Ballet;Heather Britt, Sarah Van Patten, Melissa Gelfin, and Andrea Schermoly, Cincinnati Ballet; Penny Saunders and Dani Rowe, Grand Rapids Ballet; Melissa Gelfin, Emily Mistretta, Courtney Nitting, and Melody Walsh, Kansas City Ballet; and Jennifer Archibald and Erin Kouwe, Nashville Ballet
*Eligible grantees were member ballet companies, with budgets between $1 million and $14.9 million, who had commissioned new works by at least one female choreographer in the 19-20 season, had a track record of presenting works by female choreographers, and had not received a grant by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation in the past five years.
Engaging Dance Audiences
With support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), Dance/USA launched Engaging Dance Audiences (EDA), a program that enabled Dance/USA and dancemakers to explore and research methods of engaging audiences for dance, learn from peers, and share the learning nationally. The program ran from 2009-2018.
During Round One, a pilot that was also supported by the James Irvine Foundation, case studies were developed on nine funded projects, with accompanying products to assist the field in replicating the methods that were explored and lessons learned. Grantees included: ODC, On the Boards, STREB, Walker Arts Center, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
During Round Two, Dance/USA accelerated its efforts to share the results from Round One, and supported its members in implementing new audience engagement practices. Offerings included professional development through online tools and in-person sessions; grant support for members in adapting the audience engagement methods from Round One to their own organizations and communities; and a learning community—both in person and online—to encourage exchange as ideas are adapted. Grantees included: Audience Architects, AXIS Dance Company, BalletX, Bandaloop, DANCECLeveland,Gibney Dance Center, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Joyce Theater, Misnomer Dance Theater, The Dance Enthusiast, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pentacle, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Stephen Petronio Company, STREB, University Musical Society, Vermont Performance Lab, and Wesleyan University, Center for the Arts. Read the Round Two grantee announcement.
During Round Three, direct support was provided to dance organizations to sustain and refine existing engagement programs that had shown success or strong potential of reaching dance audiences in one of two ways: a) enhancing the audience’s experience during engagement events, or b) engaging specific audiences. There was a commitment to supporting projects proposed by organizations that had a track record of engaging specific dance audiences, particularly audiences of color, the LGBTQ community, and/or people with disabilities. Grantees included: American Tap Dance Foundation, Angela’s Pulse in Collaboration with Junebug Productions, Bandaloop, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Chitresh Das Dance Company, Cincinnati Ballet, Collage Dance Theatre, Columbia College Chicago, CONTRA-TIEMPO, Dance Theatre Etcetera, Everett Dance Theatre, FirstWorks, Heritage Works, Holly Bass|360 with Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Keshet Dance Company, 651 ARTS, The Ware Center at Millersville University, Ragamala Dance, Urban Bush Women, University Musical Society, and Walker Art Center. Read the Round Three grantee announcement.
The emphasis during EDA Round Four was on refining existing engagement programs that had shown success at reaching dance audiences and communities. Grantees featured projects that met one of two objectives: 1) The projects refined an existing engagement program, focusing on the quality of the experience for the participating audience or community. 2) The organizations had a track record of engaging African, Latina/o, Asian, Arab, and/or Native American audiences, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, communities of faith, or incarcerated people and/or their families. Grantees included: Alabama Dance Council, Ananya Dance Theatre, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, CONTRA-TIEMPO, Dance/NYC, Dance Theatre Etcetera, Dancing Grounds, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Destiny Arts Center, Forklift Danceworks, Fresh Meat Productions, Heritage Works, Holly Bass|360, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Ping Chong + Company, TU Dance, Urban Bush Women, and Viver Brasil Dance Company. Read the Round Four grantee announcement.
Staff Residency Program
Between 2013-2014, Dance/USA participated in the EmcArts Innovation Lab for Arts Development Agencies, a learning experience that provided Dance/USA with the opportunity to explore its most complex challenges and implement learning activities to move towards adaptive responses for better supporting dance communities. During its participation in the EmcArts Innovation Lab, Dance/USA developed and piloted a staff residency program as a means of more deeply connecting with dance communities located throughout the United States. During the pilot program in 2014, residencies were completed in Denver and Miami.
2016-2017 marked the inaugural year of the full program. During this period, two Dance/USA staff members spent approximately 10 days based in their residency city, learning about the city’s dance ecosystem. Staff conducted interviews with local dance makers and cultural leaders, observed and participated in events where possible, and explored local resources. Learnings from the program were made publicly available and were used internally to inform Dance/USA’s programs and services and externally to increase the visibility of the work of dance makers in the residency city.
Dual Leadership: Partnering from the Inside Out
February 25-27, 2007, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 24–26, 2008, New Orleans, Louisiana
In collaboration with Theatre Communications Group and the Institute for Cultural Policy and Practice at Virginia Tech, Dance/USA offered a program for artistic and managing leaders from theatre and dance companies focused on the competencies and practices required to build strong team-based leadership models that advance the artistic vision and build a resilient and healthy organizational culture.