PRESS RELEASE: Dance/USA to Present Trustees Award to Douglas Sonntag

April 3, 2017

Contact: Johanna Tschebull
202.833.1717 x106

Washington, DC – Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, is pleased to announce the 2017 Dance/USA Trustees Awardee:

  • Douglas Sonntag, Former Director of Dance, National Endowment for the Arts.

Dance/USA will present the Trustees Award during the Opening Night Celebration on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at the 2017 Dance/USA Annual Conference, in Kansas City, MO. The Opening Night Celebration will take place at Union Station and will include a cocktail hour, a performance, presentation of the Dance/USA awards, and dinner. Early Bird registration rates are available until Friday, April 7, 2017. Register for the Conference here. If you are a member of the press interested in attending the Conference, learn more here.

“Doug has dedicated thirty years to supporting dance at the national level,” said Dance/USA Executive Director Amy Fitterer.  “He has had an enormous impact on the field of dance.”

As previously announced, the 2017 Dance/USA Honor Award will be presented to Cleo Parker Robinson, Founder and Artistic Director, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance; the 2017 Dance/USA ‘Ernie’ Award will be presented to Gina Gibney, Artistic Director & CEO, Gibney Dance; and the 2017 Dance/USA Champion Award will be presented to Billie Mahoney, Kansas City dance artist. Learn more about the 2017 Dance/USA Honorees here.

Sonntag has worked for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) since 1986. At the NEA, he served as a dance program specialist, administrator and from 1997 to 2017 as the director of dance where he oversaw the review of thousands of applications from dance companies, presenters, service organizations and archives. In addition, Sonntag served the NEA as the director of performing arts, the director of the Creativity Connects initiative, and as the project manager for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants that awarded $50,000,000 in federal stimulus funds to arts organizations across the United States.  From 2004-2008, he also served as the director of the NEA’s Office of National Initiatives where he oversaw such projects as the Dance Critics Conference, which expanded to include music and theater critics, American Masterpieces, Shakespeare in American Communities, Operation Homecoming, and Save America’s Treasures. To celebrate the millennium he designed a project that would become the National College Choreography Initiative that was administered by Dance/USA.  Read more here.

The Opening Night Celebration is supported in part by Brancato’s Catering, Harvest Productions, and Union Station Kansas City. Freed of London is proud to exclusively sponsor this year’s Dance/USA Honor Award presented to Cleo Parker Robinson.

About the 2017 Dance/USA Annual Conference
Dance/USA will host its 9th Annual Conference in Kansas City, MO from June 7-10, 2017. Dance/USA will also be celebrating its 35th Anniversary in 2017! From executive directors and emerging arts leaders to managers and presenters, agents and artists, hundreds of individuals associated with the professional dance field will convene in Kansas City for networking, creative conversation, enriching training sessions, discussion on important issues facing the field. 

Programming at the Conference will be a mix of discussion-based sessions and practical breakout sessions. Broad questions that will drive programmatic content and conversations will be: How will we continue to finance dance, How will dance deal with constant technological change, and What is the social responsibility of dance? Dance/USA’s core values of equity, inclusion, and diversity will serve as a lens by which the design of all topics and sessions will pass through including but not limited to the diversity of voices being presented, addressing the needs of the diverse group of Conference attendees, and program designs that allow for active discussion

The 2017 Annual Conference will be campus style to showcase the beauty of Kansas City’s local venues including Union Station, Kansas City Ballet’s Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, National World War I Museum and Memorial, and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 

For more information about the 2017 Dance/USA Annual Conference, please visit our website here.

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. We are committed to honoring, nurturing and advancing dance through the lens of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity in all aspects of our programming, services and organization.

Dance/USA is the national service organization for the professional dance field. Established in 1982, Dance/USA sustains and advances professional dance by addressing the needs, concerns, and interests of artists, administrators, and organizations. By providing national leadership and services, Dance/USA enhances the infrastructure for dance creation and distribution, education, and dissemination of information. Learn more about Dance/USA by visiting our website, 

Dance/USA is grateful to the following: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Shubert Foundation.  Additional thanks to 2017 Annual Conference sponsors: Arts Insurance Program; ArtsKC; Black Archives of Mid-America; Belger Arts Center; Brancato’s Catering; Capacity Interactive; Ally, Dr. Jessie Ng, and Dr. Tom Curran; DeWitt Stern Group; Francis Family Foundation; Freed of London; G. Schirmer, Inc.; Gaynor Minden; Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Harlequin Floors; Harvest Productions; JCCC, The Performing Arts Series; Kansas City Ballet; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts; LEAGUE at AT&T; Mid-America Arts Alliance; Missouri Arts Council; MTH Theater; Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation; National World War I Museum and Memorial; Overland Chauffeured Services; Parisi Artisan Coffee; PB&J Restaurants; The Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts/Commerce Bank, Trustee; The Scout Guide Kansas City; Select Physical Therapy; Tico Productions; Super Shuttle; and Union Station Kansas City.

Skip to content