PRESS RELEASE: Dance/USA Awards $1.2 Million to Engaging Dance Audiences Grantees; Grants Provide Project and General Operating Support to 23 Organizations

April 20, 2015

Contact: Johanna Tschebull

Washington, DC – Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, is pleased to announce that Engaging Dance Audiences (EDA), the national funding program focused on the implementation, refining, and sharing of dance audience engagement practices, will award $1,211,025 in funding to 23 organizations. The 23 grantees were selected through a rigorous national review by a peer panel.  Since EDA’s inception in 2008, Dance/USA has awarded more than 50 grants and related assistance totaling nearly $4 million. EDA was established through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. See the list of grantees here.

Building on past rounds that encouraged applicants to try new engagement methods, the emphasis in this third round of EDA is on sustaining and refining engagement programs that have been successful. EDA round three grantees feature projects that meet one or both of two objectives. 1) The projects sustain an existing engagement program, focusing particularly on the audience or community that experiences that program. 2) Their organizations have a track record of engaging dance audiences that have been historically underrepresented in the EDA grantee pool, including audiences of color, the LGBTQ community, and/or people with disabilities.

“We are very grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s ongoing commitment to increase and strengthen audience engagement practices in the national dance field,” said Dance/USA Executive Director Amy Fitterer. “I am personally excited that EDA round three will be supporting a broad range of grantees and projects and will be reaching specific audiences the program had not reached in past rounds. We look forward to continuing to share the learning of Engaging Dance Audiences with the wider field.”

EDA round three grantees include dance companies, presenting organizations, and service organizations, and represent a range of budget sizes and business models, from those that are fiscally-sponsored to multi-million dollar organizations. The grantees will partner with a number of organizations such as colleges, hospitals, social service agencies, corporations, and environmental organizations in order to engage with a wide range of audiences. This cohort of grantees represents a broad range of dance forms and styles, including African, ballet, bharata natyam, butoh, flamenco, Irish, kathak, Mexican folkloric, tap and other percussive forms, and a wide range of contemporary forms of expression. 

EDA Round Three Grantees and projects include the following:

  • Urban Bush Women will deepen the audience engagement around its Summer Leadership Institute through a public performance, drawing artists, audiences, and community organizers from around the country.
  • Chitresh Das will pursue Decoding Dance, a program that connects kathtak with tech professionals, using the principals of mathematics inherent in this highly complex dance style.
  • The Ware Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Millersville will host a residency with AXIS Dance Company, working with its campus disability program, the local community, and veterans.
  • Cincinnati Ballet will tailor a performance of its Nutcracker to people of varying abilities and sensory sensitivities.

“We are delighted to support a third round of Dance/USA’s Engaging Dance Audiences, which has demonstrated important success in helping expand audiences for dance at recipient organizations nationwide,” said Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “With this most recent round, Dance/USA demonstrates its commitment to listen to the dance field, capitalize on lessons learned in previous rounds, and now increase its reach to serve a greater diversity of the dance community.  We are especially pleased to be able to continue offering complementary general operating funds to their project grants as both a recognition of their importance in the arts community and a way of promoting their longer term financial health.”

To augment project support totaling $963,025, a core operating support grant is being provided to each grantee. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation offers this additional, generous funding of $248,000 to provide greater stability to the arts sector and to deepen its commitment to groups identified as leaders. These funds may be used for whatever purposes best support the organizations.

Visit the Dance/USA website for a full list of the EDA round three grantees and the project descriptions, and information about the review panels.  

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.

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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