PRESS RELEASE: Philadelphia Dance Service Organization to Close

November 22, 2014

Contact: Johanna Tschebull

Washington, DC – Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, has reached the difficult but unavoidable decision to close Dance/USA Philadelphia (Dance/UP), the Philadelphia branch office of Dance/USA, due to the sudden loss of funding from the William Penn Foundation.

“This is heartbreaking news; we are saddened to lose our talented team in Philadelphia and we wish we could keep the branch office going.  This decision is not a reflection on the quality of the work accomplished by Dance/UP.  Dance/UP Director Lois Welk and her team are doing phenomenal work and were recognized by national funders for their projects and initiatives with the local community, including her theatre subsidy program, New Stages for Dance, that was replicated in Chicago and San Francisco; the exciting Dance in Public Places program that created space for dance in unique public venues; and her portable dance floor rental program that addressed an immediate need in the dance community. We have worked hard to diversify the revenue of Dance/UP. Regrettably no one funder could replace the operating support from the William Penn Foundation.”  Amy Fitterer, Dance/USA Executive Director.

Dance/UP serves an estimated 2,000 individual professionals including choreographers, educators, artistic directors, managers, designers, writers, and curators and is an integral part of the vibrant Philadelphia dance community.   Dance/UP provides a range of services for the Philadelphia dance community, including hosting one-on-one consultations with Director Lois Welk; helping to underwrite 97 home seasons by local dance companies through the New Stages for Dance initiative; showcasing 37 dance groups in the Dance in Public Places program, which was experienced by 8,000 people; producing the Philadelphia Dance Showcase, and partnering with the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance on the Phillyfunguide, which helps maintain a public-access calendar of dance events in Philadelphia.

Dance/USA hopes to find ways to preserve services currently provided by Dance/UP, including working with local community organizations to adopt selected programs. It is Dance/USA’s goal to execute this difficult transition as professionally and elegantly as possible, treating staff and stakeholders with respect and leaving as much value behind in the community as possible.

About Dance/UP

Following the recommendation from the Philadelphia dance community to establish a local dance service organization and a report published by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the William Penn Foundation on the Philadelphia dance community’s infrastructure needs, Dance/UP was launched in 2007 with start-up funding from the William Penn Foundation. From the beginning, Dance/UP was supported by the local community, managed by local artists, and provided services to local dancemakers. Dance/UP’s mission is to advocate for dance as an art form and vital component of our culture, to increase the capabilities of dance artists and organizations, and to enhance the public’s awareness and support for dance. For more information, 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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