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, even 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 are:  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

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. 

Click HERE for more information on the works being presented in the 2019 - 2020 season by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation award grantees and their featured choreographers.

Click HERE for more information on member performances featuring female choreographers in ballet by non-grantees in the 2019 - 2020 season.