National Dance Project

NDP Touring Award recipient Dallas Black Dance Theatre | Photo: Marketa Ebert

The National Dance Project fuels the creation of new dance works and brings the work of the most compelling dance artists of our time to audiences across the nation.

More about National Dance Project

Extending beyond core grantmaking for creation and touring, NDP works through various initiatives to nurture a vibrant ecology for dance. Currently these initiatives emphasize production residencies, international exchange, and regional development of dance artists. Launched in 1996, NDP has distributed more than $33 million in funding and is widely recognized as one of the country’s major sources of funding for dance.

More background information


NDP is guided by a rotating group of Advisors who represent presenters, artists, and organizational leaders from the dance field. They have extensive knowledge of the dance community and are instrumental in developing new dance works and audiences within their communities. NDP Advisors make funding recommendations and provide critical feedback on program development and policy. Selection of NDP Advisors takes into account geography, gender, and cultural and racial equity, and includes new and established leaders in the field.  

Rob Bailis
Associate Director, Cal Performances
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
Liz Lerman
Institute Professor, Arizona State University
Baltimore, MD
Neil Barclay
Director and CEO
Contemporary Arts Center
New Orleans, LA 
Tonya Lockyer
Artistic Director
Velocity Dance Center
Seattle, WA
Madison Cario
Office of the Arts, Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia
Robert Moses
Artistic Director
Robert Moses KIN
San Francisco, CA
Amy Cassello
Associate Producer, Next Wave Festival
BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
Brooklyn, NY
Jodee Nimerichter
American Dance Festival
Durham, NC 
Sara Coffey
Vermont Performance Lab
Guilford, VT
David R White
Artistic Director and Executive Producer
The Yard
West Tisbury, MA
Rachel Cooper
Director Global Performing Arts  and Cultural Initiatives
Asia Society
New York, NY
Joan Gray
Muntu Dance Theatre
Chicago, IL

Honorary Advisor
Sam Miller
Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP)
Wesleyan University
Middletown, CT

International Exchange

NDP’s International Partnerships create opportunities for artists, presenters, and communities to engage with artists and audiences from other countries, explore commonalities and differences, and experience diverse cultural perspectives.

To date, NDP has developed partnerships with the U.K., The Netherlands, Australia, France, and Mexico. Currently, NDP supports international exchange through two ongoing avenues of funding: the French U.S. Exchange in Dance (FUSED) program and NDP Touring Awards, which are open to international artists and companies.


For 30 years, a series of programs at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) supported dance creation and touring in the U.S. As a result of the "culture wars" of the early 90's, congressional cuts to these programs left a void in financial support for dance that threatened the future of dance touring and - ultimately - dance as an art form.

In immediate response to the changes, NEFA created a regional program in 1995 to support dance touring in New England called the New England Dance Project. The goal of this program was to develop audiences for dance in New England communities by supporting the touring of dance artists and companies to the region. But it soon became clear that this program needed the support of a national effort.

NEFA began conversations with peers and advisors in the dance field to discuss the development of a national program. Dance/USA, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and many other peers participated in the design of the National Dance Project (NDP). As designed, NDP's purpose would be to link the creation and touring of new work by building upon artist/presenter partnerships.

This approach - linking all aspects of producing a dance work - was created to ensure that a diversity of projects would realize their potential. Linking the support for creation and touring of work not only assists in meeting artists' and presenters' objectives, but also fosters the working relationships between the two.

NEFA launched NDP in March 1996 with a two-year leadership grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided support with a three-year grant for dance touring in New England, which was later renewed for another three years. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided funds for touring activity in the first two years. The Philip Morris Companies, Inc. provided support for touring from 1997-2002, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has granted generous support for production and touring activity since 1999.  View NDP's current funders below. 


Sara C. Nash | Program Director, Dance | 617.951.0010 x512

Cheri Opperman | Grants Coordinator, National Dance Project | 617.951.0010 x524

Kristin Gregory | Program Coordinator, National Dance Project | 617.951.0010 x521




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