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, regional development of dance artists, and the work of contemporary art centers. Launched in 1996, NDP has distributed more than $25 million in funding and has become one of the few dedicated sources for dance funding in the country. 

More background information

Funding Priorities

NDP is interested in supporting work that reflects the evolving environment for dance, including but not limited to projects that:

  • Push aesthetic boundaries and reflect the cultural and aesthetic diversity alive in dance today.
  • Nurture long-term and multi-faceted partnerships between choreographers and presenters, leading to the highest quality possible in the production values for the completed work.
  • Are interdisciplinary, enabling choreographers and dance artists to partner with creators in other artistic forms or explore hybrid art forms.
  • Enable choreographers and dance artists to experiment with new technologies in the creation of work and to explore new ways of engaging audiences in all stages of a dance work’s development and presentation.
  • Involve choreographers and dance artists from a range of career stages, including those who have participated in NEFA's Regional Dance Development Initiative.
  • Expose audiences, and U.S.-based choreographers, to international work of outstanding quality and originality, primarily through NDP Touring awards.

Partners

NDP is guided by a rotating group of partners 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 partners make funding recommendations and provide critical feedback on program development and policy. Selection of NDP partners takes into account geography, gender, and cultural and racial equity, and includes new and established leaders in the field.  

Neil Barclay
Director and CEO
Contemporary Arts Center
New Orleans, LA
Andrea Rogers 
Executive Director Emerita
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts 
Burlington, VT
Yolanda Cesta Cursach
Associate Director of Performance Programs
Museum of Contemporary Art
Chicago, IL
Janera Solomon
Executive Director
Kelly Strayhorn Theater
Pittsburgh, PA
Sara Coffey
Director
Vermont Performance Lab
Guilford, VT
Pamela Tatge
Director
Wesleyan University,
Center for the Arts
Middletown, CT
Sean Dorsey
Artistic Director
Sean Dorsey Dance
San Francisco, CA
David Thomson
Dancer/Choreographer
New York, NY
Colleen Furukawa
Vice President - Programming
Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Maui, HI
Sixto Wagan
Director, Center for Arts Leadership
University of Houston
Houston, TX
Tonya Lockyer
Executive/Artistic Director
Velocity Dance Center
Seattle, WA
Martin Wechsler
Director of Programming
The Joyce Theater
New York, NY
Mary Luft
Executive Director/Founder
Tigertail Productions
Miami, FL
Marya Wethers
Curator & Producer, International Projects
Dancer/Performing Artist
New York, NY
George Lugg
Co-Director
Show Box L.A.
Los Angeles, CA
Sam Miller 
(Founder & Honorary Advisor, National Dance Project)               
President
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council 
New York, NY
David Ravel
Director
Alverno Presents
Milwaukee, WI
 

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.

Background

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. 

CONTACT

Sara C. Nash | Program Manager, National Dance Project
snash@nefa.org | 617.951.0010 x512

Cheri Opperman | Grants Coordinator, National Dance Project
copperman@nefa.org | 617.951.0010 x524

Elizabeth Epsen | Program Coordinator, National Dance Project
eepsen@nefa.org | 617.951.0010 x521

 

 

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