About National Dance Project

During its 20+ year history, NDP has distributed more than $36 million in funding primarily to support the creation and touring of dance works, as well as other initiatives, including production residencies and regionally focused professional development for dance artists. Launched in 1996, NDP is widely recognized as one of the country’s major sources of funding for dance.


NEFA's National Dance Project is guided by a rotating group of advisors who are leaders in the dance field, including dance presenters and dance artists. NDP advisors serve as the grant review panel that makes funding recommendations and works with applicants as they prepare their proposals. In addition, advisors serve as a policy council and are ambassadors for the program in their communities. Selection of NDP advisors takes into account geography, gender, and cultural and racial equity, and includes new and established leaders in the field.  

Christy Bolingbroke
Executive/Artistic Director,
National Center for Choreography
(Akron, OH)

Aaron Mattocks
Director of Programming,
The Joyce Theater
(New York, NY)

Ann Brusky
Curator for Public Programs,
John Michael Kohler Arts Center
(Sheboygan, WI)

Renae Williams Niles
Associate Dean, Administration,
University of Southern California
Glorya Kaufman School of Dance
(Los Angeles, CA)

Shane Fernando
Executive & Artistic Director,
Wilson Center
Cape Fear Community College

Programming Consultant,
Thalian Hall Center
for the Performing Arts
(Wilmington, NC)

Aimée M. Petrin
Executive & Artistic Director,
Portland Ovations
(Portland, ME)

Anna Glass
Executive Director,
Dance Theatre of Harlem
(New York, NY)

Michael Sakamoto
Interdisciplinary Artist

Associate Director of Programming
Asian Arts and Culture, Fine Arts Center
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
(Amherst, MA)

Rosemary W. Johnson
Executive Director,
Alabama Dance Council
(Birmingham, Alabama)

Shay Wafer
Executive Director,
WACO (Where Art Can Occur) Theater Center
(Los Angeles, CA)

Dayna Martinez
Artistic Director of Community and Education Programming,
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
(Saint Paul, MN)

Marcus White
Founder/Creative Director, White Werx
(Detroit, MI)

Assistant Professor, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
(Phoenix, AZ)


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. 

Doris Duke logo
Barr Foundation logo

The Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation