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Program Officer, National Dance Project

Under the leadership of the National Dance Project (NDP)’s new Director, Indira Goodwine, NDP’s 2019 panel of Advisors convened in Wilmington, NC, to complete the first stage of the highly competitive two-stage application and review process for the Production Grant program – selecting 36 Finalists. One of the largest sources of funding for dance in the U.S., Production Grants provide essential funding for the creation and touring of 20 new dance projects by choreographers and companies through a package of support including:

  • up to $45,000 to create a new work;
  • $10,000 in unrestricted general operating support; and
  • up to $35,000 in tour subsidies that go to U.S. organizations that bring the new work to their communities.

The 2019 NDP Advisors, joined by NDP staff and funders, spent two days discussing a record number of applications—170, a 15% increase from 2018. Following intense and thoughtful conversations, 36 projects were selected to advance to the final application round.

During the preliminary round of the Production grant program, feedback from all advisors is collected for all 170 applications and provided to applicants upon request. During the final application process, Advisors are called upon, along with NDP staff, to work with the 36 NDP Finalists as they prepare their applications, reviewing narratives, budgets, and work samples so that each Finalist puts together the strongest application possible.

We are excited to share the 36 Production Grant Finalists for 2019. We hope that presenters, curators, and other professionals will take this opportunity to learn about each of these artists and their projects in development. This year’s Finalists include choreographers and companies living in two states NDP’s support has yet to reach; 23 choreographers and companies have not previously received an NDP Production Grant; and 25% are first-time applicants to the program.

From now through May 31, each Finalist will work with an NDP Advisor and NDP staff to put together a strong full proposal. At the end of June, Advisors will meet again in person for two additional days to determine the 20 projects that will receive the full Production Grant package of support. We look forward to announcing these grantees in July.

Finalists who do not ultimately receive a Production Grant will receive a Finalist award of $1,000 in recognition of their work as well as the cost and time involved in the application process.

NDP ADVISORS

The 12 NDP Advisors are new and established leaders in the dance field who work together to select projects during both stages of the Production Grant review.

Advisors serve year-long terms to provide a dynamic range of aesthetic perspectives and experiences during the intense review process, advising the program and making grant selections. We are immensely grateful for their dedication and service, and want to take the opportunity to thank and recognize:

The four Advisors whose service ended in 2018:

  • Madison Cario, Office of the Arts at Georgia Institute for Technology, Atlanta, GA
  • Yanira Castro, Interdisciplinary Artist, a canary torsi, Brooklyn, NY
  • Dayna Hanson, Dayna Hanson Company/Base, Seattle, WA
  • Kathleen Spehar, Director, The O'Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN

The four new colleagues to serve as NDP Advisors in 2019:

  • Anna Glass, Executive Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York, NY
  • Rosemary W. Johnson, Executive Director, Alabama Dance Council, Birmingham, AL
  • Dayna Martinez, Artistic Director of Community and Education Programming, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Saint Paul, MN
  • Aaron Mattocks, Director of Programming, The Joyce Theater, New York, NY

NDP's eight returning Advisors:

  • Christy Bolingbroke, Executive/Artistic Director, National Center for Choreography, Akron, OH
  • Ann Brusky, Curator for Public Programs, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
  • Shane Fernando, Executive & Artistic Director, Wilson Center, Cape Fear Community College; Programming Consultant, Thalian Hall Center, for the Performing Arts, Wilmington, NC
  • Renae Williams Niles, Associate Dean, Administration, University of Southern California, Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, Los Angeles, CA
  • Aimée M. Petrin, Executive & Artistic Director, Portland Ovations, Portland, ME
  • Michael Sakamoto, Assistant Professor, Department of Dance, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
  • Shay Wafer, Executive Director, WACO (Where Art Can Occur) Theater Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • Marcus White, Founder/Creative Director, White Werx, Detroit, MI; Assistant Professor, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Phoenix, AZ

In addition to the Production Grant review process, Advisors are also called on upon throughout the year to assist NDP staff with field and relationship building initiatives such as the grantee cohort gathering, now entering its third year, as well as for their input on NDP’s funding criteria, application questions, program priorities, and processes which help to strengthen the program and the field at large. Beyond their term of service, Advisors continue to serve as ambassadors for the program in their communities, working with artists and organizations to ensure dance continues to thrive nationally.

2019 NATIONAL DANCE PROJECT FINALISTS

Ananya Dance Theatre, Minneapolis, MN 

An original full-length work, Agun examines the vibration of complex footwork, locomotion, and walking. Related to the current crisis around immigration at the U.S.-Mexico boarder, the torture of children, and separation of families that happened in different ways during Indian partition, and during the 150-mile forced march of Dakota people in 1862, the work will premiere in September 2020 as part of the Women of Substance series at The O'Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, St. Paul. A community embedded creation process of movement and conversation workshops will be led by choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, the dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre, and their team of collaborators.

April Sellers Dance Collective, Minneapolis, MN

Man Blossom Man, a new performance work by April Sellers Dance Collective (ASDC) explores a masculinity crisis in America. With an all-male identified cast, the work will validate contradictions in the American male experience, depict complexity in the male identity, and soften barriers of the traditional gender binary. Residencies at Tofte Lake Center and Center for Performing Arts, both in Minnesota, will support development of Man Blossom Man. ASDC’s creative process and community responses will be shared via live, in-progress performances, and a video blog.

AXIS Dance Company, Oakland, CA

Acclaimed dance-theater choreographer Arthur Pita has envisioned a grim retelling of Alice in Wonderland to be set on AXIS Dance Company. Alice in Oakland will address the local homelessness crisis in Oakland and its many intersections with disability, and bring visibility to these unseen members of the community through artistry.

Ballet Hispánico, New York, NY

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa will develop a new work, not yet titled, for Ballet Hispánico based on the street gang the Sharks, made famous by the musical, West Side Story. Ochoa will spend several weeks during the fall of 2019 in residence at Ballet Hispánico creating the work in collaboration with Eduardo Vilaro along with the Company. The work is scheduled to premiere at the Apollo Theater in November 2019 and will be included in the national tour. Arts education and community activities inspired by the work will be conducted in New York and in cities on tour.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, New York, NY

Inspired by Herman Melville’s description of Pip, the young black cabin boy floating alone in the sea in Moby Dick, this new work explores the relationship of loneliness/aloneness as it pertains to, or contrasts with, community identity. It is envisioned as an 80 minute evening-length work to premiere in spring 2020. This piece will use the idea of being lost at sea as a metaphor for the African American experience, and will incorporate a diverse cast of 90 guest artists from the five boroughs of NYC.

BODYTRAFFIC, Los Angeles, CA

Commissioned by BODYTRAFFIC (BT), an 11-year old repertory company based in Los Angeles, Snap is a new 20 minute work by emerging choreographer Micaela Taylor highlighting Taylor’s cutting-edge style, which combines hard-hitting hip-hop groove with classical and contemporary techniques. Taylor will collaborate with experimental producer SCHOCKE to create an original composition for the work.

Bridgman|Packer Dance, Valley Cottage, NY

Ghost Factory is inspired by the local community and vast deserted factories of Johnson City, a small upstate New York town. The work explores remnants of a past industrial era, where live performance merges with striking video imagery of abandoned buildings. Stories of elders who worked in these factories weave into the narrative, evoking the humanity these spaces once held. By deeply focusing on one town's human stories, the work intends to reveal the larger context of postindustrial decline and universal human themes of loss and the longing for something better.

CABD INC (Camille A. Brown & Dancers), Jamaica, NY

Queens is a new solo project that Founding Artistic Director Camille A. Brown will choreograph and perform herself. This satirical fairy tale about the five boroughs of NYC before gentrification will take audiences on a fun, wild, and daring ride through the stomping grounds of Hollis, Queens; BedStuy, Brooklyn; Harlem, NY; The South Bronx, BX; and more. Queens will incorporate multimedia elements and will be developed over a series of residencies, culminating in a New York premiere at The Joyce Theater in February 2021.

Caleb Teicher, New York, NY

SWING 2020 will celebrate the history and tradition of America’s indigenous partnered dance form–the Lindy Hop. Directed and choreographed by Caleb Teicher in collaboration with Evita Arce, LaTasha Barnes, and Nathan Bugh, the 70 minute production will bring the best of swing dance to the concert dance stage with a cast of 12 of the finest Lindy Hop dancers in the world, and the live music of Eyal Vilner’s 10-piece big band. A 30 minute post-show band set will invite an intergenerational audience on stage to participate in a swing dance jam.

Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, Washington, DC

Native Intelligence / Innate Intelligence is a two-part dance performance incorporating modern dance, hula, Hawaiian chant, and live cello. Native Intelligence asks how Christopher K. Morgan maintains root cultural identity separated from his ancestral land. Innate Intelligence examines the human instinct to connect to one another through movement, scenery, and music. The two parts create a comprehensive picture of the multiplicity of identities Morgan navigates, and invites audiences to reflect on their perception of Native people, their own identity, and instinct.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Denver, CO

The Four Journeys, a working title, is a new ballet conceived by Amalia Viviana Basanta Hernandez, Artistic Director of Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. The work examines the confluence of culture in Mexico from its diverse Indigenous heritage to the more recent influences of European, African, and Asian infusions, and features a collaboration with Japanese video mapping artist, Taketo Kobayashi. The Four Journeys launches the 50th Anniversary Tour Season of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble in summer 2020.

DANCE IQUAIL, Philadelphia, PA

Public Enemy is a Philadelphia-based community dance project by choreographer Iquail Shaheed. The production explores black male identity in the context of social issues disproportionately affecting Black men, particularly policing, incarceration, and racialized violence, with the aim of engaging the primarily poor Black and Latino youth population of Mantua, West Philadelphia.

David Dorfman Dance, New York, NY

Where do our minds and spirits travel when the weight of everyday life becomes an unbearable load to carry? A(Way) Out of My Body, investigates the out-of-body experience as related to intergenerational trauma, and the mental burden and physical impact of surviving personal adversity. David Dorfman and his company of dancers and musicians weave together a memorable evening of dance, live music, and theater, where audiences can explore and realize their own joyous capacity to overcome physical and societal limitations.

DELIRIOUS Dances, Brooklyn, NY

THREE RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness is a six-hour interdisciplinary experience by DELIRIOUS Dances/Edisa Weeks, that involves three performance rituals (rites) that integrate live music, dance, text, video, two visual installations, community conversations, and shared meals to question why the U.S. Declaration of Independence declared that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights. THREE RITES interrogates what do these rights mean today, for whom these rights are protected and promoted, and how they manifest in the body.

DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion, Los Angeles, CA

S.O.S. is a call for humanity. Why do we focus so much on our differences and not enough on what unites us? How does a battalion in the trenches of war put their differences aside and coexist with another? Inspired by DIAVOLO’s community engagement work with military veterans, S.O.S. will feature veterans working alongside DIAVOLO dancers. The work will touch on themes of valor, resiliency, sacrifice, hope, self-efficacy, and the meaning of home. Community engagement activities tailored to the local community will create a bridge between the world of veterans and civilians.

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, New York, NY

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana has commissioned UN PASO ADENTRO (A Step Inside), an evening-length work by Jose Maldonado with an original score by composer and guitarist Gaspar Rodriguez. Through the expressive language of flamenco movement and music, UN PASO ADENTRO seeks to discover, expose, break down, and transcend barriers and limitations to show that humankind is stronger when connected and unified.

GERALDCASELDANCE, San Francisco, CA

Not About Race Dance critiques the unmarked predominance of whiteness in U.S. postmodernism. It cites Neil Greenberg’s Not About AIDS Dance to connect the silence around the AIDS epidemic and the unacknowledged racial politics of postmodern dance. Occupying a space defined by white artists, the work contests the structural endurance of white postmodernity by disidentifying with the white cube activated by Trisha Brown’s Locus and asks how difference can be made visible through choreographic structures that do not make space for brown and black bodies.

Jean Appolon Expressions, Malden, MA

Traka, “Troubles” in Haitian Kreyol, a full-length dance production will explore how dance, culture, and community are pathways to healing for trauma survivors and will be created through workshops, conversations, and site-specific activities encompassing a comprehensive community-based process involving Boston-based immigrants. Traka’s narrative will incorporate stories and reflections on recovering from trauma from Haitians and immigrants alike. The work seeks to open a dialog around the difficult subject of trauma and recovery.

KM Dance Project, New Orleans, LA

Raw Fruit is a collection of stories that reveal the essence of ancestral values which have been woven into the cultural fabric of our lives. This work examines legacy, identity, socialization, unity, and friction inside the Black family dynamic exposing the impact of race, class, gender, and sexuality on maternal relationships, and revealing how the retention of cultural values, morals, and taboos have shaped our current existence. These influences are explored through dance-theater and photography to illustrate lineage, retention, and history.

Lenora Lee Dance, San Francisco, CA

Inspired by experiences of women activists in Boston, Moving Histories, is a site-specific immersive multimedia experience created by Lenora Lee Dance. Speaking to the power of individuals and communities to transcend gender inequality and fight for change, this work is set to premiere at Pao Arts Center in Boston May 2021.

Leonardo Sandoval, New York, NY

Partido is a reflection on Leonardo Sandoval’s experience as an Afro-Brazilian immigrant and artist living in the U.S., told through a mixed language of tap and percussive dance, samba, house, and original, live music. It explores his perspective of the Black experience in both countries, the common roots of African-American and Afro-Brazilian dance forms, and universal themes of immigration, like ambiguous feelings surrounding assimilation, homesickness, and being exoticized. Community engagement through external workshop activities and in-show audience participation will be a central component, using body percussion as an invitation to participate in music and movement simultaneously.

Nichole Canuso Dance Company, Philadelphia, PA

Led by choreographer Nichole Canuso and a team of dancers and designers, Being/With facilitates a shared experience that connects participants across divisions of geography, culture, and personal history. The work uses custom technology and live performance to explore themes of separation and connection, loss and embodiment. Intimate audiences in two venues in separate neighborhoods are united via technology and guided through duets and conversations with their “partners”, who initially are strangers to them.

nora chipaumire, New York, NY

The Queen vs. Nehanda (TQVN, working title), will be an African opera based on the story of Nehanda, a Zimbabwean spirit of the Shona people, reappearing in different mediums to encourage fights for resistance, revolt, and liberation. In the body of Charwe Nyakasikana, Nehanda led a revolt during the First Rebellion of British rule (1896-1897) resulting in her death. Through the operatic form, both entertaining and reclaiming | preserving cultural stories, values, and legends, TQVN will address issues of jurisdiction and resistance and examine how the colonial project changed history.

Pam Tanowitz Dance, New York, NY

Song of Songs, the third piece in Pam Tanowitz’s masterworks trilogy, following New Work for Goldberg Variations, and Four Quartets, is a new evening-length dance performance, blending the sacred and profane, the erotic and mythic. Tanowitz will collaborate with the eminent composer David Lang, who will create a new setting of the biblical Song of Songs for chorus and ensemble. Each of the three works is an investigation of dance in dialogue with another genre, period, and culture; first with piano music, then Modernist poetry, and now with a choral setting from the Bible.

PHILADANCO!, Philadelphia, PA

PHILADANCO! is excited to begin the celebration of its 50th Anniversary season with Fast Forward: New Work, New Voices, an evening of works from four diverse, emerging choreographers with unique voices and approaches to dance: Thang Dao, Ray Mercer, Katherine Smith, and BaKari Lindsay. The production will premiere at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia in April 2020 and selections from the works will become part of PHILADANCO!'s 2020-2021 National and International touring season.

Pioneer Winter / Pioneer Winter Collective, Miami, FL

Birds of Paradise explores and questions the role celebration has as a subversive tool, manifesting in marginalized groups. Enacted in the form of 'tropical militia', it draws imagery from military and Pride marches, drag pageantry, and forms of assemblage. The work uses physically integrated theater and contemporary dance, the 50th anniversaries of Stonewall riots, and the 1st Pride Parade to explore resistance and how the connections between praise and protest are used to control one’s own destiny.

Ragamala Dance Company/Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, Minneapolis, MN

As first generation Indian-Americans, Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy (mother and daughter) question the dual cultural planes where many Americans exist. Fires of Varanasi has grown from their experience of the death of their father/grandfather away from his homeland. In this multidisciplinary work, they explore human experiences of migration through the metaphor of the birth-death-rebirth continuum in Hindu thought. Conceived as an experiential event with/for the communities where it is performed, dancers evoke and embody the millions of pilgrims whose feet rewrite Varanasi’s geography year after year. Stage installation: Manav Gupta (New Delhi); lighting design: Willy Cessa, (France).

RGWW (Rosanna Gamson/World Wide), Los Angeles, CA

Sugar Houses is an evening-length dance-theater piece by Rosanna Gamson premiering at REDCAT in 2020. Pulling a deconstructed narrative from Hansel and Gretel and jumpscares from horror movies, the choreography explores extreme physicality, evoking the grotesquery and violence of fairy tales and the savage intimacy of siblings. Sugar Houses uses Grimms’ tale and historical texts wrapped in the devices and structure of the horror genre to expose hidden histories, the ongoing real-world dynamics of scapegoating, and the complexity and complicity of looking the other way. Responding to the everydayness of hate-fueled incidents in the new normal, Sugar Houses is intentionally low tech and site adaptive.

Sara Juli, Falmouth, ME

Onstage, Sara Juli gives of herself...." -The New York Times. Using her comedic text-driven dance style, Sara Juli blows up marriage in Burnt-Out Wife, exploring its decay and detritus. Separation, sex deprivation, and lack of communication add up to wanting to run from the popular, yet impossible binding contract. World Premiere co-commissioned by SPACE and Portland Ovations with Costumes by Carol Farrell, Dramaturgy by Michelle Mola, Set Design by Pamela Moulton, and Lighting Design by Justin Moriarty. For mature audiences only. "

Step Afrika!, Washington, DC

Drumfolk is a new Step Afrika! production that will explore the drum and its use in African communities as a method of communication, celebration, and resistance. The work is inspired by events surrounding the Stono Rebellion of 1739, a pivotal moment in American history that would forever transform African American life and culture. The production will feature African art forms reimagined on American shores, all influenced and shaped by the drum, and will tour to major U.S. cities in 2020.

Techmoja Dance and Theater Company, Wilmington, NC

Quiet As It's Kept (QAIK) explores the intersection of historical sexual trauma, southern culture, and silence in the African American community. As a point of departure, the program interprets the oral histories of Black survivors of sexual abuse living in rural coastal North Carolina. The work incorporates dance, puppetry, and music rooted in the region’s traditional folk arts. Central to this work is a community engagement strategy that works with local and national stakeholders that contextualizes the work and sparks an active discourse.

The Era Footwork Crew, Chicago, IL

In the Wurkz is a dance performance that maps the historical journey of Chicago footwork, from roller rink parties in Chicago to contemporary art galleries in Japan. Dancing across history and geography, footworkers tell their stories through movement, electronic sounds, and archival media. The Era Footwork Crew, esteemed battle dancers from the South Side of Chicago, are the authors, producers, and choreographers of In the Wurkz. Their choreography is interspersed with and enlivened by poetry, film projections, and electronic music from Chicago.

the feath3r theory, Brooklyn, NY

The McCarthy Era is an ensemble dance-theater evening-length performance that dissects the years affected by McCarthyism (1949-1952). By appropriating reality television, celebrity culture, and social media, the work celebrates and criticizes popular media while creating a surreal and dystopian docu-fiction melodrama. This is the fantasy of seven bunny rabbits, running away from home and having their lives surveilled. Tune in to find out what happens when these bunnies stop living life and start living fear. This is The McCarthy Era.

Vanessa Sanchez, San Francisco, CA

Pachuquismo is an all-female performance exploring the untold stories of Chicanas during the 1940s Zoot Suit Riots through Tap dance, Mexican Zapateado, Son Jarocho, Jazz music, spoken word, and video. Created and directed by Vanessa Sanchez, the cross-cultural rhythmic performance explores history, culture, and rhythm through the lens of the Mexican American Pachucas that American society tried to overlook. Featuring archival images, live instrumentation, and percussive footwork, Pachuquismo challenges gender norms and societal boundaries.

WV Dance Company, Beckley, WV

Inspired by his experience as a gay man in WV, choreographer Donald Laney confronts LGBTQ discrimination and hate speech; while choreographer Toneta Akers-Toler examines women’s history, (in)equality, and distributions of privilege and power in marginalized communities. Love of Power vs. Power of Love explores the choice between exerting power over others or acting out of love. The piece unmasks the divisiveness, isolation, and intolerance that evolves from misuse of power, and reveals the power of love to heal, unite, and remind us of our shared humanity. WVDC’s background in rural WV provides us with experience to promote hope, transformation, and constructive dialogue in wide-ranging venues.

zoe | juniper, Seattle, WA

always now (AN) is a dance, video, and sound performance presented in a non-proscenium space with collaborators Thomas Dunn, Juniper Shuey, Bobby McElver, Bebe Miller, and dancers. The piece expands the possibilities of perception, relational power, and ritual through two discreet performance spaces that proceed simultaneously. After an initial residency at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (JPDF) last May, AN will continue its development with residencies and will premiere at Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) in 2020.

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