Apply to the Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) to join a cohort of 12 New England based choreographers and experience New England Now, a nine-month series of connected activities across the region designed to elevate your work inside of New England.


The New England Foundation for the Arts’ RDDI is a program of the National Dance Project (NDP). The purpose of RDDI is to increase the scope, visibility and viability of dance activity in and across regions in the United States. The first RDDI was a pilot program in the Pacific Northwest and was held in Seattle, Washington in 2004. It was followed by Labs in the San Francisco Bay area (2006), Portland, Oregon (2006), New England (2007), Minnesota (2011), and Chicago (2016). 

For over 15 years, the program has worked to leverage and expand on existing regional resources, foster vital networks of artists and presenters, and to provide professional growth opportunities for artists in varied regions of the United States. RDDI is designed and produced in partnership with local funders, organizing partners, and an advisory committee in order to meet the unique needs and concerns of the dance community being served. Its mission is to strengthen connections and relationships that will nourish the local and regional dance field.

New England Now activities will be informed by past RDDI experiences and the 2017 New England Choreographers' and New England Dance Cultural Organizers’ Convenings. Activities are intended to align with or complement local and regional funding opportunities including NEFA’s New England Dance Fund, New England States Touring program, and The Boston Foundations’ Live Arts Boston and Next Steps for Boston Dance grant programs. 

New England Now is informed by NEFA’s Mission, Vision, and Values. Click here to read more.

RDDI: New England Now Vision and Long-Term Goals

We value and seek to cultivate a culture of abundance in New England for dance makers through New England Now activities.

The structure and multiplicity of New England Now activities have been designed to support sustainable relationships, strengthen networks and long-term capacity building among New England dance makers, New England dance cultural organizers and their communities. We believe these sustainable relationships are the foundation of a more resilient, self-aware, and robust regional dance community. 

We believe maximum impact of New England Now will be achieved through an environment where New England dance cultural organizers and presenters work in a reciprocal manner with regional dance makers to support their creative endeavors, and ultimately;

  • Participating dance makers are supported to develop and present their work for, to, and with community in the most fully realized form, and
  • Participating dance makers are visibly recognized as regional leaders; connected to and contributors of the intellectual capital and cultural vitality of our region.

RDDI: New England Now Structure – Three Components

New England Now includes three connected components: a Professional Development Lab, an Intersections Summit, and a New England Now Platform. Each component of New England Now is designed to help a cohort of 12 New England dance makers articulate their practice and strengthen partnerships between New England artists and dance cultural organizers.

  1. Professional Development Lab
    for participating Artists
    July 26-August 1, 2020
    Bates Dance Festival - Lewiston, Maine

    This seven-day experience is immersive and introspective, a deep-dive with a cohort of regional peers, faculty, and mentors. During the lab, participants will articulate their artistic vision and goals, examine their creative process, and clarify how these two inform and meet one another. Participants will devise strategies to develop and present their work for, to, and with community in the most fully realized form.

    Participants will have the opportunity to take morning technique classes with Bates Dance Festival faculty, see performances, and will have access to studio space in the evenings. Faculty will be confirmed and curriculum will be refined based on the needs of the selected artists as it is our intention for faculty to be reflective of both the cohort and dance ecology in New England.
  2. Intersections Summit
    for participating Artists and Regional Leadership
    October 2, 2020 – October 4, 2020
    Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College - Keene, New Hampshire

    This curated convening will be designed for New England Now participants and regional industry leaders to explore and amplify the value of dance practitioners’ work and skill sets to other sectors.  Regional industry leaders can include activists, scholars, politicians, scientists, engineers and more.

    Through panels, presentations and small group discussions, New England Now participants will meet with industry leaders in New England to explore world/social/societal issues of our time in efforts to build new relationships around topics that would benefit from intersectional approaches, collaborative research, action and/or visibility.
  3. New England Now Platform
    for participating Artists and New England Dance Cultural Organizers
    March 10, 2021 – March 14, 2021
    Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) in partnership with Global Arts Live – Boston, Massachusetts

    The final component of New England Now is a weekend platform wherein participating artists will share work in development to a curated and public audience. The weekend will include meetings, social and small group sessions designed to provide opportunities for deeper dialogue between participants and curators, presenters, and producers.

    For presenters, this component of New England Now is an opportunity to become acquainted with the range and depth of the dance artists, creative processes, community engagement desires and cross sector opportunities.

Timeline / Important Dates

  • Application Open: Wednesday, December 18, 2019
  • Application Deadline: Friday, February 7, 2020, 5:00 PM EST
  • New England Now Participants Notified: Friday, March 20, 2020
  • Professional Development Lab
    July 26 – Aug. 1 2020 at Bates Dance Festival                      
  • Intersections Summit
    October 2 – October 4, 2020 at Redfern Center for the Arts at Keene State College
  • New England Now Platform
    March 10 – March 14, 2021 at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston in partnership with Global Arts Live

Eligibility, Criteria, and Process

Is RDDI: New England Now for you?

New England Now is designed for a dynamic group of New England dance makers who identify with the following statements:

  • I am at a pivotal juncture in my career and ready to take the next step with sharing/presenting my work within and/or beyond my current communities.
  • I am deeply curious and desire to be strategically intentional about my potential impact in New England as a dance maker.
  • I am seeking additional perspective on my work and artistic practice.
  • I am interested in cultivating community to expand my professional network in New England.
  • I am willing to be vulnerable in a shared space.
  • I am committed to sharing what I learn with others in the New England dance community.

To be eligible to apply, applicants must meet each of the following criteria:

  • Be creating original work in any genre of dance;
  • Have a primary residence within the six New England States;
  • Have choreographed and presented work for an audience in a public setting within the last 24 months. (The event could have been ticketed or free for a general or specific audience, but cannot have been work created or presented while the artist was an undergraduate student.);
  • NOT currently enrolled in an undergraduate program in dance or a related field;
  • Have a CreativeGround Profile (What’s this?); and
  • Commit to full participation in all three components of New England Now.

New England Now is an experience designed for individual choreographers, however we will accept applications from pairs of artistic collaborators, whose work as a New England dance maker is reliant on a creative partner also in New England. Should you be considering completing a joint application, contact Kristin Gregory, Program Officer, at to discuss your application in advance of submitting. 

Selection Criteria and Selection Process

Artists will be chosen by a regional panel of artists and cultural organizers from New England based on the following criteria:

  1. Clarity of articulation of artistic and professional goals.
  2. Artistic quality of work based on work samples and artist resume.
  3. Alignment between applicants needs and interest in participating with the opportunity itself.
  4. Desire to deepen relationships within the cohort and grow a New England network of support.
  5. Commitment to sharing New England Now learning beyond participating cohort members in New England.

The regional panel will seek a dynamic group of artists representing the breadth of New England’s diversity as exemplified through NEFA’s values inclusive of artistic experiences, career stage, dance aesthetics, forms and genres.

NEFA values an equitable, diverse, and inclusive world, which we interpret as all people having fair access to the tools and resources they need to realize creative and community endeavors. We acknowledge structural inequities that have excluded individuals and communities from opportunity based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, language, culture, and geography, and strive to counter those inequities in our work.

Participant Honorarium

Selected artists will receive $1,600 for their complete participation in New England Now as well as travel, housing, and meals. There is also a small stipend for travel and housing available for each cohort member to support bringing up to three additional performers to participate in the 2021 New England Now Platform.

How to Apply: Using our online application, applicants must submit an artist resume, two work samples (see details under work samples section in the full application), and narrative responses to application questions.

Please Note: You will not be able to save responses and/or return to your application once you have started the application. We recommend that you review the application questions and prepare your responses in advance of starting the application process.

Deadline: February 7, 2020

Preview the application questions here
If you require a Word version of this call to artists or the application itself, request one here 

Any other questions, please contact Cheri Opperman, Grants Manager, or Kristin Gregory, Program Manager.