National Dance Project Awardees Honor the Past, Care for the Present, and Pave Way for the Unknown

Ladies of Hip-Hop, photo by Loreto Jamlig; and Litebulb/LB Productions, photo by Brandon K. Films

Indira is a Black woman in a bright blue blouse. She poses in front of city buildings.
Senior Program Director, Dance

On behalf of the National Dance Project Advisor Cohort, we are pleased to share the 2023 National Dance Project (NDP) Production Grantees.

Stewarded by 12 NDP Advisors, the two-stage grantmaking process results in 20 new dance projects receiving an NDP Production Grant comprised of the following support:

  • $45,000 to create a new dance project;
  • $10,000 in unrestricted general operating support;
  • $11,500 to support a Production Residency for Dance and/or additional community engagement work; and
  • $35,000 in tour subsidy that goes to U.S.* organizations that bring the new dance project and related engagement activities to their communities.

Unique to NDP, this framework of funding offers scaffolding for projects that centers the creative talent of its grantees and supports them in reaching their desired social impact. NDP Production Grantees continue to represent various career stages, diversity of forms & aesthetics, project scale, identities, geographies, and operational models that exist within today’s dance field.

*NEFA defines U.S. as all 50 of the United States, as well as Washington D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Three Indian women form a triangle and move their hands in a room with tan walls.
Nava Dance Theatre | photo by Jyotsna Bhamidipati

The National Dance Project Final Grant Review Process

Upon notification of becoming an NDP Finalist, projects are paired with an NDP Advisor to support the development of their full proposal. For one month, they work closely together to affirm the current strengths of the project based on feedback from the preliminary stage application and discern opportunities that further support the project’s goals from ideation to implementation. This includes discussions about touring/sharing strategies, the project budget, and work sample selections. During this time, the NDP Team remains available to answer clarifying questions, but scheduling between NDP Advisors and NDP Finalists is solely at their discretion.

In July, NDP Advisors worked diligently before and during the virtual week-long grant review process to evaluate all 40 NDP Production Grant full proposals. They engaged in challenging discussions that continued to center program criteria and uplift NEFA values, as well as hold space for the evolving dance ecology. As collective decision-makers, they bring all their lived experiences and perspectives to the process in order to equitably steward the grant funds while also fostering a learning space that ultimately deepens their respective work in current role(s) within the dance field.

This year’s NDP Production Grantees represent a quality of study that amplifies and reflects the varied biological, emotional, and spiritual change society has experienced particularly over the past few years. The projects push others to be imaginative, conjure process and ritual, and intentionally promote multi-generational preservation through collaboration. They lead with a transformative spirit that honors the past, cares for the present, and paves a way for the unknown.

Some highlights from this year’s grantee pool include:

  • 75% are first-time National Dance Project Production Grant recipients
  • 35% are first-time NEFA applicants
  • 90% of projects are led by Black, Indigenous, and/or Peoples of Color
  • Projects represent 10 U.S. States. This is reflective of where artists reside and instances where their creative practice is rooted elsewhere.
  • Two projects are Disability-led or focused
  • Three projects received 2022 Finalist Awards

2023 NDP Production Grantees

Baye & Asa
Brooklyn, NY
Ladies of Hip-Hop
Jersey City, NJ
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
Adia Tamar Whitaker & Àṣẹ Dance Theater
Brooklyn, NY
Kayla Hamilton
Bronx, NY
Jenn Freeman
Queens, NY
dani tirrell
Washington, DC
Jasmine Hearn
Houston, TX
Keshet Dance Company
Albuquerque, NM
Litebulb/LB Productions
Chicago, IL
DaEun Jung
Los Angeles, CA
Nejla Yatkin Dance
Chicago, IL
Kayla Farrish
Brooklyn, NY
Viver Brasil
Los Angeles, CA
Nava Dance Theatre
San Francisco, CA
Morgan Thorson
Minneapolis, MN
Jay Carlon
Los Angeles, CA
Christal Brown/INSPIRIT
Middlebury, VT
SOLE Defined
Washington, DC

In addition to awarding 20 NDP Production Grants, for the past three years we have enhanced our support for 20 NDP Finalists by providing $10,000 in unrestricted funds to assist with the continued creation/development of their projects and desired impact in multiple communities. We value the opportunity to bring a heightened awareness to these projects and artists/companies/collectives involved, while simultaneously increasing participation in diverse modalities of shared dance experiences.

Some highlights from this year’s finalist awardee cohort include:

  • 40% are first-time recipients of funding from NDP
  • 15% are first-time NEFA applicants
  • 75% of projects are led by Black, Indigenous, and/or Peoples of Color
  • Projects represent 10 U.S. States and Indonesia. This is reflective of where artists reside and instances where their creative practice is rooted elsewhere.
  • Five projects received 2022 Finalist Awards

2023 NDP Production Grant Finalists

  • ANTARANGA: BETWEEN YOU AND ME, Ananya Dance Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
  • ETHOS IV: Cycle/De-growth/Rebirth, Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape (AK/AUH), Chicago, IL
  • All Together Now!, Big Dance Theater, Brooklyn, NY
  • Vishwas, Blue13 Dance Company, Los Angeles, CA
  • Dancing Distributed Leadership, Bridge Live Arts, San Francisco, CA
  • Roots of Loving Us, CONTRA-TIEMPO, Los Angeles, CA
  • When We were Queens…, Culture Mill, Saxapahaw, NC
  • Future Fields, Dance Exchange, Takoma Park, MD
  • States of Hope, Hope Boykin, New York, NY
  • Show Queen, Jesse Factor, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Threesome, Jody Kuehner / Cherdonna Shinatra, Seattle, WA
  • Femenine // Kyle Marshall Choreography's Julius Eastman Project, Kyle Marshall Choreography, Brooklyn, NY
  • Noisefloor, little house dance, Portland, ME
  • Many Happy Returns, Monica Bill Barnes & Company, New York, NY
  • Ghosts of Hell Creek, Prehistoric Body Theater, Surakarta, Indonesia
  • Jekyll & Hyde, PUSH Physical Theatre, Inc., Rochester, NY
  • Open Machine, Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, Margaretville, NY
  • Max Roach @ 100 - Percussion Bittersweet (working title), Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Brooklyn, NY
  • YES!, Yayoi Kambara, San Francisco, CA
A person with long braids spins around and folks watch in the background.
RUPTURE'S DIASPORADICA | photo by Lucas Damiani

Special Thanks

To our NDP Advisors: Thank you for your unwavering commitment to the dance field and for how you collectively embraced this process from a place of learning and deep accountability. It is never an easy journey, but you made it through, and we are proud of what you have accomplished via this portfolio of projects.

To the National Dance Project Team: Cheri and Kristin – This program only continues to advance because of your partnership, commitment, and thoughtfulness. Thank you for consistently showing up for dance in every way possible.

In addition, the National Dance Project Team would like to thank Jane Preston, Deputy Director of Programs, Elizabeth Timmerman, Interim Technology & Data Manager, for supporting this year’s grantmaking cycle. Your contributions are vital to the work we do and remain in a spirit of gratitude.


NEFA's National Dance Project is generously supported with lead funding from the Doris Duke Foundation and the Mellon Foundation, with funding for special initiatives from the Boston Foundation, and the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.


NEFA welcomes conversations regarding its grantmaking priorities and process. We support and believe in creating space for dialogues that foster mutual learning and build/strengthen our various roles in the field as allies. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the National Dance Project Team.

Indira is a Black woman with long black hair and she wears a blue blouse. Cheri is a white woman with short brown hair and she wears a navy, v-neck. Kristin is a white woman with long brown hair that has blonde highlights and she wears a stone v-neck with khakis. They all pose in front of the Boston skyline.
From left: senior program director Indira Goodwine, senior grants manager Cheri Opperman, and program manager Kristin Gregory
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