Sara smiles in front of a plain backdorp in a tan sweater
Former Program Director, Dance

The first round of the National Dance Project Production Grant has now passed, and it is my pleasure to announce the 36 projects that have advanced to the final round of consideration. NDP received more than 135 applications this year from artists and companies across the country, and while only about 18-20 projects will ultimately receive Production Grants, we believe it is important to acknowledge that these 36 have already made it through a highly competitive process and are pleased to recognize this accomplishment.

NDP Production Grants provide up to $45,000 to artists and companies for the creation of a new dance work that will tour nationally. Along with these critical commissioning funds, Production Grants also include general operating support and up to $35,000 in tour subsidies to U.S. presenters who bring the new work to their communities. 

In the preliminary round, each application is reviewed by a panel of Hub Sites and Advisors - a rotating group of partners representing presenters, artists, and organizational leaders from the dance field – and individual feedback on the panelists’ comments is then provided to all of the applicants. For those advancing to the final round, one of the 12 NDP Hub Site partners, who will serve as the review panel for grants, work closely with them to provide guidance on the development of their full proposal. This unique aspect of the program distinguishes NDP’s application process and is designed to strengthen relationships between artists and presenters. 

NDP partners meet at the end of June to review full proposals and will select 18-20 projects to receive Production Grants, and a formal announcement will follow in July 2014. In the meantime, it is our hope that providing this preview and recognition of these projects in the works will allow presenters, curators, and others to begin their planning sooner - and become involved as appropriate. 

2014 National Dance Project Final Round Applicants

a canary torsi, Brooklyn, NY
Court/Garden is a new dance and live music performance by a canary torsi. It takes as its inspiration the imperial ballets of Louis XIV's French Court, the spectatorship of the proscenium stage, and the presentation of video feeds as cultural, social, and political frames of experience. Court/Garden is an opulent spectacle in three acts that excavates theatrical structure to reveal the exercise of power, premiering in New York at Danspace Project in fall 2014.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet, San Francisco, CA
This collaboration between choreographer Alonzo King and soundscape artist Bernie Krause will produce a ballet set to a new composition by master bio-acoustician Bernard Krause. Krause's composition, created using natural soundscapes coined "biophonies," will provide the music for a new ballet choreographed by Alonzo King. The ballet will have its premiere at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in May 2015.

Amy O'Neal, Seattle, WA
Opposing Forces is an evening-length dance performance created with a multicultural and multigenerational cast of b-boys around questions and perceptions of femininity and its impact on male behavior. Opposing Forces will premiere at On the Boards in Seattle, WA, October 23-26, 2014.

Ana Maria Alvarez / CONTRA-TIEMPO, Culver City, CA  
Ana Maria Alvarez & CONTRA-TIEMPO will work in collaboration with lyricist d. Sabela grimes and director Michael Garces to create Agua Furiosa, an evening-length work inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest. Through call and response, improvisational scores, multiple water themes, and personal narrative both Black and Latino, Agua Furiosa will invite audiences to face some of the gruesome contradictions of color, poverty, and immigration in the U.S. The work aims to invent new paradigms for how we think about and live inside of this ever-shifting conversation of race in America.

Ann Carlson, Palo Alto, CA  
Doggie Hamlet is a dance/performance spectacle performed by four (human) performers, a herding dog, and a flock of sheep. Performed within a rolling lush green meadow (either built or actual), this interdisciplinary work combines contemporary dance, classic narrative, and elements from competitive sheep herding trials.  Doggie Hamlet mines the territory of human and non-human relationship, and delves into the hierarchy of domestication while also exploring instinct, memory, family, and the unknowable aspects of the self.

AXIS Dance Company, Oakland, CA  
AXIS collaborates with Joe Goode on to go again, a dance theater work that brings to light issues facing our nation's veterans and addresses their resilience following severe life changes. As one of the world's leading ensembles of performers, with and without disabilities, AXIS brings to this work a depth of embodied understanding of resilience and what it takes to live with adversity.  Joe Goode is known for promoting understanding, compassion, and tolerance through the innovative use of text and high velocity dancing.

BalletX, Philadelphia, PA 
BalletX presents a world premiere by the award-winning Filipino-American choreographer Norbert De La Cruz III, in February, 2015, that offers a progressive look at the future of ballet in America. With an impressive background in classical ballet, De La Cruz's dynamic choreography celebrates the possibilities of the art form for today's audiences. His new work will harness the rich classical facility of the BalletX dancers as he brings together his modern aesthetic with the expressive challenges of traditional technique.

Through experimental vertical dance, Forgotten Walls brings together a sense of place, the power of art to spark renewal, and the evocative force of historical narrative. Amelia Rudolph will work with her dancers and innovative puppeteer Basil Twist to animate overlooked, architecturally significant, and/or historic walls, re-framing how a community experiences its urban landscape. This interdisciplinary investigation of the tensions between decay, change, memory, and renewal will be accompanied by a score by composer Gideon Freudmann.

Beth Gill, Ridgewood, NY
Core, an evening-length piece in the round for six highly trained dancers within artist Tania Ursomorzo's large-scale installation, is a departure from Gill's recent restrained, cerebral choreography. Inspired by the centripetal design, Gill moves into the body's internal realms of kinetic experience and imagination. Ideas include: creating orbiting movement and spatial patterns that elude straight lines, developing kinetic pathways inspired by skeletal surfaces, and rhythmic phrasing that mimic the oscillation of the body's organs.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, New York, NY
Bill T. Jones and his company are creating an evening-length work Analogy (working title) that looks at the tension between experiences that are uniquely situated in time and place, and the ways that feelings evoked by these experiences are shared across generations and bodies. Utilizing the writing style of W.G. Sebald, interviews with family, folk songs, and new music, the company is working to create a multi-layered narrative in which the dancers relate memory, memoir, and histories through movement, language, and song.

Chitresh Das, San Francisco, CA
As part of an evening-length performance with an ensemble of some of India's finest classical musicians, Chitresh Das will create a new work, Upaj (Improvisation): Chitresh Das, highlighting Draupadi, one of the most iconic women of the Indian epics. An artist of great depth and virtuosity, Das will dance, exchange rhythms with musicians, sing, perform poetry, and act.  With improvisation as an essential part of his mastery, each performance is in the moment.

Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, North Bethesda, MD
Pohaku (Hawaiian for stone) is a dance theater piece inspired by Morgan's exposure to the work of his late cousin, hula master John Kaimikaua, and Morgan's own multi-racial Hawaiian/Asian/Caucasian identity. The work will incorporate Hawaiian chant, hula, contemporary dance, theater, and storytelling to explore compelling universal themes in the story of Hawaii's native people, including land-loss and fractured identity. Recipient of an NPN Creation Fund, it will premiere in fall 2015 at Dance Place and tour to Maui Arts & Cultural Center in 2016.

Circo Zero, San Francisco, CA 
An afro punk contradiction featuring an all-Black cast, Chronic is a performance experiment in critical race dialogue, representation, and collaboration. The dance-with-live-music is inspired by anti-assimilationist tendencies in African American culture, hoping to disrupt the universal/diversity approach to prioritize an under-commons where an experiment in Black and African American counter-narratives can emerge. Rehearsals begin in fall 2014, followed by residencies in New York City, France and/or West Africa, with a premier in fall 2015.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Denver, CO
Bamboula is a collaborative project that emerged out of the research excavation on the connections between Zulu - a blackface minstrel parade in New Orleans - and the Minstrel Carnival in Cape Town, South Africa. This interdisciplinary piece is choreographed by Millicent Johnnie and set to two compositions by Felipe Hall and Donald Harrison, respectively. This new piece strips the blackface veneer revealing a deeper tradition most notably retained within the cultural expressions of the Mardi Gras Indians.

Cynthia Oliver/COCo Dance Theatre, Urbana, IL 
BOOM! is a new duet by Cynthia Oliver featuring Oliver and Leslie Cuyjet as individuals, friends, strangers, family, and younger/older versions of themselves negotiating relations that are persistently in flux. It builds upon a non-linear sequence of narratives around a life and a relationship of a woman to herself, her history, her present and future. BOOM! is a choreography of shifting realities - a looping, fractured unfolding - examining notions of destiny, when LIFE happens, and when "fairness" and cause and effect do not necessarily align.

DanceBrazil, New York, NY
DanceBrazil’s proposed new work Samba Recôncavo will be based on the original form of samba called Samba de Roda (roda meaning circle) and its music. Samba de Roda was born in the region of Recôncavo in the state of Bahia, Brazil, in the 17th century, and still plays an important social role in the Recôncavo region. However, it is a disappearing art from. In this new work, Artistic director Jelon Vieira, who is originally from the Recôncavo region, wants to celebrate the Samba de Roda as well as raise public awareness of the value of its heritage.

ORIGI-NATION: ROOTS AND SEEDS explores perspectives on seeds, plants, and foods in a performance of Indigenous contemporary dance, songs, Native languages, and audio/video-scape. Evolving from cultural exchange between company and community members including Native elders, farmers, herbalists and food advocacy groups, this neo-indigenous ritual of embodiment brings the energy of landscape to theater and the spirit of dreamscape to earth. This work can be adapted to theater or indoor/outdoor sites.

David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group, Thornwood, NY
I Understand Everything Better is a multi-disciplinary performance piece that explores the impulse to report on calamity, the consciousness of traumatic change, and one's proximity to dying. A union of theater and dance-making methodologies, I Understand Everything Better will incorporate innovative technology, weather reports, and personal narratives all within a framework composed of elements drawn from classical Japanese dance and theater. Working with collaborators Sibyl Kempson and Tei Blow, Neumann will act as director and performer.

Eiko & Koma, New York, NY
Eiko, working as a soloist in collaboration with a photographer, a videographer, a dramaturg, and a curator, will create two interrelated durational site works within Eiko: A Woman in Philadelphia. Station (Fall 2014) is a series of performances at Amtrak's 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. A Body in Places (Fall 2015) is a multi-media "living" gallery installation at Pennsylvania Academy for the Fine Arts. The latter is constructed from the collective experiences of the former. Both will be adapted to specific tour sites.

Faye Driscoll, Brooklyn, NY
Thank You For Coming: PLAY is the second in a series of choreographic works which heighten how we experience ourselves in relation to other bodies, stories, and spaces. The ritual of storytelling will be forced to the forefront of a physically-driven dance-play to examine how we rely on stories to relate to one another and form identities as individuals and citizens. The conflation of Driscoll's life story with those of her collaborators and others will ultimately create a quasi-fictional collective autobiography that is danced, sung, and spoken.

John Jasperse projects, New York, NY
Remains is a new dance work by John Jasperse. The premiere will occur outside New York City in late Fall 2015, with the New York premiere in 2016. Addressing the illusion of self as separate and the notion of legacy as interconnected, cause-effect relationships with one’s environs, the work will be constructed with a notion of an extended body that involves physical objects and some technology, where the dance might continue to exist in some form without the dancers.

Karen Sherman, Minneapolis, MN
Dancers are expected to be seen and sensual, to feel everything and show it to us. But stagehands, who make dances possible, are expected to work tirelessly and disappear into shadow, to become no one, to make the work and the worker invisible. When you work this way, you risk living this way. Soft Goods is about and performed by stage technicians (some of whom are also dancers). It uses choreography, manual labor, scripted and improvised text, and video to look at work, loss, aliveness, death, disappearance, and occupational self-obliteration.

Kota Yamazaki/Fluid hug-hug, Brooklyn, NY
Commissioned by Japan Society, OQ is a new international dance project with New York architect collective SO-IL [Florian Idenburg (Netherlands), Jing Liu (China)], Tokyo composer Masahiro Sugaya, New York lighting designer Kathy Kaufmann, and six dancers from diverse cultural backgrounds who have undergone different trainings. OQ is the transliteration of the Japanese word palace.  Although the palace of OQ doesn't belong to a specific culture/era/person, the piece is inspired by the ritualistic structure of the utakai (aristocrat poetry ceremony from ancient Japan).

Mark Morris Dance Group, Brooklyn, NY
Mark Morris will create a new work titled Words set to Felix Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words for the Mark Morris Dance Group. Words will premiere in fall 2014 and then be featured as a highlight on all performances on MMDG's unique, multi-continent "Excursions 2014" tour from October-November 2014. This work will continue to be performed throughout the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons in venues across the U.S.

Miguel Gutierrez, Brooklyn, NY
Age & Beauty Parts 2 & 3 are parts of a suite of three queer performances:
Age & Beauty Part 1: Mid-Career Artist/Suicide Note or &:-/
Age & Beauty Part 2: Asian Beauty or The Choreographer and Her Muse
Age & Beauty Part 3: DANCER or You Can Make Whatever The Fuck You Want But You'll Only Tour Solos
Each piece exists as an evening-length work, concerned with a constellation of ideas: queerness and middle age; mid-career anxiety; contemplations of suicide; economic despair; detachment from ambition competing with re-commitment to futurity; and tropes about the “aging gay choreographer."

Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, Chicago, IL
And We Shall Be Rid of Them is a new duet performance by Molly Shanahan and Jeff Hancock, with original score by Kevin O'Donnell and lighting design by Josh Weckesser. Taking freewheeling inspiration from Grimm's Hansel and Gretel and its layers of loss, abandonment, and release, we brazenly assert parallels between the tale's violent jostling of values with our questions as creators: What must we be rid of in order to survive? What is risked and what is gained when we are stripped of all that is familiar? What new knowledge is made possible?

Nora Chipaumire, Brooklyn, NY
In portrait of myself as my father Nora Chipaumire authors a visual rendering of masculinity and its presence, presentation, and representation. The work is a means to celebrate and offer a critique of masculinity, while continuing her quest to discover her own subject-hood: the black body as subject, Africa as subject, performance as subject, personal history as subject, and the self as a subject of inquiry.

Palissimo Company, New York, NY
Custodians of Beauty is a provocative, multi-sensory performance experience by Palissimo Company reflecting on beauty, revisited and re-imagined. Part stage work, part live performance installation, Custodians will stimulate "gladness to the senses" (Susan Sontag's definition of a totalizing experience of beauty). Pavel Zustiak (choreographer/director), Christian Frederickson (composer/musician), and Joe Levasseur (light design) will build on their acclaimed working history of multidisciplinary experimentation in this ambitious new project.

Pilobolus, Washington, CT
In the newest production of its International Collaborators Project, Pilobolus is partnering with Norwegian choreographer Jo Strømgren to create and produce a new full-company (seven dancers; five men and two women) dance work. The dance will explore human individuality and the desire for group identity using pixelated light technologies in concert with dancers' relationships to each other.

The Seldoms, North Riverside, IL
Power Goes is a dance theater work about power, its expression through the body and personality, and how it makes things happen. The work directly draws upon the historical figure of Lyndon Baines Johnson to confront our political present of gridlock. Directed and conceived by choreographer Carrie Hanson and playwright Stuart Flack in their first collaboration, the project will be developed with The Seldoms ensemble, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, visual artist Sarah Krepp, typographer/designer Bob Faust, and lighting designer Julie Ballard.

Sheetal Gandhi, Los Angeles, CA
Sheetal Gandhi's Dear Heart will layer movement, complex rhythmic structures, illusion, theatricality, and live singing to expose the paradoxes and contradictory impulses of love. Choreographically, the project will explore how classical Indian dance has influenced and evolved in American Jazz dance, particularly through the work of Jazz innovators like Jack Cole.

STREB, Brooklyn, NY
Action architect Elizabeth Streb creates a series of action statements that will be the central element of Risky Talking: live events linking creative thinkers and doers from the worlds of art, politics, urban development, cultural history, architecture, engineering, design, media, science, and social anthropology with audiences. Each action statement will be informed by and will inform a different theme: Risky Thinking, Risky Making, Risky Development, Risky Imagination and Risky Politics.

Trajal Harrell- Tickle the Sleeping Giant, New York, NY
Why are artists, audiences, industry professionals, and innocent bystanders notoriously passionate about this thing called Art? Why are lives committed to it and sacrificed for it? Why are bank accounts emptied, homes mortgaged, and years devoted to it? In Trajal Harrell’s work THE GHOST OF MONTPELLIER MEETS THE SAMURAI for eight performers, these questions are debated through an imaginary meeting between Tatsumi Hijikata, the founder of butoh, Dominique Bagouet, the leader of Nouvelle Danse, and Ellen Stewart, the founder and namesake of LaMama. The work uses dance, song and text. 

Twyla Tharp Dance, New York, NY
Twyla Tharp will mark her 50th anniversary as a choreographer in 2015 with the tour of a new full-evening work performed by a newly regrouped company of dancers. The company will be comprised of six couples: outstanding dancers from across the United States.  The work, which will be created in collaboration with violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen, will be performed in three sections set to music including Terry Riley's In C, a new composition by Jacobsen, and Bach's Preludes and Fugues from the Well Tempered Clavier.

Wally Cardona & Jennifer Lacey, Brooklyn, NY
The Set Up is an eight-part series by Wally Cardona, Jennifer Lacey, and eight international artists viewed as "masters" of existent dance forms. Each master is invited to teach what they think is most important about the form to which they have devoted their lives. This is followed by a period of response, resulting in eight pieces featuring original live music. Displacing contemporary practice by "camping" within a tradition of mastery, the choreography happens in the layers of superficiality and depth inherent in assumption of the universality of dance.

YIN MEI DANCE, Port Washington, NY
Collaborators Yin Mei (choreography) and Jay Scheib (stage direction) fashion an ancient Chinese legend Farewell My Concubine into a post-modern "spying" device to view the act of creating and performing through the eyes of the artist/performer, him/herself. This multi-disciplinary dance theater work uses "live cinema" technique to "see" through the concubine/performer's eyes. The work weaves together movements, texts, and projections, and will be performed in real time both within the theater and, via the internet, in China.