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

Each year, the National Dance Project awards between 18-20 Production Grants to support the creation of new dance works that will tour the U.S. It’s a competitive application process with two rounds of review, the first of which recently took place in Seattle where the NDP panel reviewed 124 preliminary applications from artists and companies across the country. I’m excited to announce the 37 projects that are advancing to the final round.

NDP Production Grants provide a full package of support that includes up to $45,000 to artists and companies to create a new work, along with approximately $10,000 in unrestricted general operating support, and up to $35,000 in tour subsidies to U.S. presenters who bring the new work to audiences in their communities.

In both rounds, the NDP panel of partners- made up of rotating Hub Sites and Advisors representing presenters, artists, and organizational leaders from around the U.S. - reviews applications and offers feedback that is available to each applicant. The final round includes an additional and unique opportunity for each of the 37 finalists to be paired with one of the NDP Hub Site partners, who will work closely with them to provide advice and guidance as they prepare their full proposal.

Stay tuned for a formal announcement of the NDP Production Grants this coming July. In the meantime, we’re thrilled to recognize these 37 finalists and encourage presenters, curators, and others to begin their planning now.

2015 National Dance Project Final Round Applicants

Adele Myers and Dancers, Hamden, CT
The Dancing Room is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Adele Myers and Dancers with interactive media artist John Slepia, and composer Josh Quillen. Additional collaborators include visual and lighting direction by Kathy Couch and costume design by Heidi Henderson. The collaborative intention with The Dancing Room is to further integrate interactive media and live performance to design a site adaptable and self-sustaining production and to create an activated environment which itself dances and features people dancing. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Vermont will present the world premiere in fall 2016, launching the 2016-17 touring season.

Ann Carlson, Santa Monica, CA
Doggie Hamlet is a performance spectacle that weaves dance, music, visual, and theatrical elements with aspects from competitive sheep herding trials. Performed by four dancers, a herding dog, and a flock of sheep, this work recalls the bucolic impression of a landscape painting or a 3D pastoral poem. The sheep, the dogs, the human performers, and the earth's surface are at once performing as themselves and as living symbols in this work. Through story, motion, site, and stillness Doggie Hamlet explores instinct, sentience, attachment, and loss

Aparna Ramaswamy/Ragamala Dance Company, Minneapolis, MN
In They Rose at Dawn—a new solo work with live music by Aparna Ramaswamy—women are carriers of ritual. As humans, we endure and thrive through their transmission of wisdom from one generation to the next. Navigating inner and outer worlds, they are the primordial source of all creation: the compassionate mother; the lover, exuberant and erotic; and the embodiment of power and strength. For Ramaswamy, these intergenerational conversations provide a forum to create intricate and complex worlds that convey a sense of reverence, of unfolding mystery, and of imagination.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Aspen, CO
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet celebrates its 20th anniversary season and continues to look ahead with a new work by Spanish choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo. Still a dancer, Cerrudo brings an ability to create intimate and powerful imagery that resonates with today’s audiences. Cerrudo's second creation for ASFB, this new ballet incorporates music by independent, alternative artists Nils Frahm, King Creosote, and Dustin Hamman. Branimira Ivanova and Michael Korsch collaborate for costume and lighting design. The work will tour with the help of partners on each coast: Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University Northridge and Jacob’s Pillow Dance in Massachusetts.

Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, Philadelphia, PA
Hands Up Dis/Unity- Make This Not Us Against Them is an immersive installation and interdisciplinary performance that contributes to the anti-racism movement #BlackLivesMatter. The work interrogates infrastructures that criminalize and pathologize black bodies throughout the African Diaspora, and the civil unrest that ultimately ensues. An eight member interdisciplinary creative team is collaboratively developing the sixty minute work. Through dance, video, and live music, the performance encourages audiences to consider the efficacy of resilience, protest, and radical tenderness as strategies against institutional racism.

#PublicCanvas is a large-scale multimedia public art project by Amelia Rudolph, video artist Jonathan Rowe, and the dancers of BANDALOOP, made up of crowd-sourced projected images that give voice to a multi-layered story for a chosen urban site. An open source digital media “canvas,” #PublicCanvas will elicit the voices of the public to create narrative for its projected set. This integration of vertical dance and public narrative will be shared in civic space with a digital gallery of crowd-sourced content.

Chitresh Das Dance Company, San Francisco, CA
Shiva is a powerful work by Pandit Chitresh Das choreographed on his all-female Chitresh Das Dance Company that pushes the boundaries of Kathak dance. With intense rhythms, chanting, hypnotic vocals, and virtuosic dance, Shiva transports the audience into the world of tantrics, a tradition where the practitioner renounces everything seeking connection to the divine. It demonstrates Das’ ability to dig deep within his art form and create new work with timeless concepts of ancient India yet in a way that is visceral and relevant to contemporary audiences.

d. Sabela grimes, Encino, CA
ELECTROGYNOUS is a 50-60 minute multidisciplinary, multimedia solo performance by d. Sabela grimes. Through a mix of recorded and live music, layered video and soundscapes, poetry and dance this work comments on and challenges hyper-stereotypes of African American men and the ways that notions of masculinity and femininity are embodied, displayed, and portrayed on black bodies.

Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York, NY
Francesca Harper will create a new work for Dance Theatre of Harlem to John Adams’ String Quartet. Originally approached by the Attacca String Quartet to work with the John Adams’ score, Ms. Harper intends to create a work that uses classical ballet vocabulary to make a contemporary statement. The ballet will be performed to live music wherever possible. The as-yet-untitled work, which is inspired by current social justice issues in America and in particular as they relate to the black community, is built in collaboration with the dancers, using their own experiences as people of color as material to explore. The ballet, which is on pointe, is in two parts.

Emily Johnson/Catalyst, Minneapolis, MN
Then a Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars is a project focused on all night urban and rural stargazing inclusive of building quilts in community sewing bees; a performance generated alongside the quilt making period; curated stories; community breakfasts; indigenous star knowledge; partnerships with city parks to turn out the lights; and safety visioning with communities where lights are off and stargazing happens. The project is in collaboration with four dancers, director Ain Gordon, weaver Maggie Thompson, and elder quilt makers in Minnesota, Alaska, Florida, and Alabama.

Every house has a door, Chicago, IL
In The Three Matadors Project, four original solos frame and respond to a realization of the bi-lingual (English and Spanish) Three Matadors performance text by esteemed poet Jay Wright. Director and choreographer Lin Hixson and dramaturge Matthew Goulish will collaborate with performers/dancers Sebastián Calderón Bentin, Stephen Fiehn, and taisha paggett, and with musician Tim Kinsella. The highly structured performance commences from intricate bullfighting maneuvers and Wright’s language of the multicultural imagination: equal parts African mythology, American post-colonial ritual, quantum physics and numbers theory, it’s less to weave these parts than to demonstrate how they are already woven.

Fist and Heel Performance Group, Brooklyn, NY
CITIZEN: the new evening-length performance work, a series of solos with some group sections from Reggie Wilson, asks the questions, “What does it mean to belong,” and “What does it mean to not want to, belong.” CITIZEN enters and contributes toward a larger human conversation on belonging by excavating and exposing statements of individuality, civic duty, and basic social needs, to reveal vantage points that consider the overarching implications, consequences, and complicated humanity inherent in black folks’ sense of belonging in America.

GERARD & KELLY, Brooklyn, NY
MODERN LIVING is a single project, built in multiple phases, which takes place across two sites of modernist architecture: the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, and the Schindler House in Los Angeles. Both houses sheltered different manifestations of intimacy and ideas of family and relationships that were as modern as their design. Through dance-based performances, video, and site-specific interventions, the project will focus on these relations, often overlooked, and how they manifest in the interstices of architecture and history.

Gesel Mason Performing Projects, Boulder, CO
antithesis collides the genres, bodies, and cultures of postmodern and erotic dance in order to challenge how female sexuality is perceived, performed, and (re)presented. The project is an embodied attempt to explore and mine the erotic - the sometimes messy, gritty, tactile, growling, chaotic, passionate, and tender edges of female sexual expression and creativity. Staging the work in multiple venues (from the concert stage to the strip club or an alternate space) pushes the research beyond the safe container of “art” in order to train for the inevitable moment when we bump up against racist, sexist, and heteronormative structures and find choice, strength, and resilience in spite of them.

Helen Simoneau Danse, Winston-Salem, NC
Caribou, a new evening-length work by choreographer Helen Simoneau, will investigate heritage, assimilation and identity to reveal how the willing erasure of the self may serve as a means of renewal and redirection. Examined abstractly through the lens of caribou, the iconic species from Simoneau’s native Canada, this most powerful member of the deer family serves as a trail guide for the work featuring six performers with dramaturgy by Steven Cook, original music by Nathalie Joachim, and costume design by Reid Bartelme.

Hubbard Street 2 (HS2), Chicago, IL
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will commission a new work for children and families, Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure, to be choreographed by Robyn Mineko Williams for Hubbard Street 2 in collaboration with the shadow puppeteers at Manual Cinema. The project will follow the story of a young girl and her magical journey through a world of music.

Jess Curtis/Gravity, San Francisco, CA
The Way You Look (at me) Tonight is an evening-length dance-based duet investigating the role of movement and sensory dynamics in the perception of otherness, created by choreographer and performance artist Jess Curtis and Scottish self-identified disabled performer and choreographer Claire Cunningham, in consultation with acclaimed philosopher of perception Dr. Alva Noë. The project, co-commissioned by Unlimited (UK), will have a rolling premiere in Glasglow, London, and San Francisco and will include video projections, original music, and multiple performance manifestations.

Jody Kuehner, Seattle, WA
A suite of queer, feminist dances by drag/dance bio-fem Cherdonna.
1. Cherdonna Living: eight hour durational performance/ encounters on the street/ recorded for digital  archive and film.
2. Clock that Mug or Dusted: homage to feminist performance artists from Anna Halprin to Janine Antoni/ addressing bio-fem drag as feminist performance tradition.
3. Culminating dance spectacle: Manically driven Cherdonna simultaneously conducts a brass clown band/ drag queer folk-dance/ fantastical movement monologue/ action-painting gone amok/ kitten therapy.

John Kelly Performance, New York, NY
Time No Line is the first in a series of works that focuses on how an individual past can foster an examination of shared history and experience.  This interdisciplinary dance theater work, based on texts and images from John Kelly’s personal journals, essays, and drawings, is realized through the movements of four dancers interacting with projected animations of words and images via live multimedia technology.

Liz Gerring Dance Company, New York, NY
Throughout 2015, Liz Gerring and collaborators, composer Michael J. Schumacher and lighting and set designer Robert Wierzel, will create a new work, On The Horizon Line (working title), to premiere in December 2015 at Montclair State University, New Jersey. Building on their success with the 2013 glacier, and created partially in residence at Montclair, the company will work closely with Peak Performances towards creating a new touring work for seven dancers. The shooting of a 3D film of the performance will be included as part of the commission.

luciana achugar, Brooklyn, NY
OTRO TEATRO: An Epilogue is a long form performance to premiere in 2016. It is the most recent incarnation of a series of works that began with OTRO TEATRO, a performance as an intervention for a theater in ruins that was less of a spectacle and more of a practice of moving performance closer to ritual. It functions as an epilogue for that previous work, and it aims to connect us to our essential desire to move, to set free a new “post-civilized” self, resisting western assumptions of beauty and order. Anti-spectacular yet super-natural, OTRO TEATRO: An Epilogue is a performance as a ritual for healing and an occasion for communion that moves the audience from apathy to empathy.

Lucinda Childs Dance Company, New York, NY
Lucinda Childs: A New Work will represent the first new creation choreographed by Lucinda Childs for her own company of dancers in 13 years. Produced by Pomegranate Arts, this new work will be a collaboration with composer/multi-instrumentalist Colin Stetson (best known for his work with Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, and Bell Orchestre) with costumes by Kasia Walicka Maimone and lighting by John Torres. The Joyce Theater, acting as lead presenter partner, will host this work in New York as well as ancillary events before and during the performance run. Technical rehearsals and world premiere are projected to take place at Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA in fall 2016.

Malpaso, Havana, Cuba
Aszure Barton will create a new 20-30 minute work for Malpaso Dance Company, a highly skilled contemporary dance company of ten dancers based in Havana, Cuba. Commissioning support will be provided by The Joyce Theater and additional production support will be provided by a new partnership initiative, Joyce Theater and Sunny Artist Management Productions. The work will be created during a four to six week residency in Havana or hosted by a U.S. presenter in April/May 2016 with the U.S. premiere and tour to follow in 2016–2017.

Mark Morris Dance Group, Brooklyn, NY
Layla and Majnun is an original dance with live music work based on the epic love story popularized by the 12th century Persian poet Nizami. The work will explore the story’s themes of love, madness, and mysticism through Mark Morris’ unique choreography and direction and the Asian and Middle Eastern music of the Silk Road Ensemble. The work will feature singers and musicians of the Silk Road Ensemble performing on stage alongside the MMDG dancers and will premiere in September 2016 at Cal Performances, Berkeley.

Martha Graham Dance Company, New York, NY
Master choreographer Mats Ek is currently at work on a film titled Axe, which explores the relationship of an older couple and the tensions that have developed in their relationship over a lifetime. Working with four dancers from the Martha Graham Dance Company, Mr. Ek will develop the movement in the film into a dance of about 20 minutes. The work will be created in July and August 2015 and premiere at the Jacob’s Pillow Festival on August 23.

Meg Wolfe, Los Angeles, CA
New Faithful Disco is a queer love power trio, wrought with awkwardness and contradiction. Propelled by Maria de los Angeles Cuca Esteves' sound score and performed by dancers taisha paggett, Marbles Rae Shao-lan, and Meg Wolfe, New Faithful Disco is an experiential, sensational whirlwind that conjures social dance forms within the structure of a performance work. Belief is made manifest as energy. Bodies are the conduit. Dances are generated, translated, and recycled in an attempt to remix revolution. New Faithful Disco opens up time and triggers fading histories, providing a backdrop that frames who we are, now— as we take back our power, and serve it up, together.

Michael Sakamoto, Iowa City, IA
Soil is a dance theater trio conceived and directed by Michael Sakamoto and co-written and co-choreographed by Sakamoto with the performers, Cambodian classical dancer Chey Chankethya, Thai traditional and contemporary dancer Waewdao Sirisook, and Vietnamese-American contemporary dancer Nguyen Nguyen. The work explores crisis in three Southeast Asian cultures through the dancers' personal narratives. Referencing legacies of political conflict, war, genocide, and environmental destruction, Soil poses the question, “Who am I?” in the context of a chaotic and rapidly globalizing Southeast Asia.

Morgan Thorson, Minneapolis, MN
Still Life (SL) uses extinction as source material for a dance installation. Taking this subject from a scientific reality, collapsing what is real and imagined, SL advances new methods for creation and performance. The dancer, a-body-in-life, will practice/perform with totality, living a small death when drafting ideas of decay, stillness, and the loss of verticality. The choreography, a dance/time cycle, erases material each time it is repeated. A sonic clock, layered with original and found sound, times out when the dance disappears. With these new practices and forms, SL implicates the present moment as a point of no return, and proposes embodied public mourning through live performance.

Nichole Canuso Dance Company, Philadelphia, PA
CoPresence explores themes of separation and connection in our digitally-enhanced world. A collaboration between choreographer Nichole Canuso and designer Lars Jan, the piece features two performers, Canuso and Geoff Sobelle, separated in physical space and who converge in a third cinematic space, with live music by Xander Duell. CoPresence is dance, theater, rock concert, and real-time cinema at once and is loosely inspired by California, the desert, abandoned suburban developments, mannequins, and empty swimming pools. The stage set also provides an immersive experience for visitors to explore the live-feed technology that connects two bodies in virtual space.

Pick Up Performance Co(s), New York, NY
Pop-Up Archiveography (working title) is a new project by David Gordon to invent a touring personal dance history series. Gordon is examining the challenge of constructing an archetype of a living artist’s approach to the language of archive systems by combining existing archival methodology with his 50+ years as a working artist. Pop-Up Archiveography — utilizing live storytelling, archival material, and live video — will contextualize Gordon’s work from memory as well as the memories of former collaborators and performers. Pop-Up Archiveography will be developed in a series presented at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Bruno Walter Auditorium throughout 2015-2016.

Raphael Xavier, Philadelphia, PA
Chattél is an evening length interactive dance theatre production merging performance, visual art, music, and text, and created with the flexibility to fit on proscenium stages or within gallery or intimate spaces. The work utilizes styles of the Breaking vocabulary in a contemporary manner, and allows for the audience to play an organic role within the space. Chattél addresses issues of modern day slavery in American culture, and explores sexuality and the loss and gain of identity and power. It looks at societal spectatorship of black male bodies through U.S. history, from enslaved Africans on auction blocks to the black male body as central figure in today’s popular culture and media.

RAWdance, San Francisco, CA
Drawing on RAWdance company’s artistic directors Ryan T. Smith and Wendy Rein’s 17 year history as dance and creative partners, Double Exposure is an evening-length examination of the contemporary “duet.” Developed and performed by Smith and Rein, the work interweaves 12 commissioned duets by some of the field’s most intriguing and esteemed choreographers making work along the West Coast today. Presented by ODC Theater, Double Exposure will premiere in summer 2016 and will include an online archive of each artist’s process.

Rosy Simas Danse, Minneapolis, MN
For Skin(s), Rosy Simas brings together Native organizations, galleries, community arts organizations, and dance presenters to work with Native people and contemporary dancers to examine the cultural, political, and identity issues of Native people in urban relocation cities. Skin(s) continues Simas’ interest in creating immersive experiences for audiences via the orchestration of dance, film, set design, visual art, dialogue, and sound design by her collaborator composer François Richomme. Recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and National Performance Network Creation Fund, Skin(s) is commissioned by Eastside Arts in Oakland, LaPeña in Berkeley, and Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis.

Shen Wei Dance Arts, New York, NY
Shen Wei will create an evening-length work for SWDA in partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, to be performed at the 2016 Next Wave Festival. A meditation on nature and landscape, Shen Wei’s series of larger-than-life paintings (shown at the Museum of Art+Design during Art Basel/Miami 2014) is the catalyst for movement explorations that reflect on the surging and ebbing forces of a primordial landscape. Set to music by Chinese American composer Chou Wen-chung and others, it will feature live music by the Talujon Percussion Quartet.

Sidra Bell Dance New York, White Plains, New York
Sidra Bell Dance New York in collaboration with Per Störby (Composer) from Sweden, is developing a multidisciplinary work entitled MÖNSTER OUTSIDE. The work is immersive and will be performed with New Tide Orquesta in a dynamic stage arena that marries dance, opera, and storytelling to speak to themes of human alienation and the search for intimacy in constantly shifting contemporary life. Bell’s genre-busting movement will be framed by a unique blend of chamber music, free improvisation, and electro pop. The dance embraces progressing patterns that culminate into cinematic and theatrical currents in an explosion of movement, light, and sound.

SuperGroup, Minneapolis, MN
Stemming from an investigation of personal hate and anger, HOT LIQUID CONTAINERS (HLC) is a solo performance performed in unison by seven performers. Continuing SuperGroup’s exploration of the multitasking performer, HLC’s complex web of identities and stories will heighten the artificiality of assimilation and question how we experience and perform ourselves through our perceptions of others. It will premiere in Minneapolis in fall 2016 at The Red Eye Theater.

zoe | juniper, Seattle, WA
Clear & Sweet is a multidisciplinary performance incorporating dance and live vocals based on an inquiry into Sacred Harp Singing (SHS). Building on the format of SHS, z|j will integrate singers into audiences creating an immersive sonic, physical, and visual experience. SHS is a form of spiritual a cappella choral singing founded in Baptist churches, but also practiced in secular groups. SHS and z|j’s work share a desire for creating opportunities for redemption through participants’ personal relationship to worship in the company of others.