NEFA and Chicago Dancemakers Forum Announce Chicago RDDI Artists

12 Chicago artists selected to participate in Regional Dance Development Initiative


(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts, together with the Chicago Dancemakers Forum, is excited to announce the 12 Chicago-based artists selected to participate in a 10-day dance lab with support from The Reva and David Logan Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The dance lab is part of the Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) of NEFA’s National Dance Project (NDP), which provides professional growth for dance artists in regions across the U.S. through programs designed to help dance artists clarify goals, develop strategies, hone public presentation skills, and strengthen partnerships between artists and presenters.

“NEFA’s work with the Chicago dance community in developing this RDDI has been particularly rewarding, and the generous early response from local foundations makes it possible to move forward," said NEFA deputy director Jane Preston. “We are excited about building more connections and opportunities for these artists, as well as strengthening Chicago dance artists’ connections to each other and to the national dance field.”

A national panel selected 12 artists from a highly competitive pool of 36 applicants who represent a broad range of career stages and dance disciplines including: African, butoh, burlesque, contemporary, dance on film, improvisation, interdisciplinary, and tap, representing multiple neighborhoods across the greater Chicago area. The 2016 RDDI Chicago Dance Lab Artists are:

The panel consisted of five artists and presenters from around the country, including: Rob Bailis, Associate Director at Cal Performances, San Francisco, CA; Jennifer Calienes, Independent Consultant, Boston, MA; Laura Elaine Ellis, Choreographer, Producer, Executive Director at African and African American Performing Arts Coalition, San Francisco, CA; Chuck Helm, Director of Performing Arts at Wexner Center for the Arts; Columbus, OH; Christopher K. Morgan, Choreographer, Artistic Director Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, Washington D.C.

The Chicago Dance Lab will take place July 29–August 9, 2016, along with additional workshops and events open to the Chicago dance community in 2016 and 2017.

“The Chicago Dancemakers Forum is honored to be the local host and to partner with NEFA on RDDI Chicago. We’ve learned so much about our community of dance artists through the selection process alone, and are excited to take a deep dive with this exceptional group of selected RDDI participants at the summer Chicago Dance Lab,” commented Ginger Farley, executive director of CDF.

Since 2004, dance labs have been held in the Pacific Northwest, the San Francisco Bay Area, New England, and Minnesota. Outcomes for previous lab artists have included national funding, commissioning of new and collaborative projects, national and international festival residencies, and extended engagements and partnerships with presenters.

NEFA launched the National Dance Project in 1996 to encourage the creation of new dance work to share with audiences in communities throughout the U.S.  Since then, the program has distributed more than $28 million in grants and remains one of the most significant sources for dance funding in the U.S. NDP has reached over 3.6 million audience members in all 50 states, Washington D.C, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NEFA's National Dance Project is generously supported with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with funding for special initiatives from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the French American Cultural Exchange, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

About NEFA
NEFA builds connections among artists, arts organizations, and funders, powering the arts to energize communities in New England, the nation, and the world. NEFA is a nonprofit that operates in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England state arts agencies, with additional funding from foundations, corporations, individuals and other government agencies. NEFA’s work is accomplished through grantmaking, services, and initiatives which strengthen and advance the national arts infrastructure. For more information, please visit or call 617.951.0010.

About Chicago Dancemakers Forum
The Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) is a catalyst for innovation and a means to increase dynamic interaction among Chicago’s dancemakers. CDF provides multi-layered support for choreographers by making cash grants, presenting public workshops and events, and offering professional development and residency opportunities for choreographers. CDF is the only organization in Chicago dedicated solely nurturing artistic advancement and new dance development for the dancemaking field. By focusing on the creative process CDF cultivates artistic exploration and growth for individual artists, fueling the field of dance in Chicago overall. CDF is a not-for-profit organization.


IMAGE: Khecari (Julia Rae Antonick and Jonathan Meyer); Photo by John Sisson.

Ann Wicks/NEFA | 617.951.0010 x534  
Victoria Bradford/CDF | 337.794.8222

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