$670K supports the creation of contemporary dance to tour in 2010-2012

(BOSTON) New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) announces that its National Dance Project (NDP) has awarded $669,400 in Production Grants to support the development of new dance works during the 2009-2010 seasons.

Twenty-one contemporary dance artists and companies based in Illinois, New Mexico, Tennessee, Minnesota, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, New York, and France will receive NDP Production Grants in amounts from $16,000 to $35,000. Projects were selected from a highly competitive applicant pool. Once developed, the works will be available for national touring activity during the 2010-2011 or 2011-2012 performance seasons.

In addition to the Production award, each grant recipient will receive general operating support, ranging in amounts from $7,000 to $16,000 from special funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These funds are intended to ensure organizational stability during this extraordinarily challenging economic period.

"This year's grantees reflect the amazing diversity of the dance field---site-specific work, ballet, hip hop, break dance, Native American, Cambodian, and Afro-Brazilian forms," said Jane Forde, NDP Manager. "Artists are bridging cultures and creating work that will truly engage communities across the United States."

A complete list of projects awarded funding by NDP Production Grants this year is included below and available online in the grant recipient database at www.nefa.org.

As of August 2009, NDP grants have supported more than 230 new dance works involving over 300 presenters of dance in more than 4,300 performances and 7,500 community activities. NDP has reached over 2.5 million audience members and funds tours to an average of thirty-six states annually. Projects that receive NDP Production Grants are added to a roster of selected projects available to performing arts presenters, who can then apply for NDP Touring Grants to help defray the cost of presenting these works. For further information about NDP, please visit www.nefa.org or call 617.951.0010 x512.

NEFA's National Dance Project Production and Touring grants are generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the MetLife Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation.

About NEFA
NEFA creatively supports the movement of people, ideas, and resources in the arts within New England and beyond, makes vital connections between artists and communities, and builds the strength, knowledge, and leadership of the creative sector. NEFA is a 501 (c) (3) that operates with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New England state arts agencies, and from corporations, foundations and individuals.

NEFA currently administers ten grantmaking programs of regional, national, and international scope that support the performing arts, public art, and Native American artists. NEFA also leads projects and initiatives that range from the analysis of the creative economy to the creation of online tools which link and advance the cultural community. For more information on our grant programs and services, please visit www.nefa.org or call 617.951.0010.

2009 NDP Production Awards:

Armitage Gone! Dance, New York, New York
Project Title: “The Elegant Universe”
Conceived, choreographed, and directed by Karole Armitage for Armitage Gone! Dance. “The Elegant Universe,” inspired by physicist Brian Greene's best-selling book of the same title, which details the inherent conflict between the two great pillars of modern theoretical physics: Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. “The Elegant Universe” will bring together dancers, actors, and an original score in a production that will give visceral and dramatic form to concepts that preoccupy contemporary physics. Music by Lucas Legiti and text by Itamar Moses.

Association Noa/Cie Vincent Mantsoe, South Africa/France
Project Title: “SAN”
“SAN” by South African choreographer Vincent Mantsoe is a dramatic and provocative telling of the Khoi-San’s spiritual journey and cultural resistance in the wake of colonialism and globalization. The Khoi-San are nomadic people of southern Africa and recognized by many as the world’s oldest living culture. Mantsoe, along with four other dancers hailing from South Africa, Réunion, and France will create a dynamic dance performance that explores our universal humanity, the quest for balance, and ways life may be lived in the 21st century.

Ballet Memphis, Memphis, TN
Project Title: New work by Jane Comfort
Jane Comfort’s ballet, set to a score by Kirk Whalum, is a highly structured, abstract dance that blends classical ballet with contact and modern dance’s sensibility. Known in the business as Whitney Houston’s “sax guy,” the eight-time Grammy nominated African American musician Whalum has composed a score firmly rooted in the gospel tradition. Presented in an evening of mixed repertoire, the ballet celebrates the joy that is gospel: the ability to maintain an utterly enthusiastic and positive spirit in the face of dire circumstances and conditions.

Dancing Earth, Santa Fe NM, Phoenix AZ, Los Angeles CA, San Francisco CA
Project Title: “Of Bodies of Elements” (working title)
Dancing Earth’s choreography by Rulan Tangen is described by Dance Magazine as “One of the Top 25 To Watch.” Emerging out of the dreaming landscape of Native America, this indigenous ensemble gathers to express cardinal themes from their cultural world views through evocative contemporary ritual performances. “Of Bodies of Elements” explores humanity in the embodiment of primal ancestral forces from the natural world, revitalizing ancient rhythms with stunningly powerful physicality. Mythic realms of sky, water, and earth contextualize modern existence as fragile, yet capable of vital renewal.

David Dorfman Dance, New York, NY
Project Title: “Prophets of Funk – Dance to the Music”
“Prophets of Funk – Dance to the Music” is a dynamic engagement of movement driven by the popular - and populist - funk sounds of Sly and the Family Stone. Dorfman creates an evening that celebrates Sly’s groundbreaking, visceral, and powerful music of prophetic love and the struggles and celebration of everyday people. “Prophets of Funk – Dance to the Music” lifts up the spirit of Sly: that in the face of the funk of life, there are still hopes and aspirations that reside in all of us.

David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group, New York, NY
Project Title: “Big Eater”
For David Neumann, dancing is thought made physical - our perceptions and misperceptions, our anxieties, and our philosophies set in motion. “Big Eater,” a multi-disciplinary dance-based performance, takes an askance look at our appetites and juxtaposes our needy, conniving side with our possibility for transcendence—our ability, for instance, to recognize patterns across phenomena and perhaps the animal and the “drunkard” within ourselves. Original songs composed and recorded by Stew (Tony award for last year’s “Passing Strange” on Broadway). Video projections by Richard Sylvarnes.

EIKO & KOMA, New York, NY
Project Title: “Raven”
To launch their Retrospective Project, Eiko & Koma designed “Raven” to be radically scalable. From proscenium to black box to streetscape to clearing, “Raven” will encapsulate for old and new audiences the essential Eiko & Koma. Set to a score designed by Native-American composer Robert Mirabal for drummer Reynaldo Lujan, “Raven” will explore the rawness of life and myth and our ambivalent relationship to the land. In many cultures, the drumbeat is the pulse of the earth. We humans experience conflicting desires both to honor the earth on which we survive and to leave it behind.

Hubbard Street Dance, Chicago, Chicago, IL
Project Title: “Cerrudo-Bates Project” (working title)
Alejandro Cerrudo’s new work, set to music by electronica and classical composer Mason Bates, will be his fourth work for HSDC and his first as the company’s Resident Choreographer. The project, yet to be titled, will be a full company work, grand in scale and scope but still tour-ready with lighting as its primary design element. The work will premiere in April 2010 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and be available for touring in June 2010 with either live symphonic or recorded music.

inkBoat/Shinichi Iova-Koga/Ko Murobushi, San Francisco, CA and Tokyo, Japan
Project Title: “Crazy Cloud”
“Crazy Cloud” is a collision. The life of 15th century Buddhist monk and poet Ikkyu Sojun meets modern humanity, and questions arise that provoke and prod the order of our lives. “Crazy Cloud” is choreographed by Ko Murobushi, recognized in Japan as a leading inheritor of Hijikata’s original vision of Butoh, and Shinichi Iova-Koga, a younger generation artist who has created a hybrid form of performance integrating Butoh dance, physical theater, and music. Together, these artists search for the ghost of Ikkyu.

Jess Curtis/Gravity, San Francisco, CA
Project Title: “Dances for Non-Fictional Bodies” (working title)
“Dances for Non-Fictional Bodies” will be a multi-component performance
project examining the role(s) of imagined societal ideals as a kind of “fictional body” that disables individuals in terms of our ability to see others, and be seen as beautiful, empowered, and autonomous. The work will integrate a variety of disciplines: contemporary dance, live music, aerial acrobatics, post-dramatic text actions, and movement-based performance to examine physical difference (including disability) and embodied experience. As Gravity collaborates with renowned performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Peña in the role of “Dramaturge/Provocateur,” the project will also place “dance” or body-based performance outside of traditional theatrical venues including live art gallery installations and free public space performances.

Nicholasleichterdance, Brooklyn, NY
Project Title: “The Whiz”
Nicholasleichterdance teams up with the ultra-glam-fab singer-songwriter Monstah Black to reinvent the reinvented Black “Wizard of Oz” for the Obama generation. Celebrating the worlds of the movie musical “The Wiz,” “The Whiz” is a non-narrative odyssey of movement and cabaret set to Black’s original music. “The Whiz” presents an updated vision of the underground cultures explored in the film version and shows how they have evolved, becoming mainstream. Leichter and Black decorate the infectious dance with elements of club, video, fashion, and drag.

Paul Taylor/Paul Taylor Dance Company, New York City, New York,
Project Title: New Work (still untitled)
Paul Taylor is launching his 80th birthday celebration with the creation of a new work premiering at Syracuse University in November 2009. In collaboration with Santo Loquasto (costumes), and James F. Ingalls (lighting), Mr. Taylor has elected to choreograph to Debussy’s “Children’s Corner” and will create a “non-narrative work, exploring musicality and movement invention.” Taylor is the last living master choreographer from a generation of iconic greats that created the American modern dance idiom. This work is eagerly anticipated as we celebrate his ongoing creativity.

PHILADANCO (The Philadelphia Dance Company), Philadelphia, PA
Project Title: “By Way of the Funk”
“By Way of the Funk,” choreographed by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, is a new work that harnesses the energy and culture of funk music. Music is by the Funkadelics & Parliament. This 4-part work is a joyous celebration of the 40 years of PHILADANCO'S existence. As it says in the song: "funk not only moves it removes, dig," these words are emblematic of the way funk music makes you want to get up out of your seat and dance and forget your troubles. The work uses the entire company as a way to honor the legacy of achievement of Joan Myers Brown and PHILADANCO.

Sarah Michelson, New York and Manchester UK,
Project Title: “Narrative ballet on the subject of Martyrdrom” (working title)
Choreographer Sarah Michelson will create a new evening-length work, “Narrative ballet on the subject of Martyrdom” (working title), in collaboration with Richard Maxwell, who has committed to writing a play from which this narrative ballet will be built.

Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca, New York and Madrid, Spain
Project Title: “La Strada”
From Madrid, the award-winning Noche Flamenca offers audiences authentic performances of traditional flamenco. An unparalleled ensemble of dancers, singers, and guitarists, Noche tours “La Strada” – a narrative work based on the story scripted and made famous by Fellini in his film of the same name. “La Strada” features the celebrated Soledad Barrio as Gelsomina and a bi-lingual actor as the Master of Ceremonies (the narrator). Translation available. “La Strada” will be presented as one-half of a full evening program in two acts, with intermission.

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro/Khmer Arts Ensemble, Long Beach, CA
Project Title: “The Lives of Giants”
Blinded by arrogance and rage, a vengeful giant wreaks havoc in the heavens. When tricked into using his ill-gotten weapon of destruction on himself, layers of elaborate deception are stripped away and his treachery is laid bare. Spanning from classical Cambodian dance’s mytho-poetic realm of magnificent dress and nuanced vocabulary to our own, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro exposes the corrosive cycles of corrupting power and its consequences. The company is comprised of 34-38 dancers, instrumentalists, singers, and staff (Cambodia/USA).

Tere O’Connor Dance, New York, NY
Project Title: Project currently untitled
In this new work, Tere O’Connor embraces the tension between fixed states and constant change as a fundamental ingredient in choreographic thought. With a focus on spanning this divide, O’Connor’s complex movement networks will be interrupted by the spontaneous choreographic choices made by the dancers in each performance. The movement, lighting, music, and set will shift from meticulous calculation to chance, connecting and disengaging, as the contours of the dance take shape. The work features an original score by O’Connor’s longtime collaborator James Baker and is performed by his company of six dancers.

Trisha Brown Dance Company, New York, NY
Project Title: “Pigmalion”
In celebration of her company’s 40th anniversary, Trisha Brown will choreograph and direct Jean-Philippe Rameau’s highly regarded one-act opera, “Pigmalion” (1748). Based on the myth of Pygmalion as told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, this opera is a story of love and magic. Jennifer Tipton and Elizabeth Cannon will design the lights and costumes respectively. A new drawing by Ms. Brown will be transformed into a drop serving as the set for this piece for eight company dancers, which can tour with or without four opera soloists.

Viver Brasil, Los Angeles, CA,
Project Title: “Alaafia” (part of a full program of works entitled “Feet on the Ground”) “Alaafia” is a tribute to harmonious living, based on the stories inspired by the orixá (deity) Obatala and a tribute to the street parading, afoxés of Salvador, Bahia. Choreographed by Brazil’s Rosangela Silvestre and Los Angeles’ Shelby Williams, a core member of Viver Brasil, the work draws from her diverse foundation in contemporary dance and martial arts. “Alaafia” will showcase contemporary Afro-Brazilian dance movement, stunning costumes, percussion, and voice, with musical direction by Jose Ricardo Sousa and Luiz Badaró. Audience will be intoxicated, feel the earth tremble, and exit the theatre as jubilant witnesses.

Yasuko Yokoshi, New York, NY
Project Title: “Tyler Tyler”
“Tyler Tyler” resumes Yokoshi's artistic partnership with Masumi Seyama, revered master teacher of Kabuki Su-Odori dance and the heir to the legacy of Kanjyuro Fujima VI, one of the renowned Kabuki choreographers of 20th Century Japan. Together, Yokoshi and Seyama deconstruct new choreographic material generated from Fujima's classical dance repertories. The artists face boundaries of different training, cultural code, and social hierarchy while cherishing the universal language of dance. “Tyler Tyler” features the oldest disciple and member of Seyama Dance Family, Kayo Seyama; a young Kabuki actor, Kuniya Sawamura; and an actor from the Bungakuza Theater Company, Asaji Naoki. In the U.S., Yokoshi collaborates with American contemporary dancers, Julie Alexander and Kayvon Pourazar as well as singer/composer, Steven Reker.

Zoe Scofield & Juniper Shuey, Seattle, WA
Project Title: “A Crack in Everything”
Zoe and Juniper’s project, “A Crack in Everything,” is a dance and visual experience that uses Aeschylus’ “The Oresteia” as a lens to understand the emotional, physical, and psychological spectrum of justice and retaliation. An experiment in permeability and containment, aggression, and catharsis, “A Crack” presents dance performance, video projection, and installation in a highly controlled and modular environment. Conceptualized for physical production with simultaneous webcast possibilities.