A white woman with medium length straight blonde hair wearing a v-neck red top and subtle jewelry.
Program Manager, Dance

In this webinar, the NEFA dance team reviews the application form for Regional Dance Development (RDDI): New England Now and answers questions about the program activities and experiences.

Transcript of the Webinar

All right. I think we'll go ahead and get started. Good morning, everyone. And welcome. Thank you for joining us this morning for the informational webinar about New England Foundation for the Arts Regional Dance Development Initiative, also known as RDDI: New England Now.

At the New England Foundation for the Arts, we believe that one of the roles of the arts is to make the invisible visible. We also believe that it is not the responsibility of those who have been made invisible to remind us that they are still here. Therefore, as committed allies and as artists, the New England Foundation for the Arts wishes to acknowledge that the many grounds on which we are joining you today are the traditional lands of the Massachusett, Wampanoag, Nipmuc, Naumkeag, Mohican, and Dakota peoples.

We also recognize the many traditional lands in which all of you are joining us from today across the region. We honor their ancestors past, present and future and recognize their continued existence and contributions to our society. We also acknowledge those of you and your ancestors who did not come to this land by choice. We will now pause for a moment of silence to honor and reflect on the deep history of this land and its many peoples.

Hello again. And thank you for joining us for this webinar. My name is Indira Goodwine. And I am the program director for Dance. My pronouns are she, her, and hers.

Good morning. My name is Cheri Opperman. I'm the grants manager for Dance. And my pronouns are she, her, and hers.

Good morning. My name is Kristin Gregory. I'm the program manager for Dance. And I use pronouns she, her, and hers.

Hi, everyone. My name is Michèle Steinwald. I'm the RDDI consultant. And I use she and they.

For today's webinar, we will provide important information about the Regional Dance Development Initiative, also known as RDDI, and review the full application form for RDDI: New England Now. At the end of the webinar, you will be able to ask us questions using the chat feature. And we will answer all those that we can in the hour allotted. The application is due Tuesday, November 10 at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Please note this webinar is being recorded and will be made publicly available for future reference. The recorded webinar will include closed captioning and be accompanied by a full transcript.

New England Foundation for the Arts, also known as NEFA, is a grant maker, program initiator, aggregator of resources, and builder of creative partnerships among artists, arts organizations, and funders. Founded in 1976, NEFA is one of six regional arts organizations established with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to strengthen the national arts infrastructure by cultivating the arts on a regional level.

Each program and project that is brought to life at NEFA is created with the underlying goal of building a stronger and more dynamic infrastructure for the arts, convenings, online tools, and a 30 year history of data driven research on the economic impact of the arts are essential complements to NEFA's grant making. Today, NEFA's programs are regional, national, and international in scope and support artists and communities through grants and other opportunities in dance, music, theater, and public art.

In addition to NEFA's core values, I would like to uplift an important value that specifically relates to the goals of RDDI: New England Now, artists and the creative process. NEFA values the individual and collective contribution of artists in society, the ingenuity and imagination of the creative process, and is committed to the freedom of artistic expression. NEFA believes in amplifying the voices of artists as leaders in our organization, the arts sector, and communities.

As part of our last strategic plan, NEFA identified various values that we lean on to ensure all of our programming and grant making decisions reflect our deep commitment to our ecology. NEFA values an equitable, diverse, and inclusive world, which we interpret as all people having fair access to the tools and resources they need to realize creative and community endeavors. We acknowledge structural inequities that have excluded individuals and communities from opportunity based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, genre, language, culture, and geography, and to strive to counter these inequities in our work.

What is the Regional Dance Development Initiative? NDP created RDDI in 2004 to provide professional development for dance artists in regions across the US. NDP produces RDDI programs approximately every three to five years in partnership with local dance funders, a local organizational partner, and a local advisory committee.

To date, NDP has produced RDDI labs in Seattle, Washington; San Francisco, California; Portland, Oregon; New England; Minnesota; and Chicago, directly serving 68 artists and companies, raising artists' visibility, and building networks locally, regionally, and nationally. As of 2016, New England Dance artists had only received 2.9% of NDP's core artists grants.

RDDI: New England Now is being developed to strengthen and elevate visibility for New England dance makers as a direct response to findings from the NDP's Moving Dance Forward report from 2016, the New England Choreographers' Convening conversations from 2017, and the New England Dance cultural organizers' convening commitment from 2017. RDDI: New England Now will be a series of connected activities and opportunities across the region designed to elevate your work and strengthen institutional and community-based networks for dance inside of New England.

The program includes three connected components-- a professional development lab, an intersections summit, and a New England Now platform. Each component of RDDI: New England Now is designed to help a cohort of 12 New England-based dance makers articulate their practice and strengthen partnerships between New England-based artists and cultural organizers and organizations.

The professional development lab is a seven day deep dive with a cohort of regional peers, faculty, and mentors to articulate your artistic vision and goals, examine your creative process, and clarify how these two inform and meet one another in order to devise strategies to develop and present your work for, to, and with community in the most fully realized form.

The intersection summit is a curated convening with the selected artists and regional industry leaders, such as activists, scholars, politicians, scientists, engineers, to explore and amplify the value of dance practitioners' work and skill sets to other sectors. The New England Now platform is a weekend platform of performances and presentations wherein participating artists will share work in development with special guests and a general audience.

As compensation, the selected artists will receive $1,600 for their complete participation in RDDI: New England Now. These funds can be used for personal and professional expenses at your discretion. Additionally, NEFA will be solely responsible for all the travel, housing, and meals related to these activities and experiences. Finally, NEFA will provide a small performance stipend, inclusive of travel and housing, to bring up to three additional performers, if needed, to participate in the New England Now platform.

NEFA recognizes that everyone's situations are unique and participation may require additional support in terms of child care, family care, accessibility, and other accommodations. Should you be selected as a cohort member, NEFA will formally inquire about any additional needs you may require to fully participate in the program.

In line with these evolving times, NEFA will continue to adjust RDDI: New England Now as needed in order to keep everyone involved healthy and safe while creating an environment for shared learning and abundance. We will be sure to communicate any modifications to the program design and/or structure to the cohort once they have been selected.

On this page is a screenshot from our website where you will find all information related to RDDI: New England Now's program structure, eligibility, application, and selection process. To be eligible to apply, you must meet the following criteria.

You must be creating an original work and/or experiences in any genre of dance. You must have a primary residence within the six New England states. You must have choreographed and shared work for an audience in a public setting within the last 24 months. You can not currently be enrolled in an undergraduate program. You must have a CreativeGround profile-- more on that later. And you must commit to full participation in all connected activities and opportunities of RDDI: New England Now.

You must also identify with the following statements. I am at a pivotal juncture in my career and/or artistic practice and ready to explore new ways or take the next step with sharing and/or presenting my work within and/or beyond my community. I am deeply curious and desire to be strategically intentional about my potential to impact-- about my potential impact in New England as a dance maker.

I am seeking additional perspectives on my work and how my artistic practice informs all of my work. I am interested in cultivating community relationships to expand my professional network in New England. I am willing to be vulnerable in a shared space and engage and hold space for artistic, personal, and professional growth amongst my peers. I am committed to sharing what I learned with others in the New England dance community.

You will use our online application to submit an artist resume, two work samples, and answers to application questions. You can review the application form in advance and/or download a copy of the form as a Word document or PDF from the NEFA website to start planning your answers and gathering your materials prior to submitting the application online.

Your completed application will be reviewed by a panel of artists and administrators in dance from around New England. The first part of the application is listing your name, contact information, what genre of dance you create, how long have you been making dance in New England, and what career stage do you most self identify with. You will also confirm your availability to participate in all three parts of RDDI: New England Now.

The next section of the application form includes narrative questions for you to answer. As a reminder, the selected cohort for RDDI: New England Now will be chosen by a regional panel of New England artists and cultural organizers. The panel will seek a group of artists representing the breadth of New England's diversity as exemplified through NEFA's values inclusive of artistic experiences, career stage, dance aesthetics, forms, genres, and more. We will now review the questions and provide insight to support how you should respond.

Question nine asks, "as a New England-based dance maker, how do you describe the process and practice of making your work?" Here the selection panel is interested in learning more about your creative process and/or practices.

Question 10 asks, "what structures, communities, organizations, and/or partners support the making and realization of your work?" Here the selection panel wants to learn about the resources you have helping you create your work. This could be access to studio spaces or equipment, individuals such as mentors or financial donors and sponsors, or organizations that uplift your work.

Question 11 asks, "once your work is realized, who are your audiences and/or what communities do you engage with?" Here the selection panel wants to understand who benefits and/or is impacted from seeing and experiencing your work.

Question 12 asks, "what does career advancement as a dance maker look like to you?" How does RDDI: New England Now support that advancement? Here, the selection panel wants to understand what career growth looks like for you and in what ways you envision RDDI New England Now supporting your trajectory. The selection panel recognizes there may be barriers you are experiencing regarding career advancement and encourage you to share that should you deem it necessary. Some of this information will ultimately support curriculum development for the professional development lab.

Question 13 asks, "given the uncertainties of COVID-19, in what ways has your dance-making practice and career had to continuously change?" How do you see yourself and your work thriving? Here the selection panel wants to know more about how these times have affected your art making.

Question 14 asks, "RDDI: New England Now is designed as a shared learning space. How do you best engage and contribute to the collective learning space?" RDDI is a cohort model and so the selection panel wants to learn more about how you engage in this environment.

Question 15, the last question, asks, "NEFA recognizes that in order to create a culture of abundance, it requires your regional leadership. How do you envision sharing RDDI: New England Now learnings beyond the cohort experience?" Here the selection panel wants to hear about how you can leverage your existing connections and ones fostered during the RDDI: New England Now experience to share what you have learned as part of the program.

The next section of the application requires submission of your resume and work samples. In terms of providing an artist resume, NEFA understands that there is a variety of dance making and sharing across the region and we are interested in learning more about your artistic journey over time. You will need to attach your artistic resume outlining your work, including information about events and activities based in New England where relevant. Make sure to highlight your role as choreographer, performer, or something else, the geography of the events and the activities, and all associated dates. This document can be very simply laid out. Nothing fancy is needed.

For work samples, we are requesting videos totaling 10 minutes of your recent, within the last three years, work via links and passwords in one of the following ways. Submit two five minute excerpts from different works or submit one five-minute excerpt from a work and one full-length work, identifying preferred cue times for one five minute section of the full length work, or submit one full length work identifying preferred cue times for two five minute sections of the work.

The selection panelists will be required to watch 10 minutes of video per application. If you submit more than 10 minutes, be mindful that only the first 10 minutes will be viewed. Additionally, you cannot submit more than two queue times. In the application form, you will need to list for each work sample the video link from Vimeo or YouTube, the password if required for viewing, queue times, venue and location, dates of performances, names of performers and affiliations, such as my company or another company if it was a commission, and a short description. Remember your work samples must have been created within the last three years.

NEFA recognizes that creative processes differ and will accept applications from pairs of artistic collaborators. Both collaborators must be New England-based dance makers and fulfill all eligibility requirements for participation. If you are applying with a creative collaborator or a creative partner and wish to be considered as a pair and you would not participate in New England Now separately or without your partner, please submit a joint application. Should you be considering a joint application, please contact me, Kristin Gregory, program manager for dance at NEFA. And you can find my information available on our website or in the application itself.

As part of your eligibility, you will need to have a CreativeGround profile. CreativeGround is an online community that spotlights the creative people and places at work in New England, such as cultural nonprofits like libraries and theaters, creative businesses like recording studios and design agencies, and artists of all genres to connect them with one another. You can create a profile at CreativeGround.org. That's C-R-E-A-T-I-V-E-G-R-O-U-N-D dot O-R-G.

We'd like to thank our regional and national funders for their ongoing support to achieve the goals of RDDI New England Now. They are the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Boston Foundation, and the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.

The application for RDDI: New England Now is open online today. As a reminder, the deadline to submit your application is Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. All selected artists for RDDI: New England Now will be notified in January 2021.

We will now open up the virtual space for questions. Please feel free to submit questions via the chat feature and we will answer them as they are received. You should see all of the facilitators for this webinar available in the chat where you can send questions to. Thank you.

I do see a question. Could you please explain again about what the committee is looking for on question 12 of the application?

Sure. Thank you for that question. So to go back to question 12, it asks what does career advancement as a dance maker look like to you. How does RDDI: New England Now support that advancement? Here the selection panel wants to understand what career growth looks like for you and in what ways you envision RDDI: New England Now supporting your trajectory. The selection panel recognizes there may be barriers you are experiencing regarding career advancement and encourage you to share that should you deem it necessary. Some of this information will ultimately support curriculum or the professional development lab.

I just received another question as well. The question is in regards to previous applicants receiving feedback from the first or the earlier iteration of RDDI. As a reminder, the program did launch originally earlier in the year. There was a deadline in early 2020.

Because of everything that was happening at that time, it was happening during our panel process and therefore the panel process was not completed. And so we do not have feedback to provide previous applicants from the original application round. However, I am more than happy to send you what your original application materials were if you would like to reach out to me via email. That's K-G-R-E-G-O-R-Y at N-E-F-A dot O-R-G. I can send you your previous application materials.

I have two questions involving the resume submission. I guess they're both asking if we have a sort of a standard template. Is there a length maximum is one question. Do we recommend a full history or only dating back a certain amount of years? Also would be the question around is the template of title of piece the role that the artist submitting it played within that work and where and whom it was performed. So just a couple of questions around the resume, around length, how far back it might go historically, and if there's a way that we'd like to see that information set forth.

There's another question here about CreativeGround specifically and accessing information that might have been part of the old or outdated profile. If you have any questions related to your current or old CreativeGround profile, Morganna Becker is the person to reach out to for that. And that email would be M-B-E-C-K-E-R at N-E-F-A dot O-R-G.

I have a question here saying how much of the program focus is on making collaborative work between cohort members versus how much focus is on our relationship to our own work. Each of these opportunities, while you are in dialogue with the other cohort members, you're focused on your own work and your own creative process and how that applies to strategic planning. So there are many times to learn about each other's work but it is not collaborative artistically. It is more collaborative strategically.

I have a question about the application platform and some of the limitations of that. The application is available through Survey Monkey. There are some limitations with Survey Monkey, particularly regarding word count in the narrative section so please pay attention to those. Survey Monkey will not be counting character counts for you.

We will be sending the word count that is provided. I think many of them are 1,500 or 2,000 characters. Those characters include spaces, period, punctuation. And if you use any paragraph breaks, those will be counted in the character counts that are sent to the review panel. Keep in mind that the review panel will not be reviewing answers that go beyond the character limit in order to be respectful of their time and labor that goes into reviewing applications.

Additionally, you are able to download and preview the application before logging in to Survey Monkey through the PDF on our website. You can view all of the questions, character counts, et cetera, there as well as through a Word document. And if you will be submitting a Word document instead of a Survey Monkey, you can fill out the Word document that you have downloaded from our website and email that directly to me. Again, K-G-R-E-G-O-R-Y at N-E-F-A dot org if you need to do that instead of using the Survey Monkey.

I have a question here. And it showed up in different ways so I'm going to paraphrase this to respond to the various folks who have sent this in who might be working in a very specific genre and form that's different from maybe contemporary movement. And so they're interested to know how the professional development lab would be able to benefit them and their process.

And so one of the things that I will reiterate from Michèle portion is that the selected artists during the professional development lab have an opportunity to have a deep dive not only with the cohort, faculty, and mentors but also within themselves and having personal deep reflection. So it provides an opportunity for those selected artists to articulate their artistic vision and goals, examine their creative process in a more intentional way, and clarify how these two inform and meet one another.

So selected artists will have an opportunity to devise strategies to develop and present their work for, to, and with community in the most fully realized form. And so what's really important here is to recognize if you see that this is an opportunity for you based off of where you are in your career and what it is that you envision being able to do as an artist in New England and even beyond.

I have a question about work samples. The question is wondering if the work samples must be from performances that took place in New England. The answer to that is no. However, I think that would be good information to know, for instance, if the work was also shown in New England but perhaps the copy or the actual work sample that you're submitting you may feel that you have a better quality of the shot because it was shot outside of New England. I think just letting the panel know your reasoning for sharing the work sample that you're sharing.

I just have an additional bit of information that I forgot to include when I was giving you information about the application itself and Survey Monkey. One of the limitations with Survey Monkey, unfortunately, is that answers might not save in your browser. There's not a way to necessarily return to the application like you would if you were used to using NEFA's online portal for grants, you can save all of your work and return to it. So I would recommend downloading the PDF or the Word document and maybe working from there and then you copy and paste your answers into Survey Monkey. Additionally, one of the other limitations of Survey Monkey is that you will receive a confirmation page saying your application has been submitted, thank you very much, but you won't be able to necessarily access the information you submitted, so if you would like a copy of your materials that you submitted to review or hold on to for other opportunities that you'd like to use language maybe that you developed for, you can reach out to me. Again, K-G-R-E-G-O-R-Y at N-E-F-A dot-org And I'd be happy to send you a copy of your submitted application for review.

Another question about work samples. Yes. Within any time between 2017 and 2020.

In terms of work samples, while we want the most current, and they don't have to always be performances. Maybe your work takes four to five years to develop. So if there's opportunities to share progress within a piece, if they're public experiences that are part of the development of the work, there's opportunity on the work sample portion of the application to explain what we're looking at. And so please give context so that we understand how this plays into your creative process and the structures that you work within.

There's a question. Is the panel considering location as part of the diversity? And the answer is yes. We are looking to support artists working in different parts of New England as well as those who are working in rural areas as well as urban areas. So we are looking at the entire New England landscape.

We have another question. Can an artist submit a piece of writing for a work sample if part of the applicant's creative process and sharing is written work? I don't know that we have placed a section on the application itself for that kind of work sample. However, you can send a written work if it is part of your performance and dance experience practice. And you can email it to Kristin at the email she's been providing. Please just make sure that you fully explain the context why the written material is a work sample in this case.

I have a question regarding if we don't have a vaccine or just in response to the pandemic that's currently happening. Is there a plan to be offering the RDDI: New England Now experience in a virtual format as opposed to postponing it? And I think our plan right now is to continue with the program this year but acknowledging that we may be moving towards a virtual sharing of the program.

And I don't know, Indira, if you want to add more to that.

Sure. Thank you, Cheri, So yes. We are very aware that none of us know what's to come in the future. And while we have already postponed RDDI: New England Now, we feel like this is an important program to take place even within the pandemic. And so what that means is we're going to make sure to assess what's happening in the world in order to determine what's best for the program's structure and flow.

The first two components of RDDI, that includes the professional development lab and the intersections summit, are opportunities where they could shift more easily to a virtual experience. However, the New England Now platform, because its overall goal was to make sure that artists had an opportunity to share their work in its most fully realized form, that is something that we still have desires to make sure can happen, which would require us to be able to have access and work with our partners at the ICA and with Global Arts Live to make that a reality and not necessarily shift to virtual performances and presentations as we feel that is not in line with the goals of helping artists to really show their work and share their work in the most fully realized form.

I have one more question. It says do we need to have a plan for a specific project or a choreographic vision or is it open to what occurs through the experience? I think for this, for the application, I think it is the moment where you're talking about where you are in a pivotal place within where you see yourself or situate yourself as an artist. You do not have to have a specific new work that you're hoping to create. And I hope that answers that question. I'll lean on my team to see if they have another way to answer that.

That's exactly right, Cheri. You don't have to plan in advance. If this is the right moment for you to participate in this cohort, then please apply. And at the point of sharing during the New England Now platform, there's multiple ways for you to show your work within that. And so it could be a work in progress. It could be more participatory or it could be a finished work that is in development currently or something that is pulled from previous works.

And I can say also that from previous experiences working on RDDI in different regions, artists will start the process and redirect where they put the emphasis of their work. And so you can't account for what is going to be relevant to you as you go through the process to then know what to expect is your priority for presenting during the New England Now platform.

So yeah. Just really be authentic about where you are at in your creative processes, and career development, and where you feel you want support. And so a lot of this is very customized to the individuals that are selected. So when we talk about the curriculum, the process of building the professional dance lab, first the artists are selected and then the faculty and curriculum are developed around the needs of those 12 individual artists. So a lot of it accumulates throughout the process.

And the intersections summit will also reflect where the opportunities are for the cohort beyond the arts sector, and leveraging the knowledge and expertise in the region, and then amplifying that, centering the artist's work during the platform later on. So it all really builds. And so one can't necessarily predict what happens before it happens.

I have a question again regarding the artistic resume. I think it will show up differently for different people. If you have been in New England and making work here and sharing work here for a long period of time, you might want to lift up specific experiences, variations in both the work and maybe in the roles that you played within that.

I think if you're a more recent maker or a more recent resident of New England, that might look differently than someone who's been making and living here for 30 years. So I think that the resume articulating experiences and perhaps maybe different either communities or collaborators. And that might also be something that you might want to uplift in your resume.

And to add what Cheri was mentioning around the artistic resume, you may be a longtime resident of New England and yet the dance form that you work in, there are different areas in the country that have more expertise. And so you find yourself in community outside of New England more than you do find support within New England. And so that's also interesting to note where you find support versus beyond the region if that is part of your experience.

Cheri, Kristin, Michèle, do you see any other questions that you want to share at this time? I have one additional question. If someone is both a leader of an arts organization or a leader in their community as an artist, should we highlight that in the application or focus on ourselves as art makers? And I would suggest that lifting up both points is helpful.

Certainly, we want to-- as Michèle has stated, this really is about the individual within the cohort in terms of helping the individual strategize and work together with the cohort around their process, et cetera. However, one of the end goals is the sharing of this opportunity with your community.

So I think if there's a possibility or way that you might be able to both share your story and your work as an artist as well as how you're supporting that, and being supported, and working with your community organization or arts organization to share that and uplift those members as well, that might be a way of thinking about answering that.

Yeah. That's exactly right, Cheri. For question 12, there's an opportunity when it talks about regional leadership where you can talk about your various roles within your community. And that would be a good area to highlight your role within an organization beyond just your artistic practice.

Are there any further questions that you see?

I don't have any.

I don't have any either.

Neither do I.

OK. Well, with that being said, I just want to thank all of you who decided to show up for our webinar today. I know there are plenty of things that are happening in the world. And we appreciate you being present and asking questions. If there is a question that comes to you after the webinar, again, please do not hesitate to email Kristin Gregory. Her email is K-G-R-E-G-O-R-Y at N-E-F-A dot O-R-G. We will make sure to get back to you as soon as possible.

If there are any questions specific to the application, to the program overall, all of our emails are available on NEFA'S website should you decide to reach out to any of us as well. But we hope that you all enjoy the rest of your day and continue to remain safe and healthy.

TagsDance, Blog