A woman in a floral shirt with shoulder length hair smiles.
Communications Director

(BOSTON, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has awarded $2,030,000 through the National Dance Project to support the creation of 20 new dance works that will be shared across the United States. In addition, National Dance Project has awarded $200,000 in Finalist Awards.

Since 1996, the National Dance Project has been one of the country’s major sources of funding and field building for dance, supporting both the creation and touring of new works. A panel of national dance artists, presenters, and arts administrators selected these projects out of 206 competitive applications; fourteen out of the 20 choreographers and companies are first-time recipients. Each project will receive $45,000 for the creation of the new work, as well as $10,000 in unrestricted general operating support. In addition, each grantee will receive $11,500 to support Production Residencies for Dance and/or Community Engagement as part of their work. A total of $700,000 is allocated to support U.S. organizations to share these works, in-person, digitally, or via new hybrid models.  

“This year’s grantee cohort continues to center NEFA’s values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. They represent an appreciation and support of new movement vocabularies, multi-disciplinary collaborations, lineages, and deep community practice, along with new touring models and ideas for sharing work. The projects affirm that ‘dance is community’ and uplift the intersectionality that exists between dance and racial, social, food, and environmental justice,” said Indira Goodwine, NEFA’s program director for dance.

“The performing arts, and the individual artists who at the center of the creative ecosystem, have faced immense challenges during Covid.  NEFA’s National Dance Project has remained committed to responsive support of the field. We are grateful for strong partnership with our funders, who demonstrate trust in the leadership of our staff, advisors, and process to support evolution in the field,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards.

National Dance Project has invested more than $44.8 million in funding to artists and organizations to strengthen partnerships and bring dance into communities across the U.S. To date, National Dance Project has supported tours of 729 choreographic works that have toured to all 50 states and Washington, DC, reaching over 3.3 million audience members in-person and virtually.

“New work is the lifeblood of the performing arts,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “This group of awards demonstrates the exciting ways dance artists are making innovative work, exploring complex ideas and issues, and supporting communities. We commend the entire National Dance Project team, including its advisors, on its deep commitment to supporting artists’ capacity to create new performances and to adapting nimbly as conditions demand."

“The National Dance Project artist cohort upholds and amplifies the role that dancemakers play in advancing equity and justice,” said Susan Feder, program officer for Arts and Culture at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  “We are honored to continue to partner with our esteemed colleagues at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and NEFA to ensure that dancemakers have the tools to advance their craft and to demonstrate the transcendent power of the arts to challenge and activate the human spirit in the face of ongoing uncertainty.”    

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 Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, and the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.

2021 National Dance Project Production Grant Awards

The 2021 National Dance Project Production Grant projects and artists are:

Project descriptions, images, and more will be included on each grantee’s listing in the NEFA grantee directory. For questions, contact program staff at ndp@nefa.org.

2021 National Dance Project Finalist Awards

In addition, beginning in 2020, National Dance Project increased support from $1,000 to $10,000 for the finalist awards in response to the impacts of Covid-19 and economic inequality. This unrestricted support is intended to aid in further development of finalists' National Dance Project proposed projects and/or address sustainability needs. “We are excited to be able to make these increased investments and extend our reach in the field,” said Indira Goodwine, NEFA’s program director for dance. “With 75% of the finalists as first-time recipients of National Dance Project funding, we look forward to seeing how these artists will continue to have deep impact in our field.”

The 2021 National Dance Project Finalist Award projects and artists are: 

  • 846, Jamal Jackson Dance Company, Brooklyn, NY
  • BOUND/UNBOUND: Moving Shadows of Slavery, Dancing Earth Creations, Santa Fe, NM
  • The Conversation Series: Stitching The Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging, Helanius J. Wilkins, Boulder, CO
  • A Deepest Blue, Prumsodun Ok, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Diggin In The Crates, Jason Samuels Smith, Jersey City, NJ
  • Disposable Bodies, Cardell Dance Theater, Philadelphia, PA
  • Haint Blu, Urban Bush Women, Brooklyn, NY
  • Hoptown, MKArts/MK Abadoo, Columbia, MD
  • IKKAI means once: a transplanted pilgrimage, KAMBARA+, San Francisco, CA
  • inCOPnegro, Dominic Moore-Dunson, Akron, OH
  • Last Ward, Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre, Brooklyn, NY
  • MESTIZX, Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company, Albuquerque, NM
  • New work by Alonzo King, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, San Francisco, CA
  • NOTHINGBEING, Takahiro Yamamoto, Portland, OR
  • Opus 60/40, BRKFST Dance Company, St. Paul, MN
  • Raíces et Révolution, Susana Arenas Pedroso, San Francisco, CA
  • Religion Kitendi - Dress Code, Kiandanda Dance Theater, Oakland, CA
  • UNDERcurrents, nia love, New York, NY
  • Vishwas, Blue13 Dance Company, Los Angeles, CA
  • The Women Gather, ANIKAYA, Somerville, MA

Learn more about the grantee and finalist projects and the review process.

About NEFA

The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation. NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at www.nefa.org.