NEFA Announces Changes to National Dance Project

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Renewed support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to sustain new program initiatives

NEFA’s National Dance Project is a key national funding stream for supporting the creation and presentation of new dance works across the country.

The New England Foundation for the Arts announced a series of program design changes to the National Dance Project. These design changes are supported in part by a two-year renewed grant of $3,629,400 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

National Dance Project (NDP) will increase the number of Production Grants to choreographers and dance companies; increase professional development for first-time artist grantees; pilot a Community Engagement Fund; and create incentives and initiatives to bolster dance presenters and artists in parts of the country with less access to dance and resources.

These changes are the result of extensive program and field research. In November 2016, NEFA released an extensive report by Metris Arts Consulting, "Moving Dance Forward: NEFA’s National Dance Project at 20 & Critical Field Trends" (http://www.nefa.org/moving-dance-forward), to lay the groundwork for the National Dance Project’s (NDP) next decade. This evaluation of NDP’s grantmaking history included new research about current needs of the dance field gathered through multiple surveys, interviews, focus groups, a literature review, and an analysis of secondary data sources.

“We are excited to enhance NDP’s greatest areas of strength, grant-making for the creation and touring of new dance works, and to address field-building priorities as articulated by artists and cultural organizations that present dance,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards.

“NEFA’s National Dance Project is a key national funding stream for supporting the creation and presentation of new dance works across the country,” said Maurine Knighton, director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “Moving Dance Forward clearly demonstrates the important work NEFA has already accomplished, and we are pleased to support NEFA as it continues to meet the emerging needs of the field and extend its commitment to a vibrant contemporary dance community.”

Beginning in 2017, the National Dance Project plans to:

  • Increase the number of Production Grants. Cited as NDP’s “most important contribution to the field,” these Grants continue to provide essential funding to artists to create a new work and provide touring subsidies to the organizations who bring that work to their communities across the U.S.
  • Dedicate funds to make additional Presentation Grants for NDP-funded works with high touring demand. This fund will prioritize additional grants to organizations new to NDP, rural-based organizations, and organizations residing in regions of the U.S. that see less dance touring.
  • Convene first-time NDP Production grantees with NEFA staff, NDP Advisors, and other colleagues to exchange knowledge, skills, and resources related to touring their work.
  • Pilot a Community Engagement Fund to provide supplementary grants to selected artists who receive NDP funding and who have a strong community engagement practice or who demonstrate a commitment to developing a community engagement practice while on tour.
  • Build NDP’s regional support to dance artists by expanding the Regional Dance Development Initiative to include a variety of activities and offerings in addition to the ten-day dance lab.
  • Establish a Finalist Award for individual artists who reach the full proposal stage of the application process but do not ultimately receive a Production Grant.
  • Continue to award eight Production Residencies for Dance (PRD) grants annually, prioritizing artists receiving their first NDP grant followed by artists who are taking on a new complexity in their work that makes this supplementary support especially important to ready a work for touring.

Although the Touring Awards will be retired, NDP will continue to make Presentation Grants to dance presenters and cultural orgs that present dance, in association with the Production Grants that artists and dance companies receive.

“In addition to these specific program changes, we will continue to implement equitable and inclusive grantmaking practices and explore NDP’s support for international exchange” said program director Sara Nash. “We are excited to transform the Moving Dance Forward findings into programs that will build on NDP’s 20 years of support for dance creation and touring.”

About NDP
NEFA’s National Dance Project (NDP) supports the creation and touring of new dance works in the United States. Since 1996, the program has distributed more than $33 million in funding to support the dance field in ways that enhance partnerships between artists and presenters with the equally important goals of engaging and expanding audiences for dance. To date, NDP has supported 351 artists to create and tour 646 dance works at 787 cultural organizations across all 50 states, Washington, DC, reaching over 2.7 million audience members.

NEFA's National Dance Project is 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, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

About NEFA
The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in the arts to enrich communities in New England and beyond. NEFA accomplishes this by granting fund 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. For more information, please visit http://www.nefa.org.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. The Arts Program of DDCF focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. For more information, please visit http://www.ddcf.org.

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