Dance Advance Awards $917,000 in Grants to 26 Artists and Organizations

Dance Advance today announced a record $917,000 in grants to 26 artists, companies, and organizations for the 2009-2010 performing season. From a total of 60 applicants requesting project support from Dance Advance, six grants went to first-time grantees and two to first-time applicants. Dance Advance is an artistic initiative of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

This year’s Dance Advance awards range in size from $10,000 to $80,000. Eight grants were awarded to individual dance artists; nine to dance companies; and nine to dance presenters. The awards support multiple aspects of the dance discipline: artistic research and development, rehearsal and creation, and production and presentation of new, acquired, or reconstructed choreographic works.

“We are proud to support this diverse array of projects which will bring high quality, exciting dance to our region’s audiences,” said Gregory Rowe, Director, Culture Initiatives and Deputy Director, The Philadelphia Program at The Pew Charitable Trusts.

According to Bill Bissell, Director of Dance Advance, “This year’s review panel had a difficult task in evaluating many competitive applications. I am excited by the range of dance activity being supported with these grants. The grantees reflect the huge range encompassed by our dance culture: from individual projects, to presentations of dance by significant visiting or guest artists, to festivals both local and international in scope.”

Each year, Dance Advance convenes a discipline-specific Peer Review Panel to select projects of outstanding merit. Proposals are evaluated by the panel according to criteria of artistic excellence, project excellence, and project impact. Grants are awarded in all genres of dance without regard to an applicant’s financial need or prior funding history; and applicants must reside in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, or Montgomery counties of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The Peer Review Panel consisted of seven nationally recognized dance professionals: Jeffery Bullock, Associate Professor of dance at Hollins University, Roanoke, VA, faculty member of American Dance Festival, and former dancer with Hubbard Street Dance Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet; Jean Isaacs, artistic director of San Diego Dance Theater, San Diego, CA; David Sheingold, independent consultant and former Senior Producer, Dance Theater Workshop in New York City; Susanna Sloat, writer and editor, New York City; Kevin Ward, former artistic director Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton, OH; and Susan Warden, independent choreographer, Lawrence, KS. Amy Ginsburg, a dance artist and educator from Raleigh, NC, served as the nonvoting panel chair.

Panelists also utilized evaluations from several consultants who reviewed potential applicants throughout the year: Jose Bustamante, independent choreographer and Dance Program Chair at Austin Community College, Austin, TX; Jennifer Calienes, Director, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Tallahassee, FL; Simon Dove, Chair, Department of Dance, Arizona State University and former director of Springdance festival, Utrecht, Netherlands; Brent H. Edwards, Professor, Department of English, Columbia University, NYC; Rita Felciano, dance writer and critic, San Francisco, CA; Emil Kang, Executive Director for the Arts, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Arnecia Patterson, arts consultant, former dance management specialist, Dayton, OH; Ursula Payne, artistic director Soul Deep Creations, Associate Professor, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA; Gus Solomons, jr, artistic director, Paradigm, NYC.

Since its inception in 1993, Dance Advance and its precursor, the Philadelphia Repertory Dance Initiative, have funded a total of 355 dance specific projects. These awards represent a value of $8,688,800 invested in the region’s dance communities.

About The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Pew Charitable Trusts ( is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. It partners with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share a commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.

About The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (Center), formerly the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, is dedicated to stimulating a vibrant cultural community within the region. Established in November 2005, the Center houses seven Initiatives of The Pew Charitable Trusts: Dance Advance, Heritage Philadelphia Program, Pew Fellowships in the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, Philadelphia Music Project and Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. The Initiatives support artists and arts and heritage organizations in the five-county, Southeastern Pennsylvania region whose work is distinguished by excellence, imagination and creative courage. The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and is
administered by The University of the Arts. For more information, visit

Dance Advance 2009-2010 Grantees

Jaye Allison (Individual, $10,000)*
For the creation of a new work with the 2nd Generation Silver Belles tap group, honoring the memory of five women tap legends: Harriet Brown, Baby Edwards, Bertye Lou Wood, Hortense Allen, and Hazel Walker.

Jacelyn Biondo (Individual, $10,000)*
Funding for the presentation of React/Dance’s South Philly Neighborhood Adventure Tours, an eveninglength, site-specific work.

Marianela Boan (Individual, $10,000)*
For the creation of Office, a new choreographic work that will include four dancers, live music, and video.

Bryn Mawr College (Presenter, $20,000)
Support for the presentation of Urban Bush Women and Compagnie Jant-Bi in their joint project Les escailles de la memoire (The Scales of Memory.)

Community Education Center (Presenter, $40,000)
Support for the 25th season of the New Edge Artists Service Program and Performance Series.

Eleone Dance Theatre (Company, $40,000)
Support for the research, development, and training to acquire and present Americana, choreographed by Katherine Dunham.

Headlong Dance Theater (Company, $40,000)
Support for Improvisation Lab, which will include working with choreographer Miguel Gutierrez and Dan Rothenberg, co-artistic director of Pig Iron Theatre Company, rehearsal time with the company, three public performances, and a workshop series for Philadelphia dancers.

Kimmel Center (Presenter, $70,000)
Support for the presentation of Black Grace, a dance ensemble from New Zealand. The four-day engagement will include 3 evening performances, the premiere of Gathering Clouds, a new work, and audience outreach activities.

Lisa Kraus (Individual, $15,000)
Support for Red Thread, a collaborative project with choreographer/performers Eva Karczag and Vicky Shick.

Koresh Dance Company (Company, $71,000)
Support to invite choreographer Ohad Naharin, director of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, to set Passomezzo on the company, and to teach a series of master classes in “Gaga,” his signature dance technique, for the Philadelphia community.

Jaamil Kosoko (Individual, $10,000)**
Support for the rehearsal and creation of An Expectation of Violence, a performance/dance theater project, in collaboration with sound designer and composer Mikaal Sulaiman.

Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (Company, $20,000)*
To support intensive training for the company in Kun-Yang Lin’s Eastern influenced approach to movement, including movement instruction from visiting dance artist Hsu-Hui Huang, former principal dancer of Cloud
Gate Dance Theater, Taiwan.

Leah Stein Dance Company (Company, $40,000)
Support to finish, perform, and document/film ECHO: Repeating Lines, a site-specific collaborative dance project with the Mendelssohn Club chorus.

Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre (Company, $25,000)
Support for nEW 2009, a program that supports choreographic projects through rehearsal and production processes.

Montgomery County Community College (Presenter, $36,000)
Support for performance and one-week residency of AXIS Dance Company, performing contemporary dance works by dancers with and without disabilities, April 2010.

Nichole Canuso Dance Company (Company, $40,000)
Funding for the research and development of TAKES, an exploration of dance, installation, and cinema.

Painted Bride Art Center (Presenter, $55,000)
Support for the commissioning of Rigidigidim De Bamba De: Ruptured Calypso by Cynthia Oliver, culminating in a week-long residency and performances at the Painted Bride in October 2009.

Pennsylvania Ballet (Company, $80,000)
Support to acquire and stage the company premiere of William Forsythe’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, April 2010.

Philadelphia Dance Projects (Presenter, $40,000)
Support for the presentation of four reconstructed excerpts by dance and movement artists – Michael Biello & Dan Martin, Jano Cohen, Terry Fox and Ishmael Houston-Jones who were creating and performing in Philadelphia in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Philadelphia Folklore Project (Company, $40,000)
Support for a multidisciplinary collaboration among tap dancer Germaine Ingram, saxophonist Bobby Zankel, and photographer/printmaker John Dowell.

Philadelphia Live Arts and Philly Fringe (Presenter, $80,000)
Support to present the US premiere of the Australian dance company Chunky Move and their production of Mortal Engine at the 2009 Live Arts Festival.

Janet Pilla (Individual, $10,000)**
Support to research, reconstruct, document, and perform The Farewell, a solo choreographed by Pauline Koner in 1963.

Raices Culturales LatinoAmericanas (Presenter, $40,000)
Support for the 3-day Inter-American Latino Arts Festival, showcasing traditional and popular Spanish and Latin American dance forms by local, national, and international artists, May 2010.

Merian Soto (Individual, $15,000)
Support for the creation and production of a new work to be premiered in the 2009 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, continuing the Branch Dance Series begun in 2005.

Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble (Company, $40,000)
Funding for the creation of new costumes and re-orchestration of music for the company’s Carpathian dances.

Kate Watson-Wallace (Individual, $20,000)
For research and development of Everywhere, an online dance experience with three components: an online dance contest, a gallery exhibition of entries from the contest, and a dance that will be created in collaboration with an online audience.

*First time grantee
**First time applicant

1 Comment

  1. Dance Journal had this story first, but just appeared today in the Inquirer…..

    Pew boosts dance funding
    Twenty-six performers and groups will share $917,000 to finance a variety of projects.
    By Peter Dobrin

    Inquirer Classical Music Critic
    In the fragile realm of dance, funding is hard to come by even in the best of times. But now, despite a decidedly mean economic climate, the Pew Charitable Trusts’ dance program has awarded its largest sum yet: $917,000 to 26 performers and organizations.

    The Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble in Jenkintown will create costumes and reorchestrate music for a dance project exploring the Carpathian region with the help of $40,000 from Pew’s Dance Advance program.

    The Pennsylvania Ballet was handed $80,000 for the company premiere in April 2010 of In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, by the important American-born choreographer William Forsythe.

    The Kimmel Center – with $70,000 from Pew – will be able to import the New Zealand ensemble Black Grace for a four-day engagement, including the premiere of Gathering Clouds and audience outreach activities.

    The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe can spend $80,000 presenting the U.S. debut of the Australian dance company Chunky Move.F

    The increase in funding – up from $874,000 last year and $693,000 the year before – came with the dance program’s renewal a year ago, before the economic crisis hit, and is a response to the growth of the local dance community.

    “We’re not given more money simply to have more money. It’s rationalized by the number and quality of applications we receive and how that’s increased over time,” Dance Advance director Bill Bissell said. “Philadelphia has become very diverse in terms of genre and range of work.”

    Although the funding level was decided some time ago, Bissell said he hoped the record payout would send a strong message about the “continuity and stability” of the program.

    “I am not anticipating that we will see any increase in the coming years, but I don’t think we’re going to see any decline either. That’s a huge statement in itself,” he said.

    “These grants mean the world to us. Finding support for the creation of new work is hard,” said Deborah Crocker, director of development for Koresh Dance Company. Koresh will use $71,000 to have Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, director of Batsheva Dance Company, set his Passomezzo on the company.

    “To be able to bring someone like Ohad Naharin here – we wouldn’t be able to do this. To raise money on top of operating is really hard to do,” Crocker said.

    The residency is an artistic boost, but the Pew money also allows Koresh to keep dancers on salary for more weeks in the year, which is a goal of the troupe.

    In addition to the institutional grants, a number of recipients are individual artists, including Marianela Boan, who, with the assistance of $10,000, will create a new work called Office for four dancers, with live music and video.

    Money also will go to “dance laboratories” that in turn support independent artists or small companies.

    Since its start in 1993, Dance Advance and its precursor (the Philadelphia Repertory Dance Initiative) have funded 355 dance projects with $8,688,800 in grants. This year’s applicants were evaluated by a panel of seven experts from other cities. Among them were Jeffery Bullock, former dancer with the Hubbard Street Dance Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet; Jean Isaacs, artistic director of the San Diego Dance Theater; and Susan Warden, an independent choreographer from Lawrence, Kan.

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