The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Announce 2011 Dance Advance Grant Recipients

Nine local dance artists and organizations receive $929,000 in funding

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance has awarded a total of $929,000 to nine outstanding and adventurous dance projects. The grantees represent four dance companies, two presenting organizations, and three individual artists.

Dance Advance director Bill Bissell commented, “This year’s grantees each reflect a brave willingness to examine new ideas about dance making, writing about dance, and reaching audiences within their respective idioms.”

Among the 2011 funded projects: Dance performances by Philadelphians in their own homes; the untold story of Philadelphia’s black dance history finally brought to the page and to the public; a citywide flamenco celebration; and a landmark collaboration between a Ukrainian dance ensemble and contemporary master choreographer, Mark Morris. The grant recipients reflect Dance Advance’s commitment to artistic excellence, stimulating a dynamic environment for dance in the Philadelphia region, furthering the creative growth of local dance artists, and engaging a variety of audiences in remarkable ways.

Headlong Dance Theater will seek out non-dancers throughout the city and train them to perform short dance-theater works in their own homes for small audiences of friends and neighbors. This project comes on the heels of prior productions such as CELL and Hotel Pool, in which Headlong pushed the boundaries of audience participation and made use of unusual venues. Organizations such as the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Scribe Video Center will partner with Headlong to produce and document these intimate, one-time-only performances. The documentation will then be shared with a larger audience online, through collections of video, writing, podcasts, and still images.

Dance scholar Brenda Dixon Gottschild will complete the research and writing of her book on Philadelphia legend Joan Myers Brown, founder of The Philadelphia School of Dance Arts and The Philadelphia Dance Company, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in January 2012. The text tells the story of Brown’s struggles with a prejudiced ballet establishment, and covers the previously unwritten dance history of black Philadelphia in the 20th century. The author hopes this will be a model for similarly untold stories emerging in other communities around the nation.

Flamenco practitioners Pasión y Arte will collaborate for the first time with a major flamenco artist: Spanish dancer and choreographer Rosario Toledo. Together, they will create a dance piece that challenges the traditional roles of women in flamenco. It will be the centerpiece performance of a 2012 “mini-festival of flamenco” that includes a symposium for the public and master classes.

Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble will commission influential contemporary choreographer Mark Morris, known for his vivid, innovative works that integrate a range of traditional cultures and modern dance techniques, to create an original dance piece for the ensemble’s upcoming 40th anniversary season. The resulting work, a world premiere to be performed in 2012, will attract those who follow Voloshky’s folk programming as well as contemporary and ballet dance audiences.

“We believe these projects represent some of the best work being done in dance in our region and, for that matter, in the country,” said Greg Rowe, director of Culture Initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Audiences will have the pleasure of experiencing high-quality productions and premiere performances featuring some of the most innovative and captivating performers and choreographers working today.”

Dance Advance grants are awarded in all genres of dance to applicants who reside in the five-county region of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Proposals were evaluated in a two-step process by a panel of dance professionals and leaders, according to criteria of artistic excellence, project excellence, and project impact.

Since its inception in 1993, Dance Advance and its precursor, the Philadelphia Repertory Dance Initiative, have funded a total of 379 dance-specific projects. These awards represent more than $10.6 million invested in the region’s dance communities.

“We believe these projects represent some of the best work being done in dance in our region and, for that matter, in the country,” said Greg Rowe, director of Culture Initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Audiences will have the pleasure of experiencing high-quality productions and premiere performances featuring some of the most innovative and captivating performers and choreographers working today.”

Dance Advance grants are awarded in all genres of dance to applicants who reside in the five-county region of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Proposals were evaluated in a two-step process by a panel of dance professionals and leaders, according to criteria of artistic excellence, project excellence, and project impact. For the full lists of panelists and their respective credentials, please see the attached list or visit www.pcah.us/dance.

Since its inception in 1993, Dance Advance and its precursor, the Philadelphia Repertory Dance Initiative, have funded a total of 379 dance-specific projects. These awards represent more than $10.6 million invested in the region’s dance communities.

2011 Grants Awarded

Bryn Mawr College
John Jasperse’s Fort Blossom
$53,000

Brenda Dixon Gottschild
Scholarly research and publication of a book on Philadelphia’s black dance heritage
$50,000

Headlong Dance Theater
Creation of contemporary dances on non-dancers to be performed in their homes
$150,000

Lisa Kraus
ThinkingDance.net
$50,000

Nichole Canuso Dance Company
Directing My Dancers/Directing Myself
$71,000

Pasión y Arte
New work by contemporary flamenco artist Rosario Toledo of Sevilla, Spain
$118,000

Philadelphia Live Arts Festival
Sidi Larbi’s Play and Shantala Shivalingappa’s Namasya
$237,000

Jumatatu Poe
The Flight Attendants Project
$50,000

Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble
New work by contemporary choreographer Mark Morris
$150,000

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