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Flash News, 1-16: (Funded) Dance Preview, 2001
NEA Announcement a Window on New Dance
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2001 The Dance Insider
The first round of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts's $105
million 2001 allotment -- the first NEA budget in nine years to be
increased -- provides a window on what dance companies and presenters are
working on and getting funded for in the year 2001. Besides the budget's
being a hopeful sign for the arts in general, the allotment for dance also
gives reason to cheer. Of the 15 areas in which $20.5 million was awarded
late last week, dance-related projects will receive nearly $2.8 million,
with the largest portion, $500,000, going to the National Dance Project,
itself a re-granting fund.
"They will pretty much showcase the range of dance in the U.S., which is
pretty vast," Douglas Sonntag, the NEA's director of dance, said of the
grants. "I hope the small increase shows there's bipartisan support for the
arts and the arts endowment, but that remains to be seen."
Speaking on New York's WNYC radio Friday, NEA chair Bill Ivey sounded a
note of hope about the incoming Bush administration's position on the arts,
pointing out that the Republican Party this year dropped a platform plank
calling for the elimination of the NEA. "Our nation's cultural heritage is
as important to us collectively as our external defense," Ivey said. "And
we can't afford to leave that to the private sector."
In a statement released by the NEA, Ivey expanded, "Through these grants,
the NEA will provide funds that assist arts organizations and artists in
creating and presenting their work, connecting the vibrancy of the arts
with Americans everywhere."
In the late '80s, responding to concerns by some that NEA monies were used
largely to fund elitist arts for elite audiences, the NEA capped the
proportion of the overall budget that can go to artists from any one state
at 15%. "They felt that an overly significant portion of the dollars were
going to a smaller number of states or areas," an NEA spokesperson
explained of these opponents' concerns.
However, the spokesperson confirmed, projects deemed of national or
multi-state significance are exempted from state funding caps. So, for
example, if the New York-based Paul Taylor company receives $50,000 for a
new Taylor dance that will be performed in Washington and New York, that
$50,000 need not be counted towards the New York state cap.
Of the first-round grants of $20.5 million, the NEA identified $7.5 million
as going to "multi-state projectswith broad impact reaching audiences in
Organizations do not apply in the multi-state category; that designation is
determined by NEA panels in disbursing funds. However, a close examination
of the new grants by The Dance Insider reveals that the designation is not
In the grant announcement, where project descriptions match those used in
the grant applications, American Ballet Theatre is listed as receiving
$60,000 to be used as follows:
"To support the commissioning, rehearsal and presentation of an original
one-act ballet, 'The Pied Piper,' with choreography by David Parsons and a
score by composer John Corigliano. The piece is scheduled to premiere at
the Detroit Opera House with additional performances at the Metropolitan
As it turns out, "The Pied Piper" will premiere not in Detroit, but at the
Met, on May 1. The Detroit presenter, explains ABT's new marketing and
communications director Greg Patterson, requested another ballet.
"In the original NEA application, Detroit was listed," Patterson
acknowledged. "But in the interim, Detroit decided that they in fact wanted
a full-length classical ballet, 'The Merry Widow,' to be performed there,
so we decided that would be fine and we'd premiere ('Pied Piper') at the
Met. We'd like to tour it, but we have nothing to announce at this point."
There is nothing unusual about such an adjustment, says Sonntag. "They are
not bound to tour it," he said, explaining: "The operating language for the
grant is actually just the first sentence." In other words, while the ABT
grant application indicated that the ballet was tentatively planned to
premiere in Detroit, the binding language is that the money be used to
support the commissioning of the new ballet. "If for some reason they came
back to us and said 'logistically we can't tour it,' generally speaking
what we'd do is work with them and the (NEA) general counsel's office to
decide if there is an actual amendment that has to take place."
In a worse-case scenario, Sonntag said, speaking theoretically, the NEA
grant could be re-categorized if it was determined not to have a
What is clear from looking at the dance-related grants is that in dance,
$2.8 million has a broad impact.
The National Dance Project, administered by the New England Foundation for
the Arts, received a $500,000 Leadership Initiative grant, leading the pack
for dance-related projects. The money will support the sixth year of the
NDP, "which supports the creation and touring of dance," according to the
NEFA application. Key to determining how that money will be spent, and
where the projects funded will be presented, are 12 presenter "hub sites"
selected by the NDP.
A new group of hub sites will be
announced in 2002, to serve for three years. Applications to be
considered as hub sites are now being solicited by NEFA. Deadline
for receiving applications is April 6. For more information, please
e-mail Sam Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or Rebecca Blunk at email@example.com.
NEFA earlier this month announced $1.7 million in NDP production or touring
grants, with recipients including Washington Ballet for a collaboration
with visual artist Sam Gilliam and musicians Sweet Honey in the Rock; LINES
Contemporary Ballet for "People of the Forest," a dance journey based on
director Alonzo King's real journey through the Congo; and works by Ballet
Hispanico, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Eiko & Koma, Everett Dance Theatre,
Houston Ballet, Sara Shelton Mann, Doug Varone and Dancers (for "Ballet
Mecanique") and others.
receiving touring and/or production monies include Ballets Preljocaj,
for Angelin Preljocaj's new version of "Rite of Spring," which will
premiere in Berlin in May, and tour the U.S. in the fall of 2002;
and works from Maguy Marin, Wendy Houstoun, Rambert Dance Company,
Also among awards announced last week were those in the category
"Organizational Capacity Grants."
Dance Theater Workshop received $40,000 which, according to the
announcement, will be used "to support a consortium with New York State
Council on the Arts to increase organizational capacity for three dance
satellite networks in key areas of New York State. New York Dance Satellite
will support collaborative marketing and audience development efforts, and
pilot a model touring project in one region."
Dance/USA, a lobbying organization, received $80,000, "To support a
regional professional development project. The project involves spring and
winter council meetings, a series of forums around specific projects in
cities throughout the country, and a scholarship program for young
administrators to attend council meetings and forums." To find out more
about this project, contact Andrea Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philadanco received $17,000 for a program to, according to the grant
announcement, "prepare future leaders for the black dance arts community,"
among other things.
DanceWorks, Inc./Pentacle has received $30,000 for its Help desk, which
"provides technical assistance for emerging and mid-career choreographers.
And the Association of Arts Presenters -- to find out more about which,
type "Arts Presenters" into the search window on our Home page -- has
received $40,000 to, according to its application, "support the Leadership
Development Initiative. Through conference sessions, Web-based and printed
publications, and a five-day series of seminars, the Institute will develop
future leadership for the presenting and touring field."
Other funded recipients, with projects as described in the NEA grant
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which received $100,000 to support its
2001 touring, in which it will present approximately 95 shows in 30 cities
and 16 states.
Axis Dance Company, awarded $10,000 to support a dance by Stephen Petronio
for dancers with and without disabilities.
Ballet Memphis, which received $10,000 to support Dancing Together II. This
repertory show will include a performance by Rennie Harris Puremovement.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, granted $50,000 for the creation of
works by Jones.
Boston Ballet, which received $20,000 for the creation and staging of a new
production of Prokoviev's "Cinderella," with choreography by Christopher
New York City Ballet, awarded $100,000 to support artist-in-residence
Wheeldon. That money will go towards various costs, including production
and rehearsal, to support Mr. Wheeldon's creation of two ballets.
Dance Theater Workshop, awarded $70,000 for two dance series.
Dance Films Association, which got $5,000 to support its film festival.
Dance Umbrella in Austin, which was granted $15,000 to support dance
presentations including "The Transformation of Spirit," which includes a
performance by Margie Gillis.
Dance Umbrella Boston, which got $30,000 to support performances and
activities exploring the legacy of Jones, and featuring performances by his
company and alumni Sean Curran, Heidi Latsky, and Larry Goldhuber.
Dance Brazil, which received $10,000 to support the creation of two new
works, including one addressing the early 19th century uprising of
enslaved Africans in Brazil who were also followers of Islam.
Doug Elkins Dance Company, awarded $5,000 to support, among other things,
the creation of a new work, "Crash Comfort."
Danspace Project, granted $30,000 to support the fourth year of City/Dans,
a program whose goals include nurturing artists through various stages of
their development, and providing audiences with a deeper understanding of
the full range of New York choreographers.
Headlong Dance Theater, the recipient of $5,000, to be used to support a
collaboration with composer Rick Henderson.
Garth Fagan Dance, which got $25,000 for a new collaboration with Wynton
Marsalis, to be performed with live accompaniment by the Jazz at Lincoln
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, awarded $70,000 to support commissions and
performances by, among others, Urban Bush Women, Cambodian Project, Herbin
Tamango Van Cayseele, the New Amsterdam Ballet Project, the Jose Limon
Dance Company, and Ann Carlson.
John Jasperse Dance Company, which received $10,000 to support the
presentation of "Place" at, among other venues around the nation, the
Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The Jose Limon Dance Foundation, granted $40,000 to support remounting of
Limon's 1967 "Psalm," to new music by Jon Magnussen.
The Joyce Theater Foundation, which got $70,000 to support projects
including this year's Altogether Different Festival, Ballets Preljocaj,
Guangdong Modern Dance Company, Sean Curran Company, and Pilobolus Dance
Louisville Ballet, which received $5,000 to support an eclectic program
including Stephen Mills's "Red Rose," Amy Moore-Morton's "With Chaplin,"
Sarah Slipper's "Under Paradise," and Michel Fokine's "Le Spectre de La Rose."
Merce Cunningham Dance Company, awarded a whopping $90,000 to support the
creation of one work, and the revival of two, all to be presented on a
Murray Louis and Nikolais Dance, awarded $20,000 to support the creation of
two works by Louis, and the revival of several major works by Nikolais, all
to be presented at the Joyce Theater, according to the grant announcement.
The National Performance Network, given $70,000 to support 40 dance
residencies and related educational activities in over 40 states.
Pacific Northwest Ballet, which got $50,000 to support the commissioning of
Pilobolus, awarded $10,000 for a new full-company work to premiere during
the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
San Francisco Ballet, granted $70,000 to support commissions by Wheeldon
-- there's that name again -- as well as Stanton Welch and SFB artistic
director Helgi Tomasson.
Shapiro and Smith, given $5,000 to support a collaboration with the Klezmer
quartet Brave Old World.
The New Victory Theater, which received $25,000 to support the
presentation of its dance series, including seasons from Parsons Dance
Company, Urban Tap, and Introdans.
Cal Performances, the recipient of $20,000 to support presentations by
Merce Cunningham, Ailey, Nederlands Dans Theater, and Sasha Waltz.
And... Zaccho Dance Theatre,
looking at $10,000 to help in the creation of a new aerial work
inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall.
Now then: If you're a non-profit presenter or company (as part of the NEA's
reaction to conservative concern over artists who stick yams in their
butts, among other infractions, individual choreographers cannot apply
directly for grants, but must due so through companies or presenters), and
want to get in on next year's booty, the deadline for getting your grant
application in is March 26, in the categories of Creativity and
Organizational capacity; May 14, in the category of Arts Learning; and
August 13, in the categories of Access and Heritage/Preservation. For more
info, please visit the NEA web site.
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