Dance Advance Awards $595,800 in Grants to 27 Artists and Organizations

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Philadelphia, PA- Dance Advance today announced $595,800 in funding for 27 artists, companies and organizations to develop, present and distribute dance during the 2004-2005 season. Four grants went to first-time applicants, and a total of ten awards were made to first-time grantees of funding from Dance Advance. These 27 proposals were funded out of 63 total applicants requesting project support.

Dance Advance is a program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by Drexel University. Once a year, Dance Advance convenes a Peer Review Panel to select projects of outstanding creative and artistic merit. Projects cover a diverse range of artistic interests: research and development, rehearsal and creation, and production and presentation. All styles, genres, and cultural traditions in dance are eligible to be supported through Dance Advance. Applicants must reside in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, or Montgomery counties. 

This year's awards range in size from $6,300 to $72,000. A Peer Review Panel evaluated applications for artistic excellence, project excellence, and project impact. Of the grants, six were awarded to individuals, ten to dance companies, ten to presenters, and one to a Project of Common Interest (PCI). PCI awards support projects that bring together three or more nonprofit organizations to enhance the administrative and/or artistic environment for dance in the region.  

According to Bill Bissell, director of Dance Advance, “This year there was a coming of age in competitive applications from artists representing vernacular and culturally specific dance forms. This speaks to the wide range of dance genres being practiced in this region's many dance communities. Also, the percentage of first-time applicants and grantees speaks to the remarkable depth and continued growth of Philadelphia's dance culture. The application process began in September when the program received a record 88 Letters of Intent to apply for funding.” 

The review panel consisted of eight nationally recognized dance professionals: Ursula Payne, dance faculty member at Slippery Rock University and independent choreographer; Della Cowall, artistic director of Nee Danse Company and dance educator in Harrisburg, PA; Andrea E. Woods, Director of Souloworks dance company in Brooklyn, New York and former dancer with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; Amy Ginsburg, director of the dance program at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Jose Bustamante, artistic director of Sharir/Bustamante in Austin, Texas; Brent Edwards, Assistant Professor of Literatures in English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey; and Rita Felciano, dance writer for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and Dance Magazine, from San Francisco, California. Lois Welk, artistic director of The Yard in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, served as the panel's nonvoting chair. Additionally, several expert consultants reviewed potential applicants throughout the year: Ava Vinesett, director of the Duke University African Repertory Ensemble and founding member of the Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble; Nancy Reynolds, director of education for the Balanchine Foundation, New York City; H.T. Chen, artistic director, H.T. Chen & Dancers, New York City; and Sherone Price, traditional African dance instructor, American Dance Festival, Durham, NC, and Miami, Florida. 

Dance Advance awards are not tied to an applicant's financial need or prior funding history. Since its inception in 1993, Dance Advance and its precursor, the Philadelphia Repertory Dance Initiative, have funded a total of 234 dance-specific projects. These awards represent a value of $4,871,450 invested in the region's dance communities. 

The Pew Charitable Trusts serves the public interest by providing information, policy solutions and support for civic life. Based in Philadelphia, with an office in Washington, DC, The Trusts make investments to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions on challenging issues. With approximately $4.1 billion in dedicated assets, in 2003 the Trusts committed more than $143 million to 151 nonprofit organizations.