Dance Advance Awards $693,000 in Grants to 27 Artists and Organizations

Dance Advance Awards $693,000 in Grants to 27 Artists and Organizations

Dance Advance today announced $693,000 in grants to 27 artists, companies, and organizations for the 2007-2008 season. From a total of 69 applicants requesting project support from Dance Advance, six grants went to first-time grantees and one to a first-time applicant. Dance Advance is an artistic initiative funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts. It is a project of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, home of seven initiatives dedicated to helping cultural organizations in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region develop high-quality public programs and effective management practices.

Dance Advance convenes an annual Peer Review Panel to select projects of outstanding merit. The Panel evaluates applications according to criteria of artistic excellence, project excellence, and project impact. Projects that receive funding range across all aspects of the creative cycle of making and distributing dance: research and development, rehearsal and creation, and production and presentation. All styles, genres, and cultural traditions of dance are eligible for support from Dance Advance. Grants are awarded without regard to an applicant's financial need or prior funding history, and applicants must reside in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, or Montgomery counties.

This year's Dance Advance awards range in size from $10,000 to $75,000. Seven grants were awarded to individuals; eleven to dance companies; and nine to presenters. A complete inventory of current awards is attached.

According to Bill Bissell, director of Dance Advance, “individual artists made an impressive showing in this year's pool of applicants, reflecting the vitality and depth of the Philadelphia dance culture. Two artists, Brigitta Herrmann and Pallabi Chakravorty, are first time grantees. The range of individual projects is tremendously diverse—from Roko Kawai's on-site movement exploration in a remote location in Japan, to Ms. Herrmann's body investigations here in Philadelphia, to Nicole Cousineau's film project that will parallel an existing stage work. As always there were many worthy projects that could not be funded. Still, over one-third of the 69 applications were successful out of a total request of $1,507,000. I hope this year's project awards will help to strengthen the health of dance in the five-county region.”

Bissell also notes the “interesting synchronicity” among several area presenters in work created by Asian artists or as part of the Asian diasporic experience: Ea Sola (Vietnam/France) at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival; Kota Yamazaki (Japan/New York) at the Painted Bride Art Center in tandem with Charles Anderson Dance Theater X; Shen Wei's second appearance at the Kimmel Center; and Yin Mei's area debut as part of the Bryn Mawr Performing Arts Series. “This serendipitous concurrence of interests speaks to the reach of internationalism within all sectors of the dance scene and the constantly evolving landscape of a dynamic art form,” says Bissell.

The Peer Review Panel consisted of seven nationally recognized dance professionals: Jeffery Bullock, associate professor of dance at Hollins University and director of the American Dance Festival's Young Dancers School; Jennifer Calienes, director of the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography in Tallahassee, Florida, and former director of the National Dance Project; Wayne Hazzard, executive director of Dancers' Group in San Francisco; Ursula Payne, independent choreographer and associate professor in dance, Slippery Rock University; Andrea E. Woods, artistic director of SOULOWORKS/Andrea E. Woods and adjunct faculty at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts; and Jin-Wen Yu, independent choreographer and associate professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Brent Edwards, associate professor of Literatures in English, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey served as the non-voting panel chair. In addition, the panelists utilized reports from several expert consultants who reviewed potential applicants throughout the year: José Bustamante, choreographer and artistic director, Sharir + Bustamante Danceworks, Austin, Texas; Rita Felciano, dance writer and critic, San Francisco; Amy Ginsburg, associate professor and director, dance program at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Gus Solomons, Jr., choreographer and co-artistic director, Paradigm, New York City; Lois Welk, director, New York State Dance Force; and Yasuko Yokoshi, independent choreographer, New York City.

Since its inception in 1993, Dance Advance and its precursor, the Philadelphia Repertory Dance Initiative, have funded a total of 309 dance-specific projects. These awards represent a value of $6,783,450 invested in the region's dance communities. The Pew Charitable Trusts serves the public interest by providing information, advancing policy solutions and supporting civic life. Based in Philadelphia, with an office in Washington, D.C., the Trusts will invest $248 million in fiscal year 2007 to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions for challenging issues.

Opened in November 2005, the Philadelphia Center for Arts & Heritage (PCAH) houses seven existing initiatives of The Pew Charitable Trusts. PCAH is the home of Dance Advance, Heritage Philadelphia Program, Pew Fellowships in the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, Philadelphia Music Project, and Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. Together these programs assist cultural organizations and artists in the five-county Southeastern Philadelphia region in developing high-quality public programs and effective management practices. For more information, visit