Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts Receives Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences Award to Support 2013-2014 Breaking Ground Dance Series

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts Receives Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences Award to Support 2013-2014 Breaking Ground Dance Series

Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts
Receives Dance/USA's Engaging Dance Audiences Award
to Support 2013–2014 Breaking Ground Dance Series
Grant part of announcement of 20 grants and $948,000 in funding nationwide

Middletown, Conn.—Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, has announced that 20 member organizations across the country have been awarded a total of $948,000 in funding in Round Two of Engaging Dance Audiences, the first national funding program for audience engagement practices focused specifically on the art form of dance. Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts is one of the grantees and will receive $42,660 to increase audience engagement through two new programs that will launch later this year: the DanceLink Fellowship Program, in which Wesleyan students will intern with three professional dance companies during the summer, and then serve as ambassadors for the companies when they are presented on campus during the 2013–2014 Breaking Ground Dance Series; and Dine/Dance/Discover, a new event to take place before and after Breaking Ground Dance Series performances, incorporating dance workshops featuring movements from those performances, dinners facilitated by the DanceLink Fellows and Wesleyan faculty members, and post-show discussions.  

Engaging Dance Audiences is administered by Dance/USA and made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  The selected organizations were chosen from 57 applications through a rigorous review by a national peer panel.

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts is the only dance presenter in Connecticut to receive support from Dance/USA, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts dance program.

The Breaking Ground Dance Series at the Center for the Arts, now in its 13th season at Wesleyan University, features cutting-edge choreography, world-renowned companies, and companies pushing the boundaries of the art form. Upcoming performances this season include the New England premiere of “Mama Call” (2011) by Gallim Dance on February 8 & 9, 2013. “Mama Call” is a contemporary, universal tale of border-crossing which investigates the idea of how those who have been displaced rescue the idea of “home.” Past companies from the U.S. and abroad that have been featured on the Breaking Ground Dance Series, programmed collaboratively by the Center for the Arts and Wesleyan's Dance Department, include Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Chunky Move, and Compagnie Marie Chouinard.
“We are once again delighted to support this roster of grantees and Dance/USA’s Engaging Dance Audiences, which is helping dance artists explore promising approaches for engaging their audiences and communities in new and deeper ways,” said Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “The first round of Engaging Dance Audiences was an inspiring success, supporting exemplary projects and generating important research for the entire field. The structure of this second round—asking grantees to build on the models created in Round One—will help the dance field move forward as a whole and enhance the impact of what has been learned to date.”

“Over 40% of Wesleyan students take a dance class before they graduate. Dance is in Wesleyan's DNA,” said Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University. “By having a Wesleyan student serve as an intern for a major American company and then serve as that company's ambassador on campus, we hope to develop new practices in peer to peer marketing on college campuses. Dance, Dine and Discover will bring a segment of our audience closer to the work and enable them to engage with it more deeply. We are honored to be one of only 20 organizations in the country to receive this important national innovation grant.”

About Engaging Dance Audiences
Engaging Dance Audiences is a $1.748 million program conceived of in 2008 by Dance/USA in collaboration with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to significantly increase the dance field’s capacity to engage audiences by researching, implementing and documenting effective and forward-thinking practices, and sharing them with the field. The Engaging Dance Audiences project manager and facilitator is Suzanne Callahan, founder of Callahan Consulting for the Arts, who managed Round One of Engaging Dance Audiences, as well as other re-granting programs for Dance/USA. Rory MacPherson, principal at Trudel / MacPherson and formerly of the Wallace Foundation, will serve as co-facilitator. For more information about Engaging Dance Audiences, please visit http://www.danceusa.org/engagingdanceaudiencesroundtwo.

About Dance/USA
Dance/USA’s mission is to support and advance professional dance by addressing the needs, concerns, and interests of dance artists, administrators, and organizations. By providing national leadership and services, Dance/USA enhances the infrastructure for dance creation and distribution, education, and dissemination of information. As a national membership-based organization, Dance/USA provides programs to its core constituency of dance groups working in the genres of aerial, ballet, contemporary, culturally-specific, hip-hop, ice, international, jazz, liturgical, modern, single-choreographer, and tap. Dance/USA also serves other members of the broader dance ecosystem including dance presenters, dance service organizations, dance agents, dance educators, independent dancers, and freelance choreographers. Member companies have operating budgets ranging from under $50,000 to over $50 million. Dance/USA focuses its work in three areas of core services for its members and implements a variety of special initiatives designed to advance the field. All members benefit from the core services of Leadership & Learning, Research & Information, and Advocacy & Visibility. For more information about Dance/USA, please visit http://www.danceusa.org.