2020 National Dance Presenters' Forum is Now Accepting Applications

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2020 National Dance Presenters' Forum is Now Accepting Applications

Jacob's Pillow, in partnership with the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), invites early career dance presenters to apply for an immersive professional development experience at Jacob's Pillow, August 5-8, 2020. The third annual Forum, reinstated in July 2018 in response to field-wide interest, is developed in collaboration with key partners from across the U.S. and designed to be a catalytic opportunity for early career dance presenters.

"It has been thrilling to see the cohorts from the past two years become a true network of dance programmers, sharing projects and practices," says Jacob's Pillow Executive and Artistic Director Pamela Tatge. "Supporting early career dance presenters is key to guaranteeing that dance artists will have increased opportunities to present their work and engage communities across the country. We can't wait to identify the class of 2020!"

"The NDPF professional development experience creates a supportive environment for performing arts professionals who are new to dance curation or are emerging dance programmers," elaborates Krista Bradley, APAP Director of Programs and Resources. "APAP's goal is to provide year-round opportunities that give those in the presenting, booking and touring industry the tools, resources, knowledge and skills they need to navigate change and do their best work."

"As NEFA strives to cultivate a more equitable culture of abundance, it is imperative that we invest in early-career dance presenters with tools to strengthen their own practice, create new modalities for success and advancement, and build a network for future engagement and exploration in our field," says Indira Goodwine, NEFA Program Director, Dance.

The Forum experience will take the shape of a learning cohort, wherein participants, facilitators, and presenters will interrogate and contribute perspectives on the evolving state of 21st-century dance presenting. Immersed within Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, participants have access to all Festival programming, unparalleled Archives that chronicle over 88 years of dance history, and an international community of students, dancers, choreographers, scholars, arts professionals, and audience members. Home to America's longest-running dance festival, Jacob's Pillow has been a leader in presenting dance across genres for decades and is widely considered one of the most active sites for dance research, development, and performance in the United States.

Jacob's Pillow has worked closely with national and regional partners to develop the curriculum for the program that provides a platform to discuss critical issues facing the dance field; strengthen curatorial practice in dance; explore collaborative strategies to support choreographic development; learn about and share audience engagement strategies; strengthen professional networks; and bolster support for dance across the United States.

Additional curricular insight comes from initiatives including NEFA's National Dance Project Regional Dance Development Initiatives and Moving Dance Forward: NEFA's National Dance Project at 20 & Critical Field Trends report; The Black Report by the International Association of Blacks in Dance; The Future of Physically Integrated Dance in the U.S. by Axis Dance; South Arts' Dance Touring Initiative; and Dance/USA's Engaging Dance Audiences.

Programming highlights include performances by New Zealand-based Black Grace, the critically acclaimed dance company known for masterfully blending contemporary and traditional Samoan dance genres; and the U.S. debut of LAVA Compañía de Danza, the resident dance company of Auditorio de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain; among others.

The selection committee, comprised of representatives from Jacob's Pillow, APAP, NEFA, and Project Consultant Michelle Grove Herzog, with input from representatives at Dance/USA, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and South Arts, strives to seek varied geographic representation and be inclusive of historically underrepresented and marginalized communities.

Last year, the 2019 Forum planning committee selected 15 emerging dance presenters with diverse backgrounds as curators, cultural organizers, and service providers to artists and audiences. In addition to participating staff from partner organizations, 2019 facilitators included Ali Rosa-Salas, Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center in New York City; Sean Dorsey, San-Francisco based choreographer, dancer, and trans rights activist; Madison Cario, Executive Director of The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) in Portland, OR; and Suzanne Callahan, founder of Callahan Consulting for the Arts, among others. Notably, Mary Anne Carter, Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, joined the Forum for conversation around successes and challenges from participants about dance presenting in their communities.


Lead funding for this initiative comes from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support provided by Dance/USA, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and South Arts.


This four-day leadership development conference for 15 presenters from across the U.S. will be held August 5-8, 2020. Individuals who have been presenting dance for less than five years or are based at an organization that has been presenting dance for less than five years are encouraged to apply. Room, board, and tickets to Festival performances for those invited to attend will be fully subsidized. Selected participants will be required to cover a participation cost of $175 as well as their travel. Limited scholarships and travel subsidies are available.

To apply:



Jacob's Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America's longest-running international dance festival, currently in the midst of its transition to becoming a year-round center for dance through a five-year strategic plan titled Vision '22. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and over 500 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, events, and community programs. The School at Jacob's Pillow, one of the field's most prestigious professional dance training centers, encompasses the diverse disciplines of Contemporary Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Musical Theatre Dance, Photography, Choreography, and an annual rotating program (Street & Club Dances in 2020). The Pillow also provides professional advancement opportunities across disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production through seasonal internships and a year-round Administrative Fellows program. With growing community engagement programs, the Pillow serves as a partner and active citizen in its local community. The Pillow's extensive Archives, open year-round to the public and online at danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Notable artists who have created or premiered dances at the Pillow include choreographers Antony Tudor, Agnes De Mille, Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Kevin Mckenzie, Twyla Tharp, Ralph Lemon, Susan Marshall, Trisha Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Wally Cardona, Andrea Miller, and Trey McIntyre; performed by artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen de Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others. On March 2, 2011, President Barack Obama honored Jacob's Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. The Pillow's Director since 2016 is Pamela Tatge. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org.

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