Five Southern Dance Companies Selected for Momentum: Long-Term Capacity Building

South Arts, a regional nonprofit arts organization, has announced the five Southern dance companies selected to participate in Momentum. This new three-year project, funded with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will allow the selected companies to build their capacity for regional and national touring.

"There is remarkable dance occurring in our region," said Nikki Estes, program director with South Arts. "Southern artists are pushing boundaries and telling important stories through this art form. Yet, they are often overlooked in favor of their counterparts in other parts of the US. Through Momentum, we aim to address that gap and raise the profile of Southern dance companies across the region and country."

Over the course of three years, each company will receive professional development, residency opportunities, and touring grants to fund their work. Participants will also showcase at the Performing Arts Exchange booking conference to share their work with arts presenters and programmers.

The selected companies are:

  • Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami. Miami, Florida. Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra, Artistic Directors.
  • Helen Simoneau Danse. Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Helen Simoneau, Artistic Director.
  • New Dialect. Nashville, Tennessee. Banning Bouldin, Artistic Director.
  • staibdance. Avondale Estates, Georgia. George Staib, Artistic Director.
  • Wideman Davis Dance. Columbia, South Carolina. Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis, Artistic Directors.

The five companies were selected from an application pool of 37 companies by a national panel of leaders in the field of dance presenting and touring, and show exceptional promise both in their artistic quality and potential for expanded touring. The panel included Neil Barclay (CEO, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History), Christy Bolingbroke (Executive/Artistic Director, National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron), Laurie Eisenhower (Founding Artistic Director, Eisenhower Dance), Christopher Heacox (Executive Director, Auburn University Performing Arts Center), Sophie Myrtil-McCourty (President, Lotus Arts Management), Martin Wechsler (Former Director of Programming, The Joyce Theater), and Ichun Yeh (Vice President/Director of Booking, Sozo Artists).

"Momentum is the next incarnation of our Dance Touring Initiative," continued Estes. Through the Dance Touring Initiative, nearly 30 performing arts presenters throughout the Southern region have received professional development and funds to strengthen their work with touring modern dance and contemporary ballet companies over the last ten years. "We recognized that-even though we were working with Southern arts organizations-Southern dance companies were often not being engaged for tours. We began designing Momentum as soon as we identified this need."

The companies selected for Momentum will convene at the 2019 Performing Arts Exchange conference in Orlando, Florida to begin their professional development, and will participate in a series of webinars throughout the program addressing pertinent topics to the field. Additionally, they will be partnered with Dance Touring Initiative presenters for residencies to develop their work and touring capacity. South Arts will make grants available to present these companies in upcoming seasons.

"Momentum is deeply informed by our new mission statement: advancing Southern vitality through the arts," said Susie Surkamer, executive director with South Arts. "One of our goals is to support the artistic and professional growth and success of artists in the South, and Momentum represents new steps for our organization in that direction."

To learn more about Momentum as well as South Arts' other programs supporting artists, arts organizations, and communities throughout the South, visit www.southarts.org.



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