Philadelphia Dance Takes to the Streets with Dance/Up Dance Deck

Dance/Up, the local service organization dedicated to the regional dance community, announced the successful arrival of an innovative new portable Dance Deck. Funded in part with a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of its Knight Art Challenge, the Dance Deck will be available for dance companies and dance producers around the region. Designed by the Wooden Kiwi design firm in Boston, the new innovative Dance Deck is weather-proof, inexpensive, and able to accommodate the demanding physical needs of professional dance.

“This floor is durable and tuned like a drum,” said Dance/UP Director Lois Welk. “It offers dancers physical support and dynamic response, but in a portable format. Dancers can now afford to take their productions out into the community but still give their audience’s the full range of performance and athleticism you expect from a dance event.”

This portable sprung dance floor will be available as-needed through the Dance/UP Floor Rental Program. The rental program offers both non-profit and for-profit rates, as well as low- or no- cost rentals for dance professionals to conduct education and outreach activities. Complete information on the Dance Deck is available at Photos and videos of the floor in use at the City Hall Presents series are available at

“I think the rental floor is a brilliant idea. The floor will allow our company to accept offers from non- traditional presenters including Churches and Pride organizations,” said Christine Cox, Artistic Director for Ballet X.

Boston Dance Alliance invented the portable floor and its Executive Director, Ruth Birnberg, will help Dance/UP design the Philadelphia program. Local Dance professionals see this as a new resource that will allow dance to expand its audiences, lower costs, and bring dance to more alternative spaces. The floor was featured this summer in performances by Philadanco, Ballet X and others in the new City Hall Presents performance series.

“We wouldn’t have been able to bring professional dance companies like Philadanco to City Hall if we didn’t have this resource,” said Gary Steuer, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia. “It’s really a game changer for dance performance in the city, opening exposing more people to the energy of live dance.”

Founded in 2007, Dance/Up is one of the leading regional service organizations for dance in the country. One of just two affiliate chapters of Dance USA, Dance/UP provides a wide range of resources for the dance community including advocacy, marketing, professional development resources, rental subsidies and other collaborative dance resources. Director Lois Welk strives to maintain a high level of responsiveness to the needs of artists and companies working across all dance styles and budget sizes.

Artist services and core programs are available, at little or no charge, to companies, choreographers, dancers, presenters, administrators, educators, and other professionals who work in the field of dance. The New Stages for Dance Initiative makes high quality venues affordable so dance companies can improve the success of their annual home seasons; the Philadelphia Dance Showcase attracts regional, national and international presenters to an intimate industry platform featuring tour-ready work across genre and style; the Philadelphia Is Dancing! wall calendar raises awareness of the strength and diversity of local professional dance; Dance in Public Places transforms the way dance is produced and enjoyed throughout the region; and the New Presenters Track inspires and educates managers of non-traditional venues to begin presenting dance to their audiences.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Knight Art Challenge
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

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