New grants launched for emerging dance makers, choreographers of color

October 18, 2010
Time Out
Zachary Whittenburg


A pair of programs took off this month aimed at getting more of two things on Chicago stages: Conceptually solid new concert dance works and some more freakin’ diversity in the lily-hued ballet scene. Parenting the charge are the Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Dancemakers Forum, a consortium comprised of independent artists and representatives from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Dance Center of Columbia College and alt-performance venue Links Hall.

Creative Force: The Joffrey’s Choreographers of Color Award is co-sponsored by the Sara Lee Foundation and will grant two recipients 18 or older $2,500 each and the opportunity to make work for Academy Trainees of the Joffrey Ballet (talented late-teenagers preparing for professional careers). Academy directors Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik, and company artistic director Ashley Wheater, will advise. There is no fee to submit an application, and winners whose primary residence is more than 100 miles from the Loop will be provided with housing during the two-week creation period (dates to be announced in January and/or February, 2011). Deadline is November 1; get all the deets online.

The Greenhouse Program augments the Chicago Dancemakers Forum’s already-key spread of community events, grant awards, artist service and support with $5,000 each to five recipients. Four grand goes directly to the work, and a fifth to a mentor of the awardee’s own choosing, provided he or she completes required duties. (In that regard, Greenhouse is similar to the CDF’s long-running, $15,000 Lab Artist Grant program, which has directly facilitated some of the strongest contemporary dance made here since 2003.) CDF says “potential applicants are encouraged to define the category of ‘emerging artist’ broadly,” athough the gist is two to nine years’ experience in dance making, either independently or through company affiliations. The creation period lasts six months beginning in January, 2011 with tentative performance dates scheduled for June 24–26. Deadline is this Friday, October 22; get crackin’.

All told, that’s thirty thousand smackers doled out by next summer. Go get a piece.