Welcome to Dance/USA

Dance/USA is the national service organization for professional dance, serving a broad cross-section of the dance field. Established in 1982, Dance/USA champions an inclusive and equitable dance field by leading, convening, advocating, and supporting individuals and organizations. For more information about Dance/USA's vision, mission, and core values, visit our website

Getting Started to Apply

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DFA offers direct support to individual artists who have developed a sustained and intentional practice of working through dance and movement-based modalities to address social change.

In this current round, DFA will fund up to 30 one-year fellowships of a minimum of $30,000 per awarded artist.

Fellowship funds can be used at the artist’s discretion. Awarded fellows are not required to complete a project with the financial award.

DFA will cover expenses for access and/or related travel during cohort convenings.

About Art for Social Change

The following language is adapted, with permission, from the Leeway Foundation.

Art for social change intentionally affects and respectfully engages communities and audiences. Creating social change must be integral to the ideas, beliefs, and goals that are woven throughout an artist’s process of creating and sharing the art. Art for social change is art with a vision and an intentional analysis. It is an artistic or creative cultural practice that may operate in traditional or nontraditional forms or settings. Art with this vision impacts people and communities in many ways. It can:

  • Create space for expression and build a sense of community
  • Preserve or reclaim traditional cultural practices
  • Alter or question how we think about ourselves, our society, or our culture
  • Create a vision of a more just world
  • Be a tool or strategy for organizing and movement building
  • Challenge racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, ageism, ableism, or other oppressions
  • Question dominant culture beliefs
  • Shift or transform the perception of power and/or privilege and the dynamics associated with justice, equity, and/or accountability

For specific examples of artists that DFA seeks to support, see Dance/USA’s series of 11 published articles that shares the voices of 31 artists who received the fellowship in the previous round.

Eligibility

As an applicant, you must:

  • Have dedicated your practice to directly and meaningfully addressing the needs of one or more community(s).
  • Have respectful, ethical, and committed relationships with the communities with which your work is in dialogue
  • Have an artistic practice in dance and/or movement-based modalities.
  • Have not received major six-figure funding, such as MacArthur Foundation “Genius” awards and Doris Duke Artist Awards.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.

Not Competitive

Applicants that fit the item(s) below are not competitive in this program:

  • Artists whose practice takes place solely in higher education settings, such as college professors who create work only for their students
  • Artists whose work is not rooted with intention in community-based practice
  • Artists who wish to explore a social justice issue for a new work, but who have no prior experience with the community(s) it affects.

Review Criteria

A peer panel will be charged with constructing a fellowship cohort that reflects a range of artists, practices, and communities, using the following review criteria:

  • Commitment: The artist demonstrates sustained commitment to a population, issue, and/or place and shows accountability for how their work contributes to change
  • Clarity: Clarity in artistry and articulation of how the artist’s work uplifts visions of justice, dismantles systems of oppression, facilitates care and healing, or more
  • Cultural integrity: The artist’s work is governed by ethical practice that shows awareness of power, privilege, and cultural context
  • Disruption: The artist’s work questions norms, disrupts dominant culture, shifts perception and power dynamics, models new forms of action, or more

Translation, Interpretation, and Accessibility

Dance/USA is committed to accessibility. We are happy to offer alternative formats and translation/interpretation services necessary so that all individuals can participate in DFA.

If you need translation to access DFA guidelines and applications in your preferred language, please reach out to Dance/USA as soon as possible. Upon request, Dance/USA will take the following steps:

  1. Contact our language services company
  2. Email application to the applicant in their preferred language
  3. The applicant would then answer the application questions in their preferred language and email them back to Dance/USA before the application due date
  4. Lastly, Dance/USA will have the application translated into English for panel review

Download a PDF document of the LOI application questions here.

If you have limited internet access, you may submit the LOI in Microsoft Word. Download the LOI form in Microsoft Word format here. Email the completed LOI form to fellowships@danceusa.org by December 10, 2021 (extended). 

In addition, guidelines and applications in large print are also available. Download the guidelines in large print here. Download the LOI form in large print here. Email the completed large print LOI form to fellowships@danceusa.org by December 10, 2021 (extended).

For all language and accessibility requests, please reach out to Haowen at fellowships@danceusa.org or call (202) 725-4028. ASL and spoken language interpretation services are available upon request.

Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists