South Arts receives $450,000 grant to build modern dance and contemporary ballet audiences

South Arts receives $450,000 grant to build modern dance and contemporary ballet audiences

ATLANTA – South Arts has received a grant of $450,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support its Dance Touring Initiative (DTI) through 2018. The initiative, launched in 2009, is building a broad and deep network of performing arts presenters throughout the South that can bring modern dance and contemporary ballet companies as part of their season for public performances and artist residencies.

“Our data showed that access to modern dance and contemporary ballet was declining throughout the South, especially outside our most major metropolitan areas,” explained Nikki Estes, South Arts’ program director for DTI. “We developed this initiative to engage new audiences and stakeholders across the region with these important artforms.”

Through DTI, two cohorts totaling 20 performing arts presenters in eight Southern states have been selected to receive training and support in all aspects of presenting modern dance. Participants in the two cohorts have travelled to dance festivals including Jacob’s Pillow and American Dance Festival, worked with specialists to gain deeper understanding of the wide artistic range of the artforms, and received subsidies to engage leading companies for performances and residencies. Together, the presenters have worked with companies such as David Dorfman Dance, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, River North Dance Chicago, and Lula Washington Dance Theatre, engaging over 33,000 people throughout the region with contemporary ballet and modern dance. A third cohort of up to 10 presenters will be selected in 2015.

Two South Carolina organizations, Ballet Spartanburg and Coker College Department of Dance in Hartsville, were chosen as participants for the initial cohort in 2009.

“We are extremely grateful for this major support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” said Suzette M. Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “Their support allows us to ensure that DTI creates long-lasting and impactful changes throughout the region as we foster a network of colleagues with the experience and knowledge to develop new audiences.”

Nonprofit performing arts presenters across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee are encouraged to visit the Dance Touring Initiative area of South Arts’ website for information about applying to be part of the upcoming third cohort. The application deadline is Jan. 23, 2015.

Image: Koresh Dance Company, one of three companies providing multi-day residencies for cohort participants during the 2014-2015 season.

About South Arts
South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to address the role of the arts in impacting the issues important to our region, and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts. For more information, visit

Via: South Arts