2022 NYS Choreographers’ Initiative

A Program of NYS DanceForce, a NYSCA Partner

Grant Application Portal Opens November 1, 2021
Deadline: January 5, 2022 – 11:59 pm EST

The NYS Choreographers’ Initiative (NYSCI) – formerly the WNY Choreographers’ Initiative – is a program of the NYS DanceForce, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). NYSCI is designed to help individual choreographers, in all genres, develop their choreographic skills by providing them with resources that are generally unavailable or unaffordable. These resources include a $2,500 stipend, a minimum of 24 hours of creative time with professional dancers, and the guidance of a mentor, of their own choice.  Each project is basically a mini-residency, designed to fit the specific needs of each artist.

(click on map to enlarge)

 Who We Are Looking For

The goal of the NYS Choreographers’ Initiative is to develop and support choreographic talent in the WNY, Central NY, Capital District/North County and Hudson Valley/Long Island regions of New York State. Applicants must show evidence of commitment to producing original choreography, in any dance genre. Video samples are critical for determining artistic excellence and should include work that is less than 3 years old.  (The application will include instructions for submitting video samples.) Please note: this is an opportunity for individual artists, not organizations.

Applicants will be evaluated on:
  • artistic excellence
  • project excellence
  • potential impact of this opportunity on the artist’s development
 Preference is given to those applicants who:
  • have produced at least one full evening of work or three or more shared bills within the past five years
  • select a mentor who is a New York State resident

This is an opportunity for experimentation.  It is not to be used for preparing for a specific production or tour, incorporating new dancers into existing repertoire, or finishing a work-in-progress.

  • Limited to choreographers who reside in the 55 eligible counties of New York State (see map above).
  • Current NYS DanceForce members are not eligible to apply as choreographers; they can participate as mentors.
  • Western New York Choreographers’ Initiative grant recipients are not eligible to apply for two years subsequent to their award year.
  • Matriculated students are not eligible.
  • Application Deadline: January 5, 2022 11:59pm EST
  • Awardees Announced: February 25, 2022
  • Project Period: April 15 – December 31, 2022
Residency Requirements

This program is open to current residents of New York State excluding the 5 boroughs of NYC, Rockland, and Westchester Counties (see map above). Applicants must have resided in one of the eligible counties since May 2020, and not be a full-time student at the time the application is submitted.

Proof of residency for the applicant is required in the form of two different, current documents from the list below. All documentation must contain the individual’s name and address.

  • Telephone Bill
  • Credit card and/or bank statement (name and address page only; financial and account information should be blacked out)
  • NYS or Federal Tax form (first page only; social security and financial information should be blacked out)
  • Current lease or mortgage agreement listing the artist’s name and showing a NYS address
  • NY State Driver’s license or NY State ID card
  • Voter Registration Card

All project participants (except for the mentor) must be New York State residents.

What Is Provided
  • Choreographer stipend – $2,500
  • Mentor stipend – $2,000
  • Up to $6,500 in support for dancers’ fees, studio rental, documentation & travel expenses
 What Is Expected

The basic model for the project is 24 hours of an artist-driven choreographic lab. The lab/rehearsal plan is designed by the choreographer with support from the NYS Choreographers’ Initiative Program Manager. The final plan needs to conform to budget restrictions and is subject to approval by the Program Manager.

The choreographer is expected to take full advantage of this process-oriented time to dig deeper or move in new directions. A performance or public event is not required.

Each choreographer will select and engage the services of a mentor for a minimum of 2 consultations and 3 rehearsal visits. Choice of the mentor is critical to a successful application. Mentors should be experienced professionals who can offer the applicant new insights and new approaches. A signed letter of intent from the mentor with proposed dates is required. (Project must occur within the time period April 15 – December 31, 2022.) Candidates are strongly urged to consult with the Program Manager regarding choice of mentor.

Choreographers may select dancers from anywhere in New York State for the project. Dancers are confirmed after the grant recipients are announced and the projects are approved.

All participants (e.g. choreographers, mentors, performers) must provide proof of vaccination upon signing their agreements.

  • Deadline: January 5, 2022, 11:59 pm EST
  • Online Application Form is available at https://danceforce.grantplatform.com
  • Proofs of residency (2), resumes (2), Mentor’s letter of intent (1), links to video samples (2) are required attachments.  Details are available on the application form.

 For More Information:
(833) 800-7870
Lois Welk, NYSCI Program Manager
Remi Harris, NYSCI Program Specialist