2023 NYS Choreographers Initiative

A Program of NYS DanceForce,
A NYSCA Partner

Grant Application Portal Opens November 1, 2022
Deadline: January 27, 2023 11:59 pm EST

The NYS Choreographers Initiative (NYSCI) 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 20 hours of creative time with professional dancers, and the guidance of a mentor, of their choice.

This is an opportunity for experimentation.  It is not to be used for preparing for a specific production or tour, incorporating new dancers into old repertoire, or finishing a work in progress.  Each project is a choreographic lab, 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 4 years old.  (The application will include instructions for submitting video samples.) This is an opportunity for individual artists, not collectives or organizations.

Applicants will be evaluated on:

  • artistic excellence
  • project excellence
  • potential impact of this opportunity on the artist’s development

The scoring system used to evaluate applicants can be viewed here.

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
  • Limited to choreographers who have consistently resided in the 55 eligible counties of New York State since January 2021 (see map above).
  • Current NYS DanceForce members are not eligible to apply as choreographers; they can participate as mentors.
  • Former recipients are not eligible to apply for two years subsequent to their award year.
  • Matriculated students are not eligible.
  • At least half the studio time must happen in the artist’s home community.
  • Application Deadline: January 27, 2023 11:59pm EST
  • Awardees Announced: March 24, 2023
  • Project Period: May 15, 2023 – December 31, 2023
Pre-Application Information Sessions

Three public information sessions via Zoom will provide an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the NYS Choreographers Initiative:

  • Sat Nov 19, 2022 Noon-1:30pm register here
  • Tues Dec 6, 2022 10am-11:30am register here
  • Sun Dec 11, 2022 3pm-4:30pm register here
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 January 2021, 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
Other Requirements

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

All participants (e.g. choreographers, mentors, and performers) must provide proof of Covid vaccinations as part of the application, and other collaborators will be required to provide proof of vaccination as part of their participation. 

What Is Provided
  • Choreographer stipend – $2,500
  • Mentor stipend – $2,000
  • Up to $7,000 in support for dancers’ fees, studio rental, documentation & travel expenses
 What Is Expected
  • The basic model for the project is 20 hours of an artist-driven choreographic lab. The lab/rehearsal plan is designed by the choreographer with support from the NYSCI Program Manager. The final plan needs to conform to budget restrictions and is subject to approval by the Program Manager. Choreographers are free to work in any location in NYS; however, a minimum of 10 hours must be in their home community.
  • 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 or expected.
  • 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. Dancers must be paid a minimum of $50/hr.
  • Each choreographer will select and engage the services of a mentor for a minimum of 2 consultations and 3 in-person 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 May 15 – December 31, 2023.) Candidates are strongly urged to consult with the Program Manager regarding choice of mentor. To schedule a one-on-one consultation, contact choreoinitiative@danceforce.org.
  • The mentor is expected to provide critical response, offer challenges, and instigate experimentation with the goal of deepening the choreographic investigations of the NYSCI  recipient.
  • The mentor should spend 90 to 120 minutes meeting with the choreographer (by digital means, telephone, or in person) to discuss artistic goals, challenges and interests prior to the choreographer’s first session with the dancers. At this point the mentor may assign a task or critique video samples from the choreographer. Discussing logistics and scheduling doesn’t count towards this time commitment.
  • The mentor should visit rehearsals in person three times over the course of the 20-hour project by mutual agreement with the choreographer.
Online Application
  • Deadline: January 27, 2023 11:59 pm EST
  • Online Application Form  – https://danceforce.grantplatform.com/
  • Required Attachments: Applicant proof of residency (2), Choreographer’s bio (1), Choreographer’s proof of vaccination (1), Mentor’s bio (1), Mentor’s letter of intent (1), Mentor’s proof of vaccination (1), Links to video samples (2). See the application form for details regarding attachments.

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