2024 NYS Choreographers Initiative Guidelines

A Program of NYS DanceForce,
A NYSCA Partner

Grant Application Portal Opens Oct 2 2023 at
Application Deadline: Dec 7 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. Each project is a choreographic lab, designed to fit the specific needs of each artist.

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. 

(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 2022 (see map above).
  • All participating dancers/performers must be New York State residents.
  • Current NYS DanceForce members are not eligible to apply as choreographers; they can participate as mentors and/or dancers.
  • 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: December 7, 2023 11:59 pm EST
  • Awardees Announced: February 1, 2024
  • Projects must be completed by December 31, 2024
Pre-Application Information Sessions

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

  • ​​Saturday, October 21, 9:30am-10:30 am. Register here
  • Thursday, November 2, 7:00pm-8:00 pm. Register here
Residency Requirements

This program is open to current residents of New York State,  excluding Rockland and Westchester Counties and the 5 boroughs of New York City (see map above). Applicants must have resided in one of the eligible counties since January 2022, 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.

Covid 19

We recommend that all project participants (choreographers, mentors, performers, videographers etc.) be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and that they comply with current CDC and NYS guidelines. Participation however carries some inherent risks associated with exposure to illness; we are not responsible for illnesses occurring during or after these projects. We ask that all participants fully understand these risks, take responsibility for their own safety, and protect themselves accordingly. 

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 New York State; 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, rather than just being a colleague and/or friend.
  • 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.
  • A signed letter of intent from the mentor with proposed dates is required. Mentor is expected to hold proposed dates until grants are announced.
  • Project must be completed by December 31, 2024. Candidates are strongly urged to consult with the Program Manager before applying regarding choice of mentor. To schedule a  consultation, contact choreoinitiative@danceforce.org.
  • The mentor is required to 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 is required to consult with the choreographer a minimum of 3 times (including the meeting described above) and to visit rehearsals in person a minimum of 3 times by mutual agreement with the choreographer.
Online Application
  • Deadline: December 7, 2023 11:59 pm EST
  • Online Application Form  – https://danceforce.grantplatform.com/
  • Required Attachments: Applicant proof of residency (2), Choreographer’s bio (1), Mentor’s bio (1), Mentor’s letter of intent (1), Links to video samples (2). See the application form for details regarding attachments.

For More Information:
Lois Welk, NYSCI Program Manager
Remi Harris, NYSCI Program Specialist