2019 Western New York Choreographers’ Initiative Grant
Applications Now Available

Deadline: February 19, 2019

For More Information/Questions: WNYCI Coordinator Lois Welk  loisapril9[AT]gmail.com

The WNY Choreographers’ Initiative (WNYCI) is a new program of the NYS DanceForce, a partner program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). The WNYCI was designed to help WNY resident choreographers develop their choreographic skills by providing them with appropriate resources that are generally unavailable or unaffordable. These resources include a $2,500 stipend, 24 hours of creative studio time, professional dancers of their choosing, and the guidance of a professional mentor, also of their choosing.

Who We Are Looking For

The goal of the WNYCI is to develop choreographic talent in the region. Applicants must show evidence of commitment to producing original choreography, in any dance genre.

Preference is given to those applicants who:

  • have produced one full evening of work and three or more shared bills within the past five years (preferred – not required)
  • demonstrate a commitment to developing their artistic profile within their WNY community, rather than relocating elsewhere, over the next five years

Applicants will be evaluated on:

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


Former WNYCI grant recipients are not eligible to apply in the year subsequent to their award year. Current NYS DanceForce members are not eligible to apply as choreographers; they can participate as mentors.


Application Deadline – Feb 19, 2019
Awardees Announced – April 1, 2019
Planning sessions with Mentor and Program Coordinator –  April/May 2019
Projects must be completed by Dec 31, 2019

Residency Requirements

This program is open to current residents of New York’s 17 westernmost counties: Chautauqua, Niagara, Erie, Cattaraugus, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Allegany, Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Yates, Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca (see map above). Applicants must have resided in one of these counties for a minimum of three years, and not be a student at the time the application is submitted.

Dancers and mentors must be New York State residents.

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. Documentation must be dated no earlier than 2015.

  • Telephone Bill
  • Credit card and/or bank statement (name and address page only; financial and account information should be blocked)
  • NYS or Federal Tax form (first page only; social security and financial information should be blocked 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’s Registration Card

What Is Provided

  • Choreographer stipend – $2,500
  • Mentor stipend– $1,500
  • Up to $7,000 for dancers’ fees, studio rental, & travel

Specific budget details and expenditure procedures will be explained after the choreographers are chosen.

What Is Expected

  • The model for the project is 24 hours of rehearsal: an artist-driven choreographic lab that can be broken into two or three work periods, at least one of which must be in the home community of the choreographer. The rehearsal plan is designed by the choreographer with support from the WNYCI Coordinator. The final plan needs to conform to budget restrictions and is subject to approval by the WNYCI Coordinator.
  • The choreographer is expected to take full advantage of this process-oriented rehearsal time to dig deeper or move in new directions. A performance is not required.
  • Each choreographer will select and engage the services of a mentor for one planning meeting and two site visits. The mentor should have a well-documented track record and reputation within the New York State dance community. A signed letter of intent from the mentor with proposed dates is required. The selection is subject to approval by the WNYCI Coordinator.
  • Choreographers will select and hire dancers from anywhere in New York State for the residency. Signed letters of agreement with the dancers are required, but do not have to be submitted with the application. The choreographer cannot be one of the dancers.

Application Procedure

Download the application form from here and save it as a file on your computer. Fill it out, replace the filename with your name (e.g. John Doe.pdf), and submit it to loisapril9[AT]gmail.com.

Several other documents are also required. They are described on the application form. Submit them as above. Please begin each filename with your name.

For More Information/Questions: WNYCI Coordinator Lois Welk  – loisapril9[AT]gmail.com