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January 21, 2015

DANCECleveland Receives Support from Major National Foundations To Explore the Creation of a National Center for Choreography in Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND (January 8, 2015) DANCECleveland has received lead funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and additional funding from The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Fund for National Projects to explore and test the idea of establishing a new National Center for Choreography in northeast Ohio.

While there are a number of choreographic residency sites in the U.S., there is only one National Center for Choreography the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University (MANCC). In comparison, France has 19.

Pre-planning began last fall for the feasibility study, which will engage national, regional and local arts community and academic leaders as well as potential funders and partners,to explore operational scenarios and to test the viability of the concept. The study, which will take approximately 18-24 months, will be coordinated by Pamela Young, DANCECleveland executive director, and conducted by consultants Janus Small, principal, Janus Small Associates, and Jennifer Calienes,Independent Consultant and MANCC Founding Director and Senior Advisor.

The project will include three curated pilot choreographic residencies which will bring national choreographers to the region and provide them with time for research and space to create new work.

Young says that these pilot residencies will provide a strong indication about the viability of an operational model that emerges from the feasibility study. "It's our hope that the feasibility study will galvanize attention among local, regional and national dance communities around a possible solution to the industry-wide challenge of where and how the dance of tomorrow will be developed."

"Northeast Ohio has developed not just great dancers but a community around the field of dance," said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation, which provided $140,000 in funding. "The next generation of dancers needs a place where they can develop their craft, and the study will tell us whether Northeast Ohio can be that home."

"As dance continues to strengthen its presence around the country, this project to explore a decentralized network of dance centers is especially timely and important," said Ben Cameron, Program Director of the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation which is supporting this project with a grant of $73,125. "We are honored to support DANCECleveland and look forward to the results of this work."

The seeds for the concept of a new center began when The University of Akron opened its state-of-the-art dance facility in 2006. With its spaces -- including seven dance studios, a black-box theater and access to the 3,000-seat E.J. Thomas Hall -- serving as a catalyst, the idea for the creation of a new national center took root. In the fall of 2013, DANCECleveland convened a national blue ribbon panel, comprised of national dance leaders, choreographers and academic representatives, to gather preliminary ideas and provide feedback about the concept.The blue ribbon panel and community events not only helped to bring this idea into focus, it also challenged DANCECleveland to broaden its focus to encapsulate the idea of possible research, dance and theater partners and sites across the entire northeast Ohio region.

"We received overwhelmingly positive encouragement from the panel participants, stakeholder groups and the audience at the event, so we're eager to launch the next steps in this process which could have far-reaching implications not only for northeast Ohio, but also for the broader American dance world," said Young.

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DANCECleveland, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit organization, works to bring the passion and verve of modern and contemporary dance to the northeast Ohio community. The centerpiece of the organization's programming is its annual performance series. The performances are surrounded by an array of educational outreach events including artist-run master classes, residency programs, student matinees, pre-performance lectures and post-performance Q&A sessions, designed both to break artistic boundaries and provide community access to the dance aesthetic and dance luminaries that DANCECleveland brings to Northeast Ohio. For more information, visit www.dancecleveland.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. The Arts Program focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theatre artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org.

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