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Chicago Dancemakers Forum announces call for proposals

Chicago Dancemakers Forum announces call for proposals


Chicago Dancemakers Forum




Wednesday, December 31, 2014 - 8:00pm
Thursday, January 1, 2015 - 8:00pm



Chicago Dancemakers Forum

Chicago Dancemakers Forum announces call for proposals 

First-round application opens January 1
for the CDF Lab Artist granting program

Four artists will each receive $15,000 to support research, development and presentation of new work


CHICAGO — Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) is excited to announce its annual call for proposals for the 2015 Lab Artist Award Program. Four final recipients, to be announced in June 2015, will each receive a $15,000 cash award plus a full year of mentorship, artistic and professional development support toward new work in dance. Comprised of individuals and consortium representatives from leading cultural and educational organizations, CDF fosters dance excellence and innovation while building relationships among dance artists, presenters, audience and funders.

Over the past 11 years, the Lab Artist Award Program has supported 44 Chicago artists from a broad range of dance disciplines and practices, diverse in age, gender and race, whose work draws from tap, Bharatanatyam, dance cinema, vogue, contemporary, non-dance choreography, improvisation methodologies, modern dance techniques, house music culture and more. Alumni include Chicago Human Rhythm Project founder Lane Alexander, Lucky Plush Productions artistic director Julia Rhoads, Kevin Iega Jeff of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, and Hema Rajagopalan of Natya Dance Theatre. More than 80% of these alumni are still based primarily in Chicago, are active in the field, and many have garnered national and international audiences for their work.

Says 2005 CDF Lab Artist Julia Rhoads: “The most fulfilling outgrowth of my experience with CDF is that research and development practices were set in motion and they continue to inform my process of making work. I am also grateful to CDF for offering a platform where I could have a deep and detailed exchange with other choreographers and a consortium of colleagues who are active in the field.”

The 2015 Lab Artist application is available starting January 1, 2015 online at http://bit.ly/CDF2015Application

Key dates for the 2015 Lab Artist granting cycle are as follows:

• January 1: First-round application opens to submissions

• February 11: Due date for first-round applications

• February 23: CDF invites select candidates to submit second-round proposals

• April 1–14: Candidates meet with CDF Program Director

• May 8: Due date for second-round applications

• June 5: CDF announces four Lab Artist Awardees for 2015

• July: Lab Artist cash granting and supporting programs begin.

CDF selects Lab Artists based on their artistic vision and potential for creative growth. Strong candidates are active in their field and developing distinctive trajectories in their work. Lab Artists possess the skills and experience to undertake projects of extended scale, new discovery, or deeper exploration, and have the capacity to benefit from an environment of artistic interchange. They are able to articulate their needs, use independent research time, and make the most of the opportunities to work with the consortium members and other artists participating in the program.


About the Chicago Dancemakers Forum

In response to studies which clearly identified a need for multi-layered support for Chicago choreographers, a consortium of committed individuals founded the Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) in 2003. These included representatives from Chicago’s most innovative presenting and incubating dance institutions: the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, and Links Hall. The Chicago Community Trust, through its Dance Initiative led by Sarah Solotaroff Mirkin, provided critical funding for CDF’s first three years of operations; consortium members and their respective institutions have also supplied a variety of resources for CDF and its granted artists. In 2014, the consortium expanded to include leaders from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and a rotation of Lab Artist alumni.

CDF’s Lab Artist program makes $15,000 cash grants to selected, independent recipients. By combining these grants with mentorship throughout the research, development and performance of new work, the program builds a strong community of colleagues and peers for awardees. CDF emphasizes the creative process and encourages choreographers to delve deeply into their work. Throughout each granting cycle’s year of support, CDF Lab Artists participate in regular roundtable meetings designed to strengthen relationships with their peers and facilitate connections with leaders in the field.

A panel consisting of local and national dance professionals and prior recipients identifies four talented choreographers whose creative development is ascendant. Applicants must demonstrate a clear vision, a solid body of work, a compelling area of inquiry, and a firmly grounded work ethic. The selection process is rigorous, competitive and educational, beginning with an open call for proposals. After an initial selection process, the panel applies criteria such as innovation, knowledge of craft, depth of perception, and social relevance to a second review. All applicants receive critical feedback with finalists receiving one-to-one support in developing their full proposals; even those who are not selected describe the application process as a constructive professional-development opportunity.

Past evaluations of Lab Artists program show that the artists deeply value the financial awards, elongated time for artistic process, and the interaction that CDF offers. The experience of the Lab Artist year is highly validating. In addition, choreographers view the grants as essential ingredients in furthering their artistic development, as well as increasing prestige and visibility. In 2014 more than half of the forty applicants were new to the panelists, which indicates the increasing strength and diversity of the dance field in Chicago and the ongoing relevance of CDF as a support system. Visit chicagodancemakers.org to learn more.

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