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Release Date: June 30,2022

National Center for Choreography - Akron Receives $20,000 Grant from The National Endowment for the Arts for Summer/Fall 2022 Projects

AKRON, Ohio (June 27, 2022)— The National Center for Choreography - Akron (NCCAkron) has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in support of the recent Creative Administration Research National Summit Convening, a Technical Residency, and two Dancing Labs. NCCAkron joins 1,125 arts projects across America, totaling more than $26.6 million, that were selected during this second round of fiscal year 2022 funding. NCCAkron is one of three dance organizations in Ohio to receive funding in this round, and the only arts organization in Akron to do so.

“It is always an honor to receive NEA funding and recognition,” said NCCAkron’s Executive/Artistic Director Christy Bolingbroke. “Our programs arise from iterative conversations with artists across our field — a process that can take anywhere from 15-18 months. We celebrate receipt of critical support like this at a precipitous moment in the final stages of these projects coming home to Akron.”

The Creative Administration Research (CAR) Summit Convening welcomed 46 artists and thinkers from 16 states to Akron, Ohio from June 2-4, 2022 — what one attendee called “a rare and joyful event.” Participants shared and compared notes from their individual journeys through the work of administrative thinking; created new shared reference experiences to inform future work; and physically moved together, face-to-face and body-to-body, for the first time in two years. Recordings of panel conversations featuring arts leaders Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Washington, D.C.) and Elena Muslar (Ontario, CA) will be released later this year as bonus episodes of NCCAkron’s Inside the Dancer’s Studio podcast.

In July 2022, Stefanie Batten Bland (New York, NY) will visit Akron and reimagine her work “Embarqued: Stories of Soil” as a gallery installation at abolitionist John Brown’s former home, in partnership with the Summit County Historical Society of Akron, OH. This work is an oral, visual, and physical history of slave ships that pushes the boundaries of the African American dance-theatre genre. The installation will be open to the public from July 15-September 3, 2022.

Dancing Labs are one of NCCAkron’s flagship experiments, and bring together artists with shared creative questions who may never otherwise have the opportunity to engage with one another. They provide space to disrupt habits and traditional systems, and instead embrace rigorous play and positive failure. This grant will support Dancing Lab: Jazz Dance is…, with lead artist Melanie George (Philadelphia, PA) alongside other jazz choreographers, producers, and musicians. Inspired by the democratic nature of jazz music and honoring its uniquely Black American roots, the Lab seeks to widen the palate and visibility of jazz dance beyond the most immediate contemporary forms and venues.

The grant will also support Dancing Lab: Parenthood & Choreography, where lead artist Meg Foley (Philadelphia, PA) will invite parent-artists to focus on the distinctions and intersections between art practice and parenting practice. This is a follow-up to Meg's NCCAkron research residency with Michèle Steinwald this past spring, expanding her research for Blood Baby to cross-reference and compare to other artist-parent experiences.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including NCCAkron, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”