Annually, the National Performance Network directly awards more than $524,000 and leverages an additional $1.2 million in resources to support the commissioning, development and touring of new performance works across disciplines. Through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation the Creation Fund subsidy has risen to a minimum of $13,000 towards the creation process, and the artist/artist company is ensured a tour to at least two sites. Since 2011, these artists will also receive a Forth Fund award, which is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The staff is excited to announce the funding of the following projects during the FY16 cycle.

Link to the Project Profiles section, which contains stories on Creation Fund and other NPN-subsidized projects.

FY17 Creation Fund Awards

Artist: Anaya Dance Theatre – Minneapolis, MN
Title: Shymali: Sprouting Words
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburg, PA; Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA; Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahuli, HI; Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA; The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN
Description: Shyamali: Sprouting Words is an evening-length dance work created by Anaya Dance Theatre and inspired by the ways that women across the world repeatedly talk back and embody dissent against injustices, despite daunting consequences. Weaving movement with text, speech, breath and song, Shyamali will create a rich, multi-lingual performance celebrating the histories and stories of women’s courageous acts that may have slipped through the bonds of public memory. The metaphorically staged, juxtaposed stories in this work will be choreographed in the company’s unique vocabulary of contemporary Indian dance and will be produced through collaborations with several design artists. The creation of Shyamali will proceed through a community-engage process and will incorporate several strategies for audience engagement during the performance.
Creation Fund Award: $19,000

Artist: Autumn Knight – Houston, TX
Title: The Scandal of Enjoyment
Discipline: Multi-hybrid
Commissioners: DiverseWorks, Houston, TX; Women & Their Work, Austin, TX
Description: Interdisciplinary performance artist Autumn Knight will create her first large-scale performance titled The Scandal of Enjoyment. Knight employs visual mapping, character improvisation, loose scripting rehearsal methods, social engagement, audience interaction, and visual installations to create an intimate environment that reconsiders notions of the black female body. Her work deals with a broad range of subjects such as psychology, spirituality, ritual, and humor. Knight is interested in creating sensory and emotional experiences through a combination of images, movement, and language.
Creation Fund Award $13,000

Artists: Carlton Turner & Dipankar Mukherjee – Utica, MS and Minneapolis, MN
Title: River Sols
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: Pangea World Theater, Minneapolis, MN; Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA; Ignite/Arts, Dallas, TX
Description: River Sols will be a devised theater performance consisting of stories, movements, and songs that span two countries and flow down three great rivers, encompassing many people and cultures. Through this project, artists Dipankar Mukherjee and Carlton Turner weave stories of identity, faith, family, and the future of lands infused with the politics of colorization. The project will be directed by Meena Natarajan. River Sols examines race from the perspectives of African American and South Asian communities along the Mississippi River, from the Twin Cities to Utica, Mississippi; and from the United States to India and the global south. Turner, Mukherjee and Natarajan will visit each other’s communities in the U.S. conducting place-based artistic exploration; they will visit India to spend time exploring issues of displacement along the Indus and Ganges rivers. River Sols is a global project as much as a U.S.-based project that has race at its center.
Creation Fund Award: $17,000

Artist: Last Call – New Orleans, LA
Title: Alleged Lesbian Activities
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: The Theater Offensive, Boston, MA; Mondo Bizzaro, New Orleans, LA; Clear Creek Festival, Berea, KY
Description: ALLEGED LESBIAN ACTIVITIES is an immersive performance event staged in a smoky bar, a cabaret show run amok, a power-ballad performance of queer history. Merging the queer traditions of burlesque and drag kinging with contemporary dance and oral history interviews, ALLEGED LESBIAN ACTIVITIES looks closely at the vanishing legacy of lesbian spaces, and invites audiences into new ways of engaging with and complicating LGBTQ history.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

FY16 Creation Fund Awards

Artist: Bebe Miller — Columbus, OH
Title: The Making Room
Discipline: Multi-Hybrid
Commissioners: New York Live Arts, New York, NY; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; On the Boards, Seattle, WA
Description: The Making Room is an investigation into innovative ways of sharing the creative process from start to premiere. Organized by Bebe Miller Company, the project brings together master artists Bebe Miller and Susan Rethorst to generate a joined experience of the choreographic process, shared virtually and in person, over the course of one year. Miller and Rethorst will work with video artist Lily Skove, and digital consultants Scott deLahunta and Rachel Boggia, to design a documentation platform that will best convey the tone of their creative conversation. While each artist will be creating new work, the interactions between the artists in and outside of the studio, made available to virtual and live audiences, are the project’s focus.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Beth Gill — New York, NY
Title: Untitled new work
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: The Yard, Chilmark, MA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; American Dance Festival, Durham, NC
Description: A new evening length work for six performers created by choreographer Beth Gill with longtime collaborators Jon Moniaci (composer) and Thomas Dunn (visual and lighting design). The work is presented in conjunction with the gallery exhibition, “Merce Cunningham: Common Time,” which investigates Cunningham’s groundbreaking practice and multidisciplinary collaborations.
Creation Fund Award $15,000

Artist: Dan Froot — Los Angeles, CA
Title: Pang!
Discipline: Theater
Commissioners: Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids IA; Miami Light Project, Miami FL
Description: Pang! is triptych of short plays based on book-length oral histories of three families living with hunger in Miami, Cedar Rapids and Los Angeles. The plays will be written and performed as if for live radio broadcast, with musicians, actors and sound effects artists sharing the stage. Participating families include: a mother and her ten children living through foreclosure on the Los Angeles home that has been in their family for generations; an immigrant inventor in Iowa whose wife is catastrophically injured, forcing him to work 15-hour shifts at the refrigerator factory in order to support their school-age children; and two young parents trying to protect their children as they watch their seven year-old boy’s innocence encroached upon by their Miami neighborhood, which is beset by drugs, poverty and gun violence.
Creation Fund Award: $13,000

Artist: Graham Reynolds — Austin, TX
Title: Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance
Discipline: Multi-Hybrid
Commissioners: Fusebox Festival, Austin, TX; Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX
Description: Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance is the third piece in a triptych of West Texas portraits. The project is led by composer Graham Reynolds and features Mexico City-based theater collective Lagartijas Tiradas Al Sol as librettists; Shawn Sides of the Rude Mechs as director; Austin Lyric Opera tenor Paul Sanchez as Pancho Villa; and Grammy Award-winning producer Adrian Quesada on guitar. The opera is told from two perspectives. It opens with Pancho Villa’s assassination and then takes place in his mind in the milliseconds as he’s dying. Simultaneously, a woman on an American hotel rooftop observes the war taking place in Mexico right across the river through her opera glasses. Exploring facts from Villa’s biography while also examining the myths and lies, the opera will ask what the near-archetype that is VILLA means to Mexican culture, American culture, and where these meanings intersect and conflict.
Creation Fund Award: $13,000

Artist: Heather Kravas — Seattle, WA
Title: visons of beauty
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: On The Boards, Seattle, WA; PS122, New York, NY.
Description: visions of beauty is choreographer Heather Kravas’ newest evening-length contemporary dance performance. It examines the complexities around the practice of male conformity. Directly related to Kravas’ 2011 work, “The Green Surround”, visions of beauty reorders choreography from that piece on a cast of all male-identifying performers, asking whether we assign gender to material based on action or actors. As with much of Kravas’ work, the piece explores endurance and repetition, testing accepted dance aesthetics about boredom, static, din, and excess.
Creation Fund Award: $13,000

Artist: Jaime Fennelly / Mind Over Mirrors — Chicago, IL
Title: Bellowing Sun
Discipline: Music
Commissioners: Alverno Presents, Milwaukee, WI; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Description: Bellowing Sun is a 90-minute composition situated within a light installation that brings Jaime Fennelly’s (aka Mind Over Mirrors) solo practice for Indian pedal harmonium, Oberheim analog synthesizers, and effects processors to a full panoramic ensemble.
Creation Fund Award: $13,000

Artist: Junebug Productions —  New Orleans, LA
Title: GOMELA/to return: Movement of our Mother Tongue
Discipline: Theater
Commissioners: Carver Community Cultural Center, San Antonio, TX; Carpetbag Theater, Knoxville TN; Southern Methodist University, Dallas TX
Description: GOMELA/to return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue is an multidisciplinary production directed by Junebug Productions Executive Artistic Director Stephanie McKee featuring Sunni Patterson, Kumbuka African Drum and Dance Collective and other artists. Through theater, spoken word, music, traditional African dance and drumming and modern dance, it explores PLACES MATTERS—gentrification and the Right of Return of New Orleanians displaced after Katrina; and BLACK LIVES MATTERS—the beauty and resilience of Black people, past and present.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Karen Sherman — Minneapolis, MN
Title: Soft Goods
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; PS122, New York, NY; Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Description: Soft Goods by Minneapolis-based artist Karen Sherman is a new dance/performance work created in collaboration with an ensemble of stage technicians and dancers. It uses dance, manual labor, improvised text, the rituals of backstage life, and the choreography of production equipment to examine work, aliveness, death, disappearance, and occupational self-obliteration. Structured as a live load-in, tech, and rehearsal for a show that never happens, Soft Goods illustrates the lonesomeness of theaters, the spectral beauty of a lighting focus, the choreography of labor, and the human hand behind work. All crew, dancers, and company personnel appear in the performance.
Creation Fund Award: $18,000

Artist: Lakin Valdez — San Juan Bautista, CA
Title: Rabinal
Discipline: Multi-Hybrid
Commissioners: La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, CA; El Teatro Campensino, San Juan Bautista, CA
Description: The multi-disciplinary, ensemble-based theatrical production Rabinal will retell the pre-Columbian Mayan ritualistic dance-drama Rabinal Achí, which centers on the trial of Quiché Achi, prince of the Quiché Mayan kingdom, who has been accused of kidnapping royal children from the rival Rabinaleb’ kingdom. Lakin Valdez and Andrew Saito’s retelling will dramatize the events leading up to the trial, referred to as backstory in the original work, with a particular focus on developing the silent women characters in the original work. Rabinal will be a site-specific performance ritual that fuses ancient Mayan aesthetics with contemporary music and dance that reflects the United States’ “pluriculturality,” with the goal of introducing 21st century audiences to this ancestral work. Given such hostility to Latin American immigrants in the U.S. today, one key goal will be to honor the ancestors and culture of people that many Americans openly denigrate.
Creation Fund Award: $13,000

Artist: Michelle Ellsworth — Boulder, CO
Title: The Rehearsal Artist
Discipline: Multi-Hybrid
Commissioners: PS122, New York, NY; Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Annandale–on-Hudson, NY; Women & Their Work, Austin, TX; On the Boards, Seattle, WA; University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Description: The Rehearsal Artist looks at a middle-aged, skinny, white woman’s body and explores how its meaning and function shifts as it collides with other bodies in the context of a reoccurring rehearsal/experiment with a perpetually changing cast. Behind a one-way glass surveillance door, Ellsworth and a cast of at least 21 artists will respond to choreographic prompts derived from the canon of social science experiments. The surveillance door functions as a rehearsal mirror as well as insulation, keeping participants oblivious to the audience’s existence. A small audience will observe the shifting duets. In addition to peering through the glass, the audience will view video recordings of previous subjects (responding to identical stimuli) on lightweight monitors sewn into the back of vests that all audience members wear throughout the experiment. The audience is simultaneously a voyeur and utterly incapable of watching their own back.
Creation Fund Award: $19,000

Artist: Mondo Bizzaro — New Orleans, LA
Title: Fieldguiding (working title)
Discipline: Multi-Hybrid
Commissioners: Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA; 7 Stages, Atlanta, GA; Clear Creek Festival, Berea, KY; Double Edge Theater, Ashfield, MA
Description: Fieldguiding is a story-mapping project and live performance that explores A) the role cartography has played in colonization, and what that means when every inch of the planet is mapped; and B) the uncharted, in-between space at the end of life and before death. The crucial transitional period between life and death has a great deal to teach about entering into relationships with the unknown. The project began with themes — migration, colonization, disorientation and mapping — encountered in two books: Rebecca Solnit’s A Fieldguide to Getting Lost and John Berger’s And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos. The performance — in very early development — currently features two old men summoned into the woods at sundown to officiate a stranger’s funeral, Conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, and a young punk-rock hacker who builds viruses that disable the mapping functions on smartphones.
Creation Fund Award: $17,000

Artist: Rennie Harris Puremovement — Sharon Hill, PA
Title: Lifted
Discipline: Multi-Hybrid
Commissioners: Dance Place, Washington, DC; Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; South Dallas Cultural Center, Dallas, TX
Description: Lifted is a new hip-hop dance theater production by Rennie Harris Puremovement that features gospel music and House dance to explore contemporary issues of community and spirituality. Loosely based on the story of Oliver Twist, Lifted follows a young black man who is surrounded and supported by his church community. With choreography by Rennie Harris and music directed by Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, Lifted merges the rhythms of House with the spiritual vocals of gospel to create an epic dance narrative.
Creation Fund Award: $17,000

Artist: Sandglass Theater — Putney, VT
Title: Babylon
Discipline: Puppetry
Commissioners: Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT; Columbia College Chicago, Center for Community Arts Partnerships, Chicago, IL; Portland Ovations, Portland, ME; University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, CT
Description: Babylon tells the story of five characters searching for refuge. The piece will take stories from the actual refugee experiences and create a song from these stories. With these songs as a framework, five characters played by puppets (including one ghost and one caterpillar!) will present their cases to an immigration court. The stories are further contextualized by three “crankies,” panoramic paper scrolls that give a sense of the journeys taken by the characters.
Creation Fund Award: $17,000

Artist: Anthony J. Garcia — Denver, CO
Title: Ask a Mexican
Discipline: Theater
Commissioners: MACLA, San Jose, CA; Su Teatro, Denver, CO; CSU Pueblo, Pueblo, CO; San Juan College, Farmington, NM; Aurora College, Lawrenceville, GA
Description: Playwright Anthony J. Garcia will collaborate with self-described “wacky” Ask a Mexican columnist, writer and all-around creative Gustavo Arellano to create a tongue-in-cheek new play that examines politics, border crossing and the weird ways that Gringos perceive Mexicans, heavy on the satire and humor, of course.
Creation Fund Award: $19,000

Artist: Takahiro Yamamoto — Portland, OR
Title: Direct Path to Detour
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: PICA, Portland, OR; DiverseWorks, Houston, TX; Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH
Description: Direct Path to Detour is a new, collaborative dance piece by Portland-based Japanese choreographer Takahiro Yamamoto that investigates the physical and emotional effects of multiple sets of social values and expectations in contemporary globalized society, from the perspective of Yamamoto’s experience as a Japanese immigrant to the U.S. The work will be developed with collaborators Sidony O’Neal (PDX) Lucy Yim (PDX) Jesse Mejia (PDX) Marina Fukushima (SF) and Julian Barnett (NYC).
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Thaddeus Phillips — Philadelphia, PA
Title: The Archivist
Discipline: Theater
Commissioners: Miami Light Project, Miami, FL; Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburg, PA
Description: The Archivist is a new installation/performance project for the theater by Thaddeus Phillips and Tatiana Mallarino created in collaboration with performer Ean Sheehy and DJ Mario Cotto. Set in a secret film archive, the archivist, seemingly alone, works in a Beckettesque world of thousands’s of film reels that he has personally saved from destruction after the reels were digitized. The archivist believes that tangible film reels are more secure than intangible digital files. Obsessed with the past and the skewed history of images stored on cellulose, The Archivist is a work about Cinema and its profound impact on human storytelling, behavior and history. While primarily a solo performance featuring remixes of famous and obscure film scores and action sequences and choreography spliced from classic films, the final sequence will feature two to three performers as ‘parallel universe archivists’ to be cast from local communities at tour sites.
Creation Fund Award: $13,000

Artist: Walkabout Theater Company — Chicago, IL
Title: The Cure
Discipline: Theater
Commissioners: Links Hall, Chicago, IL; Cricoteka, Krakow, Poland; Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago, IL
Description: Walkabout’s next ensemble-authored work, The Cure, is a study of grief, the fatigue of hope and the innate human desire for immortality and belonging. Set in a decaying and magical greenhouse populated with snake-oil salesmen and angels on the day death ceases to exist, The Cure combines intense individual performance with found and original texts, rituals, and funerary rites inspired by immediate and distant sources. As a company living in a city plagued by division and violence, the Walkabout ensemble is specifically interested in boundaries in space and between people, and investigating the binary of inside/outside. Using Walkabout’s process of devising theatrical texts and performances alongside the sculptural and scenic elements of the show, The Cure harnesses the idea of a greenhouse, built with glass walls and sheltering fragile life from outside forces, as an anchoring setting for the piece and metaphorical launching point.
Creation Fund Award: $17,000

FY15 Creation Fund Awards

Artist: Adele Myers  and Dancers – Hamden, CT
Title: “The Dancing Room”
Discipline: Multi-Hybrid
Commissioners: Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington VT; Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield, CT; The Yard, Chilmark, MA.
Description: Conceived by choreographer and director, Adele Myers, “The Dancing Room” is being created in collaboration with Adele Myers and Dancers; interactive media artist, John Slepian and composer, Josh Quillen. Additional collaborators include visual and lighting design by Kathy Couch and costume design by Heidi Henderson. The evening-length female quartet will be created as a site-adaptable self-sustaining production suitable for spaces ranging from intimate art galleries to traditional proscenium theaters and black box performance spaces. The conceptual points of departure for “The Dancing Room” are illumination and accumulation.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Blair Thomas & Company – Chicago, IL
Title: Moby-Dick
Discipline:  Puppetry
Commissioners: MCA Chicago, Chicago IL; Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA; College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN
Description: Blair Thomas & Co. is creating a feature-length puppet theater inspired by the novel Moby Dick. The production stages the potent symbolism of Herman Melville’s text using shadow and bunraku puppets in a sparse environment made of paper. An ensemble of five puppeteers and two actors joins a live band of three, including three collaborators with whom Blair Thomas shares a long creative history: singer-songwriter Michael Smith, improvising percussionist Michael Zerang, and puppet designer Jesse Mooney-Bullock.
Creation Fund Award: $21,000

Artist: Body Cartography Project – Minneapolis, MN
Title: “Closer”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Legion Arts, Cedar Rapid IA; Dance Place, Washington DC; Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, City of Chicago, Chicago IL.
Description: “Closer” is a practice in being present. It is a performance intervention for two strangers (audience and performer) in public space that evolves into a communal experience. It is an invitation for engagement and empathy. Together we will examine how the space of connection between performer and audience can function as a site for transformation. closer lays bare the power of live performance to facilitate a re-enchantment of physicality and presence. The project unfolds in two parts. Part 1 is a series of one-on-one performances and conversations that reflect on movement, behavior, and transformation. Part 2 is an evening-length performance that engages performers and audience in a practice of intentional aliveness and will take place in a theater, gym or community hall.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Circuit Network – San Francisco, CA
Title: ’57 Chevy
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: MACLA, San Jose CA; Brava Theater Center, San Francisco CA; MECA, Houston TX.
Description: ’57 Chevy is a new solo performance piece for Ricardo Salinas of the critically acclaimed Culture Clash, to be based on an in-progress script written by Cris Franco, a popular stand-up comedian and award-winning television writer and playwright. Characterized by the playwright as “truly a Mexican-American ‘The Wonder Years,’” ’57 CHEVY is the autobiographical story of a young man’s journey in the back seat of his father’s baby blue 1957 Chevy—traversing both physical and cultural borders, beginning from Mexico City to the United States and later from culturally diverse South Central Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley. The family finds itself having to navigate and confront the challenges of being the only Mexican family in a predominantly Anglo community during the 1960s. Layered with comedy, history, heart and drama, ’57 CHEVY will present a series of fanciful anecdotes as recalled by playwright Cris Franco’s inner ten year-old Mexican-American child.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble – Denver, CO
Title: “Bamboula”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: King Arts Complex, Columbus OH; Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburg PA; Dance Place, Washington DC.
Description: “Bamboula” is a collaborative project that emerged out of the research excavation on the connections between the Zulu Krewe, blackface minstrel parade in New Orleans, and the Minstrel Carnival in Cape Town, South Africa. This interdisciplinary piece is choreographed on the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble by Millicent Johnnie and set to two different musical compositions by Felipe Hall and Donald Harrison respectively.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Kristen Adele Calhoun, Kate Feerick, Michael Thomas Walker – New York, NY
Title: Canfield Drive
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: 651 Arts, Brooklyn NY; St Louis Black Repertory Theater, St Louis MO
Description: If “riot is the language of the unheard,” we aim to understand the killing of Michael Brown, the Ferguson riots and subsequent #blacklivesmatter movement by hearing the unheard voice. Canfield Drive is a play that investigates being black in Ferguson and the systems of oppression that affect the lives of Ferguson’s residents.
Creation Fund Award: $13,000

Artist: Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) – Los Angeles , CA
Title: What Fuels Development
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia PA; Pangea World Theater, Minneapolis, MN; The Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena CA
Description: What Fuels Development? is a devised theatre piece exploring the mechanics of displacement in an age of immense income inequality. Inspired by and focusing on specific incidents in Los Angeles’ Skid Row neighborhood, the performance seeks to parse out complex civic issues regarding contested space and competing definitions of “community vitality” that resonates with people in neighborhoods everywhere. Incorporating a rich layering of lived experiences, found text, and collaborative reflection, the performance will be dynamically staged and utilize LAPD’s Skid Row Museum/archive. A series of activities including public conversations and gallery shows with historical material, examining successful community resistance strategies developed in LA and elsewhere, will be presented to the public during the development of the performance and used as research for the performance.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Martha Redbone – Brooklyn, NY
Title: Bone Hill
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: Miami Light Project, Miami FL; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco CA; PA’I Foundation, Honolulu HI
Description: Bone Hill is a new musical theatre work that explores Martha Redbone’s Appalachian mining family’s heritage and history in an epic piece that spans generations and a breadth of music genres. Bone Hill draws from Redbone’s Native American and African American roots to tell an unexpected family story that re-writes America through breathtaking music, humor, and layers of dramatic revelation. The new piece features original music by Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby, and co-written and directed by Roberta Uno.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Meg Wolfe with taisha paggett, Marbles Rae Shao-Lan, and Maria de Los Angeles Cuca Esteves – Los Angeles, CA
Title: “New Faithful Disco”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: REDCAT, Los Angeles CA; PICA, Portland OR; DiverseWorks, Houston TX, Z Space, San Francisco CA
Description: “New Faithful Disco (NFD)” is an out queer love power trio – a choreographic attempt at manifesting loving interrelationship, respect, encouragement and negotiation, in all its awkwardness and contradictions. The new dance is choreographed by Meg Wolfe, with fellow dancers taisha paggett and Marbles Rae Shao-Lan, to a powerful sound score by Maria de los Angeles Cuca Esteves. NFD is an invocation that conjures the energy of social dance forms, within the structure of a performance work. This is a dance for soul retrieval. There is no direct narrative. NFD is experiential, sensational, energy moving work. A trio of performers dance in a valiant effort to shift the balance from fear to love, take back our power, and serve it up, together. Designed for easy touring, the new piece is being developed through a series of residencies and in-progress showings along the West Coast: Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland.
Creation Fund Award: $17,000

Artist: Morgan Thorson – Minneapolis, MN
Title: “Still Life”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: PS122, New York NY; Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis MN, American Dance Institute, Rockville MD
Description: “Still Life” (SL) uses extinction as source material for a dance installation. Taking this subject from a scientific reality, collapsing what is real and imagined, SL advances new methods for creation, display and performance. The dancer, a-body-in-life, will practice/perform with totality, living a small death when drafting ideas of subtraction, inertia, stillness and the loss of verticality. The choreography, a dance/time cycle, erases material each time it is repeated. A sonic clock, layers original and found sounds to guide and envelop the dance. Other research includes museum visits to view dioramas, where extinct animal specimens perform their life in fake habitats. Inspired by these peculiar settings, SL merges the designs of natural history and theatrical dioramas, as a set structure to frame the dance for the viewers. With new practices and forms, SL processes the violence of the present moment and proposes embodied public mourning through live dance performance.
Creation Fund Award: $17,000

Artist: Nora Chipaumire – Brooklyn, NY
Title: “Portrait of Myself as my Father”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: MDC Live Arts – Miami Dade College, Miami Light Project, Inc., Georgia Institute of Technology – Office of the Arts, 651 Arts, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago
Description: “Portrait of Myself as my Father” celebrates and critiques masculinity (its presence, presentation, and representation) as dancer-choreographer Nora Chipaumire continues her investigations focused on the black body, on Africa, and on the self. Performed by Nora Chipaumire and Senegalese dancer Ibrahima Ndiaye (aka “Kaolack”), “Portrait of Myself as my Father” considers the African male through the lens of cultural traditions, colonialism, Christianity, and liberation struggles, constructing and deconstructing black African masculinity. Placed in a boxing ring, an arena that suggests strength, courage and violence, the “players” find themselves as commodity, product and process. The value of black masculinity, being weighed and evaluated, perishes under scrutiny.
Creation Fund Award: $19,000

Artist: Paper Doll Militia – Jupiter, FL
Title: “Warped”
Discipline: Other
Commissioners: 7 Stages, Circus Conservatory of America, Dogtown Dance Company, Dance Mission, Fife Cultural Trust Ltd / Adam Smith Theatre
Description: As the storytelling is extremely essential to the core of our company, we would like to collaborate with a professional dramaturg to help us weave the narrative of the show in a clever and poignant way. This dramaturg would also be involved in the development period with investigative writing workshops and assignments given to members of the local community, to help us to understand people’s perceptions around the theme of time. As a part of this community-based research period, we also plan on launching an extensive social media campaign to get a larger number of people (from all over the world) involved. These methods are in line with our overall goal of the development of a thesis statement for the piece. As artists, we are interested in surpassing thematic work, and deepening the development of the concepts to create work that has universal meaning, which is accessible for a wide scope of audiences. Another one of our artistic goals is to explore how a kinetic set can change the dimensions of the play space, which in turn changes the environment, the characters’ experiences, and narrative. Warped is an inquiry of movement as change, and change being the quintessential element in the concept of Time. In the characters’ ever changing world, each action creates a reaction. We have an artistic goal of researching weight sharing in aerial acrobatics. Specifically how the ensemble can work with counter-weighting methods for developing connected physical relationships in the same way gears and levers relate to one another. Additionally, we are interested in working with light and shadow and playing with a sense of day versus night. Through working with light and shadow mediums we aim to discover how different times of day play with our sense of perception and understanding of time. We will be working from many inspirations of stories and archetypal characters centered around time, including mythology, literature, fairy tales and films.
Creation Fund Award: $19,000

Artist: Pat Graney – Seattle, WA
Title: “Girl gods”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: On the Boards, Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, Miami Light Project
Description: Girl Gods explores the ancestry of women, family history and rage. The performance space is layered with dirt, tapping into the force of molten rage with a physical language that gives expression to the undomesticated, the buried and the repressed. The movement in “Girl gods” is explosive and ritualistic, contrasting the simplicity and beauty of domesticated activities. Inside carved-out walls of earth with small, embedded video and family trees, the movement material is large, wild and arrhythmic. Individual ancestor histories are represented through abstracted visual genealogies embedded within the dirt and amplified through projection and small monitors—as if the veins of the body are traced in soil and the histories are carved out of the dirt’s surface.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Pavel Zuštiak and Palissimo Company – New York, NY
Title: “Custodians of Beauty”
Discipline: Multi-hybrid
Commissioners: New York Live Arts, Walker Arts Center, Legion Arts
Description: CUSTODIANS OF BEAUTY is a two-part performance at the intersection of dance, live music and visual arts, building on the collaborative history of multidisciplinary experimentation between Pavel Zuštiak (choreographer/director), Christian Frederickson (composer/musician) and Joe Levasseur (light design). Part stage work and part live performance installation, CUSTODIANS aspires to stimulate Susan Sontag’s conception of a totalizing experience of beauty, or a “gladness to the senses,” while exploding traditional performance disciplines to engage current issues of beauty, censorship and propaganda.
Creation Fund Award: $18,000

Artist: Rosy Simas – Minneapolis, MN
Title: “Skin(s)”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Intermedia Arts, La Peña Cultural Center, Eastside Arts Alliance, Rosy Simas Danse
Description: “Skin(s)” is a project by Native contemporary dance choreographer Rosy Simas that explores personal, cultural, and political issues in the everyday lives of urban Native people. In collaboration with Native organizations, community arts organizations, dance presenters, and dancers, Simas will bridge contemporary dance, and three Native urban communities (Minneapolis, the Bay Area, and Chicago).
Creation Fund Award: $17,000

Artist: taisha pagett – Van Nuys, CA
Title: “We Are The Paper We Are The Trees”
Discipline: Multi-hybrid
Commissioners: DiverseWorks, LACE
Description: “We Are the Paper, We Are the Trees” brings together three remarkable artistic voices in a powerful and driven cross-disciplinary project with deeply influential and transformative potential. The project expands paggett’s inquiry into the body, questions of agency, and the phenomenology of race at a key moment in the development of her practice, and emerging national visibility. Cauleen Smith will tap into her great strengths in creating experimental film works that address African American identity. The project also furthers McMillian’s visual art practice of found-object sculpture, research-based works; and site-specific installation through a decisively political lens in this new collaboration. The project aims to distill an installation of sculpture, video and movement that responds and to make sense of the often-disjointed relationship of the Black body to place and nature. Presented as envisioned, the project will provide audiences with a deeply moving physical, emotional, and personal experience that will rupture familiar patterns and present new possibilities for connectivity and belonging in place.
Creation Fund Award: $13,000

Artist: Tlaloc Rivas – Iowa City, IA
Title: A Crusade for Justice
Discipline: Multi-hybrid
Commissioners: Su Teatro Inc.,  Cara Mia Theater, Borderlands Theatre
Description: Su Teatro and Teatro Cara Mia in Dallas will collaborate with noted playwright/director Tlaloc Rivas on the creation of a work based on the life of poet/boxer/civil rights icon Rodolfo Corky Gonzales. Gonzalez founded the Denver-based activist group the Crusade for Justice, and was also a former 3rd-ranked fly weight boxer whose greatest contribution to social justice may have been his poem, “ I am Joaquin,” which re-expressed Chicano historical presence in the Southwest and challenged the hegemonic interpretation of Western expansion. More so for Mexican Americans interested in social justice and equality, the poem and Corky’s charismatic persona offered an identity of resistance, pride and cultural awareness. Tlaloc Rivas will explore the role of Gonzales as an influence on future Latino generations.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Vincent Thomas – Baltimore, MD
Title: “What’s Going On?”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Dance Place, Reston Center Stage, King Arts Complex
Description: “What’s Going On?” will explore social justice through the music of Marvin Gaye with choreography by a variety of accomplished Washington, DC-based choreographers. The choreography will represent a diversity of dance genres including: contemporary, African, jazz, hip hop, tap and social dance.
Creation Fund Award: $15,000

Artist: Wura-Natasha Ogunji – Austin, TX
Title: “House of Wahala”
Discipline: Performance Art
Commissioners: Women & Their Work, DiverseWorks
Description: Performance artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji will create a series of performances entitled “House of Wahala” that re-invent the art auction by inserting the artist as auctioneer. Working in collaboration with sound artist Emeka Ogboh and performers from local communities, Ogunji will devise a performance piece that activates interaction between people of diverse beliefs, experiences, backgrounds and identities. Ogunji believes that sites of conflict can become spaces of powerful connection and that artists are critical to these exchanges. “House of Wahala” riffs off of the traditional art selling event to create a dynamic performance infused with spectacle, humor, political debate, compassion and fun.
Creation Fund Award: $13,000

Artist: zoe | juniper – Seattle, WA
Title: “Clear & Sweet”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), Bates Dance Festival, Carolina Performing Arts University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, New York Live Arts, On the Boards
Description: “Clear & Sweet” (C&S), a multi-disciplinary performance incorporating dance, vocals, and visuals, represents an inquiry into Southern Baptist Sacred Harp Singing (SHS) and choreographer Zoe Scofield’s complicated connection to her southern roots. Long-time collaborators, Scofield and Juniper Shuey will work with composer/sound designer Julian Martlew, lighting designer Amiya Brown and local SHS communities in each tour location. The piece will be performed by dancers hand-picked for this highly physical investigation into the peeling back of formal technique. Using the format of SHS as a starting point, they will integrate singers throughout the audience creating an immersive experiential environment. SHS is a form of spiritual a cappella choral singing founded in Southern Baptist churches, but most often practiced in large non-denominational groups. SHS and zoe | juniper’s work will strive to grow a collective force, creating personal relationships to worship in the company of others, and redemption through physical exertion.
Creation Fund Award: $22,500

Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Ford Foundation, as well as the co-commissioners and the artists who create the new work.

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation  fordlogo

FY14 Creation Fund Awards

Artist: ArtSpot Productions — New Orleans, LA
Title: Sea of Common Catastrophe
Discipline: Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: 7 Stages, Atlanta, GA; JEMAGWGA, Charleston, SC
Description: ArtSpot Productions, working with video artist Courtney Egan and choreographer Jeffrey Gunshol, will create “The Sea Of Common Catastrophe,” a new multidisciplinary performance inspired by a passage from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novella “The Sea of Lost Time” and informed by stories from cities that face the pressures of dynamic urban change.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Ntozake Shange — Brooklyn, NY
Title: Lost in Language and Sound
Discipline: Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: 651 Arts, Brooklyn, NY; Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh, PA
Description: “Lost in Language and Sound” is a multidisciplinary choreo-essay, comprised of nine vignettes, that uses music, dance and spoken word to chronicle the arc of a woman’s journey with her writing.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Sean Dorsey Dance — San Francisco, CA
Title: The Missing Generation
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME; Queer Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA; Dance Place, Washington, DC; 7 Stages, Atlanta, GA; The Theater Offensive, Boston, MA
Description: “The Missing Generation” will investigate the contemporary impact of the loss of so much of an entire generation of transgender and queer people to AIDS during the 1980s. Dorsey will create the production through a two-year LGBT Inter-Generational Oral History Project, extensive archival research, and community engagement residencies in cities across the U.S.
NPN Subsidy: $16,000

Artist: Everett — Providence, RI
Title: Freedom Project
Discipline: Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: Contemporary Dance Theater, Cincinnati, OH; The Yard, Chilmark, MA; Brown University, Providence, RI
Description: Everett will conduct a multi-year exploration of the ways that performance can help build a movement to end mass incarceration in America. This work will culminate in Freedom Project a touring theatrical production.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company — Washington, DC
Title: Persistent Voices
Discipline: Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: Dance Place, Washington, DC; Kala Vandanam Dance Company, Saint Paul, MN
Description: “Persistent Voices” is a multimedia dance theater work that uses dance, spoken word and video projections to bear witness to the ravages of the AIDS epidemic. Bearing witness to the first round of the epidemic is crucial to make sense of the current rising trends in risky sexual behavior and corresponding rise in HIV infections—we hope the project encourages reflection and care for the body.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Kristina Wong — Los Angeles, CA
Title: The Wong Street Journal
Discipline: Theater
Commissioners: Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT; Miami Light Project, Miami, FL; REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA; Circuit Network, San Francisco, CA
Description: “The Wong Street Journal” is a new solo theater work, written and performed by Kristina Wong, that will premiere in 2015. Half psychedelic TED lecture, half amateur hip hop extravaganza and half bullshit. “The Wong Street Journal” breaks down the complexities of global poverty and economic theory using uneasy-to-read charts, never-before-proven economic strategies for survival, and riveting slideshows of hustlers from the first and third worlds. In her research, Wong will be working directly with a range of entities, from a microloan organization in Northern Uganda to a homeless shelter on Skid Row. She’ll detail the intersecting politics of charity and economic development around the globe.
NPN Subsidy: $14,000

Artist: Shá Cage — Minneapolis, MN
Title: U.G.L.Y.
Discipline: Theater
Commissioners: Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN; Historic Holmes Theater, Detroit Lakes, MN; Congo Square, Chicago, IL; Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN
Description: U.G.L.Y is a one-woman tour de force that seeks to challenge stereotypes of beauty by confronting popular myths and ideologies. It is a humorous and provocative integration of drama, clown, spoken word and global cases to examine identity. Shá Cage seamlessly inhibits over six characters to tell a personal and universal story.
NPN Subsidy: $14,000

Artist: Maria de la Rosa — San Jose, CA
Title: Fandango Urbano
Discipline: Music
Commissioners: La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, CA; La Peña Cultural Center, Austin, TX
Description: Recognizing that son jarocho is a 300-year old lyrical genre of music and dance rooted in specific communities of southern Veracruz, Mexico, “Fandango Urbano” seeks to explore and expand the growing interest that this tradition has today in the Bay Area and to uncover the creative cultural translations between Veracruz and the Bay that are enlarging and enriching the common values held amongst those who participate in the emerging global sonero community.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Hedwig Dances — Chicago, IL
Title: Trade Winds
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Links Hall, Chicago, IL; DanzAbierta, Havana, Cuba; COCA, St. Louis, MO; Kate Corby and Dancers, Madison, WI
Description: “Trade Winds” builds on a collaboration begun in 2012 between Hedwig Dances (Chicago) and DanzAbierta (Havana). The two companies are each creating a new work that will artistically stand on its own but will intersect when they come together on stage.
NPN Subsidy: $14,000

Artist: Christopher K. Morgan & Artists — Rockville, MD
Title: Pohaku
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI; Dance Place, Washington, DC
Description: Pohaku (the Hawaiian word for stone) is a dance theater piece inspired by Morgan’s exposure to the work of his late cousin, hula master John Kaimikaua, and Morgan’s own multi-racial Hawaiian/Asian/Caucasian identity. The work will incorporate Hawaiian chant, hula, contemporary dance, theater and storytelling to explore universal themes that are compelling in the story of Hawaii’s native people, including land loss and fractured identity.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: The Seldoms — Chicago, IL
Title: Power Goes
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: MCA Chicago, Chicago, IL; Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL
Description: “Power Goes” is a multidisciplinary work that considers political power as determined and expressed by personality, physicality and performance, and draws upon the historical figure of Lyndon Baines Johnson to confront our political context of gridlock and incompetence. Directed and conceived by choreographer Carrie Hanson and playwright Stuart Flack, the work will be developed with The Seldoms contemporary dance ensemble, visual artist Sarah Krepp, typographer Bob Faust, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, and historian Michael J. Kramer.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Rosie Herrera — Miami, FL
Title: Cookie’s Kid
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Miami Light Project, Miami, FL; Dance Place, Washington, DC; Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI
Description: “Cookie’s Kid” is a solo dance work choreographed and performed by Rosie Herrera. The project explores what is inherited muscle memory. Based on Herrera’s experience growing up with a tough Bronx mother and a counter revolutionary Cuban refugee father, she delves into the exploration of ecstatic to discover what information her body holds about her cultural difference.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Joshua Walters — Oakland, CA
Title: UNPLUG!
Discipline: Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: Myrna Loy Center, Helena, MT; La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, CA
Description: With the rate of technological advance, the world is becoming a faster, a more connected, and a more chaotic place. We are at a pinnacle moment in human history in which we can know everything and have our voices felt everywhere, but at what cost? What if everyone in the world stopped using technology for one day? To feel the effect on our minds, emotions, and connection to the divine: UNPLUG!
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Cynthia Oliver — Urbana-Champaign, IL
Title: BOOM!
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: New York Live Arts, New York, NY; Dance Place, Washington, DC; Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
Description: BOOM!, a new duet by Cynthia Oliver features Oliver and Leslie Cuyjet as individuals, friends, strangers, family, younger/older versions of themselves, negotiating relations that are persistently in flux. Building upon a non-linear sequence of narratives around a life and a relationship – of a woman to herself, her history, her present and future, BOOM! is a choreography of shifting realities – a looping, fractured unfolding, examining notions of destiny, when LIFE happens, when “fairness” and cause and effect do not necessarily align.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Amy O’Neal — Seattle, WA
Title: Opposing Forces
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: On The Boards, Seattle, WA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR
Description: An evening length dance performance with a cast of B-boys around questions and perceptions of femininity and its impact on male behavior.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Samita Sinha — New York, NY
Title: CIPHER
Discipline: Vocal Theater
Commissioners: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; Atlas Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC; Center for the Arts @ Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA; REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH
Description: CIPHER is a theatricalized music work for solo live voice and electronics composed and performed by Samita Sinha in an interactive landscape of darkness and light designed by Christopher Kuhl. In CIPHER, mythological characters from the margins of the Hindu/Buddhist pantheon lead a journey of exploration through both the loss and creative potential of moments of rupture, deploying light and the body, sound and silence, to rewrite notions of power. CIPHER is new form of vocal theater that ranges from classical Indian music to ritual songs to electronic music; one that is simultaneously abstract and direct, composed and improvised, ancient and innovative.
NPN Subsidy: $14,000

Artist: Lars Jan / Early Morning Opera — Los Angeles, CA
Title: The Institute of Memory (TIMe)
Discipline: Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA; Portland Institute for the Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MA; The Adam Mickiewicz, Poland
Description: Early Morning Opera, a performance company directed by Lars Jan, will devise a new multimedia theatre work, The Institute of Memory (TIMe), that traces the transformation of archives from physical to digital structures and the corresponding evolution of national and personal remembering and privacy. TIMe features two performers, real-time 3D laser scans, a single projection screen, original musical compositions, a minimalist LED-lined set structure, and a collage of found and original text.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Bridgman|Packer Dance — New York, NY
Title: “Remembering What Never Happened”
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: The Yard, Chilmark, MA; Silvermine Arts Center, New Canaan, CT; Stonington Opera House, Stonington, ME
Description: Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer of Bridgman|Packer Dance will expand their integration of live performance and video technology in their new work, “Remembering What Never Happened.” They will delve into the changeable nature of experience, form, gender, perception, and identity through interaction with video projections of the performers’ images that morph and melt into a mixture of digital re-interpretations of the human body, with the intent of revealing a malleable portrayal of self.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Chris Schlichting — Minneapolis, MN
Title: Stripe Tease
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; American Dance Institute, Rockville, MD; Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids, IA
Description: Minneapolis-based interdisciplinary dance-theater creator Chris Schlichting will create an ambitious new work in collaboration with avant-rock composer Jeremy Ylvisaker and visual/installation artist Jennifer Davis that will premiere at the Walker Art Center and be adapted for performances in Rockville, MD; Cedar Rapids, IA; and New York City, NY.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: The Hinterlands — Detroit, MI
Title: The Radicalization Process
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids, IA; Alverno Presents, Milwaukee, WI; Power House Productions, Detroit, MI
Description: The Radicalization Process is a two-part theatrical performance exploring radical art, politics, and extremist beliefs in American culture. Structured as two companion pieces performed in two widely divergent aesthetic forms — ‘method’ based realism as it existed in the 1930’s and the avant-garde happenings of the 1960’s and 70’s — The Hinterlands will use The Radicalization Process to examine the paths that leads towards radical action and disruption of social norms.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000


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FY13 Creation Fund Awards

Artist: Ain Gordon – Pick Up Performance Co. (New York, NY)
Title: Not What Happened
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Vermont Performance Lab, Juniata Presents
Description: Not What Happened invokes a duet of nearly invisible women offering presenters deep relevance to our rural and semi-urban American landscapes and a vital opportunity to engage our communities at the intersection of performance, history and community identity.
NPN Subsidy:
$12,000

Artist: Aion Productions (Durham, NC)
Title: The Clothesline Muse
Discipline: Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: Painted Bride Art Center, St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation
Description: The Clothesline Muse is a multidisciplinary theater project that explores the clothesline as a metaphor of our community lifeline and its ties to our environment. The performance will include dance, live music, spoken word, interview text, video and interactive art, six dancers, a percussionist, and singer Nnenna Freelon as “The Muse.” We will honor our ancestors by transforming the task of washing clothes by hand into beautiful imagery, dance and song.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Charlotte Brathwaite and Jennifer Newman (New York, NY)
Title: The Geneva Project
Discipline:
Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: 651 Arts, Yale University
Description: The Geneva Project is an interdisciplinary dance work exploring history, blood memory and traces of an ancestral past. In the piece, visual imagery, language and sound are collaged with the corporeal, creating conduits for connecting the past to a contemporary reality.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Dahlak Brathwaite (Elk Grove, CA)
Title: spiritrials
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: Youth Speaks, Hip Hop Theater Festival, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Legion Arts
Description: Written by one of the most dynamic emerging artists of our times Dahlak Brathwaite, and directed by Duke Artist Fellow Marc Bamuthi Joseph, spiritrials is a dramatic reenactment of one boy’s profound journey through the criminal justice system. Through spoken word, live music-production, and character monologues, the play will premier in early 2014, followed by a national tour.
NPN Subsidy: $16,000

Artist: Gary Kubota (Wailuku, HI)
Title: Legend of Ko’olau
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Waimea Historic Theater
Description: Legend of Ko`olau is a two-act historical drama that describes the life of Ko`olau, a Hawaiian outlaw cowboy. This one-man play is among the few to portray a native Hawaiian male in a leading role. Through the eyes of Ko`olau, a courageous story unfolds about a Hawaiian family fighting for their survival amid the chaos and loss of Hawaiian sovereignty in 1893.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Heather Krava (Seattle, WA)
Title:
the quartet
Discipline:
Dance
Commissioners:
Performance Space 122, On the Boards, Fusebox Festival
Description:
the quartet is a contemporary dance performance created inspired by the concentration and implications of self-identifying communities, it is choreography for four dancers who manifest four dances. Comprised of a ballet, a human tower, a manifesto, and a folk dance, the work utilizes and undermines the clichés of contemporary performance practice to examine the underlying passions that guide its creation.
NPN Subsidy:
$12,000

Artist: Hijack (Minneapolis, MN)
Title: Hijack’s Red Eye
Discipline:
Dance
Commissioners: Walker Art Center, Colorado College Department of Theater & Dance, Legion Arts
Description: Hijack’s Red Eye (HRE) is a work that is rooted in years of creating duets. Several pairs of guest performers will perform sections alongside Hijack for this evening of choreography based on printed material. While primarily concerned with newspaper press and prose, the choreography will entertain the same textures and strategies of the context of journalistic and fictional stories and their graphic layouts dependent on the different formats and trends.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Holcombe Waller (Portland, OR)
Title:
WAYFINDERS
Discipline:
Multidisciplinary
Commissioners:
On the Boards, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Miami Light Project, Legion Arts
Description:
WAYFINDERS uses stories-in-song and recitative presented within a visually rich stage picture featuring video, lighting, scenic design and movement to weave together stories from one of humankind’s most courageous achievements:  the navigation of the open sea. WAYFINDERS explores themes of orientation, dead reckoning and technological progress to delve into the question: How can we move forward now that markers we once considered intractable have disappeared?
NPN Subsidy:
$14,000

Artist: Jose Torres Tama (New Orleans, LA)
Title: ALIENS Taco Truck Theater Project
Discipline: Performance Art
Commissioners: Living Arts of Tulsa, Pangea World Theater
Description: Inspired by the Luis Valdez’s Teatro Campesino that brought farm workers’ stories to public forums on flatbed truck stages, the ALIENS Taco Truck Theater Project will transform a truck into a “theater on wheels,” and bring the heroic stories of immigrant workers to Lowe’s and Home Depot parking lots, day laborers’ pick-up points, schools, and other public spaces—crossing the borders of economical, racial, and geographical divides as a site-specific work and new stage show.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Leilani Chan/TeAda Productions (Santa Monica, CA)
Title:
Global Taxi Driver
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners:
Intermedia Arts, TeAda Productions, East West Players
Description:
Rooted in the stories of taxi drivers from around the world, Global Taxi Driver (GTD), written by Leilani Chan, will explore immigration and mobility in the 21st century. The project will develop a community-based ensemble that looks closely at issues of cultural difference, class, gender, and ethnicity. In GTD, taxi ride stories will be staged as a metaphor of the different travels, literal and metaphorical, of drivers and riders and their life experiences.
NPN Subsidy:
$12,000

Artist: LEVYdance (San Francisco, CA)
Title: Comfort Zone
Discipline:
Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: Dance Place, Z Space, Exploratorium
Description: Comfort Zone is an interactive dance/media installation, created by Benjamin Levy in partnership with the Exploratorium and Z Space, which investigates the ways individual and social identities are created. The experience will pique curiosity, promote self-reflection and explore concepts in relation to cross-cultural understanding, in a world of cyber communication.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Lisa Suarez (San Antonio, TX)
Title: ADOPTION PIECE
Discipline:
Theatre
Commissioners:
El Centro Su Teatro, Jump-Start Performance Co., MACLA
Description:
The ADOPTION PIECE, with the current working title Yours Truly, Tu Seester will be a multidisciplinary bilingual theatrical production exploring adoption issues, concerns and experiences by the adopted, those adopting and the agencies that handle adoptions.
NPN Subsidy:
$12,000

Artist: Luciana Achugar (Brooklyn, NY)
Title: OTRO TEATRO
Discipline:
Dance
Commissioners: New York Live Arts, Walker Art Center
Description OTRO TEATRO, which translates both to “another theater” and “other theater,” will examine the role of dance as a form within the context of western theater; proposing another kind of theater, a theater of the other that will give voice to the arcane spirit, instinct and desire of our bodies. OTRO TEATRO will be performed by three main dancers and 20-30 local guest performers, who will be seated among the audience and move fluidly between the roles of performer and viewer. It will be available for touring in June 2014.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Lucky Plush (Riverside, IL)
Title: The Queue
Discipline:
Dance
Commissioners: Out North Contemporary Art House, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Links Hall
Description: Co-created by Lucky Plush Artistic Director Julia Rhoads and theater director Leslie Danzig, The Queue is a dance-theater work that exposes the epic narratives that unfold while waiting for our lives to happen. The Queue employs highly stylized classic forms, such as slapstick and Vaudeville, within the ordinary and non-theatrical contemporary context of an airport, ultimately accumulating in a moving, long-form narrative.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Michelle N. Gibson (Irving, TX)
Title:
Takin’ It to the Roots
Discipline:
Multidisciplinary
Commissioners:
South Dallas Cultural Center, Ashe Cultural Arts Center
Description:
Michelle N. Gibson will create a solo dance/theater work, Takin’ It to the Roots, which explores what she terms her “Second Line Aesthetic.” Prior to this project, Michelle choreographed a work with the same title for her company with recorded music. The new work will include composer Jason Davis, filmmaker Lauren Woods, playwright Jonathon Norton and lighting designer Jeff Hurst, along with a four-piece band, so that all music, sound design and visuals will be original material.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Navarassa Dance Theater (Menlo Park, CA)
Title: My Dear Muddu Palani – Performing the Sensual
Discipline: Theater
Commissioners: La Peña Cultural Center, Navarassa Dance Theater, Epic Actors Workshop
Description: My Dear Muddu Palani is a duet dance-theater performance exploring the liberation of woman’s sensuality from a woman’s perspective, through literature and performance, across the centuries in India. This is a work written by a woman, re-published by a woman, and reinterpreted by a woman. Performed in the Bharatanatyam dance-theater Indian classical style it introduces cutting edge, new creative visual and multimedia components.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Progress Theatre (Prairie View, TX)
Title: The Burnin’
Discipline: Multidisciplinary
Commissioners: Junebug Productions, Hartford Stage
Description: Inspired by the historic 1940 Rhythm Club Fire in Natchez, and a tragic 2003 event where patrons of a popular urban Chicago nightclub were killed, The Burnin’ is an a capella musical that straddles time between two clubs to offer an imaginative exploration of the night of the fires and the ensuing media coverage.  Through story, song, and dance, The Burnin’ traces how young African Americans receive and redefine legacies of identity and freedom to accommodate their realities.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Sibyl Kempson (New York, NY)
Title: River of Gruel, Pile of Pigs: The Requisite Gestures of Narrow Approach
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: Fusebox Festival, The Chocolate Factory
Description: Kempson has been commissioned to devise a work in deep collaboration with the Austin theater community. Kempson and artists from Rude Mechs, Salvage Vanguard, Physical Plant, Rubber Reparatory, Austin Scriptworks, Trouble Puppet and composer Graham Reynolds (collectively called the Pig Pile), have been assembling a collection of seemingly unrelated imagery, geography and aromas, which over time begins to reveal an intimately connected web of enfolded mythologies.
NPN Subsidy: $10,000

Artist: Soomi Kim (New York, NY)
Title: Chang(e)
Discipline: Theatre
Commissioners: Asian Arts Initiative, HERE Arts Center, Eventual Ashes
Description: Chang(e) is based on the life of Philly-based Asian American outsider performance artist/activist Kathy Change, infamously remembered for her last “performance,” in which she set herself on fire and danced in protest of the political apathy of the elite students of the University of Pennsylvania. This new hybrid dance theatre performance will incorporate dance on film, reenactments of Change’s performances, text from transcribed interviews, movement, video and original music.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

Artist: Step Afrika! (Washington, DC)
Title: Green is the New Black
Discipline: Dance
Commissioners: Carver Community Cultural Center, Dance Place, Washington Performing Arts Society
Description: What if we could take the energy of dance, harness it and reuse it to power devices and communities?  Step Afrika! seeks to create a new work that will not only explore, through the use of piezo technology, our capacity to capture the “power” created through dance, but also to convert the dance into electrical energy. The work will also promote concepts of sustainable energy and “climate care” through a performance that is partially or completely powered by the energy of dance.
NPN Subsidy: $12,000

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Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation and Nathan Cummings Foundation, as well as the co-commissioners and the artists who create the new work.

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation  fordlogologo_nathancummings

 




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