Annually through the Creation & Development Fund, the National Performance Network (NPN) directly awards $500,000 and leverages an additional $1,500,000 in resources to support the commissioning, development and touring of 20 new performance works across disciplines, geographies and cultures.

The National Performance Network announces its 2017/18 Creation & Development Fund artist recipients. Creation & Development Funds are given to a diversity of artists that reflect NPN’s commitments to equity and access through the arts. Sixteen of the 20 artist companies are first time Creation Fund recipients and the artists hail from 19 cities across the country from Shelburne, VT to Davies, FL.

The Creation & Development Fund allows NPN, its Partners, and colleagues across the field, to collaborate with performing artists and artist companies by contributing resources to the development of new works and provides valuable presentation and touring opportunities. Fifty-one arts organizations from Homer, AK to Alexandria, LA, participated as commissioners, which will result in at least 58 paid artist engagements over the next three years.

The Creation and Development Fund is made possible with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency) and Commissioners.

2018 Creation & Development Fund Recipients
Abby Zbikowski/Abby Z and the New Utility – New York, NY – Radioactive Practice
Commissioners: New York Live Arts, New York, NY; Dance Place, Washington, DC; American Dance Festival, Durham, NC; Wexner Center for the Performing Arts, Columbus, OH
Radioactive Practice is a new work by Juried Bessie award winning Illinois-based choreographer Abby Zbikowski, commissioned by New York Live Arts and set to premiere during their 2019-20 Season with additional support from the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. Based on Zbikowski’s rigorous physical practice that processes diverse aesthetic and cultural information, this work pushes a team of ten dancers from the United States, Taiwan, Senegal and Canada past perceived physical limits and conventions of established dance forms.
Andresia “Real” Moseley – Auburndale, FL – Five Black Women
Commissioners: Art2Action, Inc., Tampa, FL; ASU Gammage, Tempe, AZ
Five Black Women is a one-woman show that reveals the lives distinctively different Black women characters and their struggles with identity, sexuality and religion. Through poetry, song and DJ mixes, it reveals more than just the stories of diverse black women, but the struggle to identify as a human in this complex world. It’s about the hood, the church, the club and the stage. What happens when we let go…and how do we find acceptance for who we really are? What happens when circumstances push you, what’s too far, and how do we find our way back?      
The Combat Hippies – Davie, FL – AMAL
Commissioners: MDC Live Artss, Miami, FL; Su Teatro, Denver, CA; MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose, CA
AMAL is a brave new Spoken Word work that explores the effects of war on both veterans and civilians who have been in war-torn countries. The Combat Hippies plan to work with refugees who have been affected by war to continue to spread their message of Post Traumatic Growth in addition to their continued work with veterans.                                                                       
Edisa Weeks / DELIRIOUS Dances – Brooklyn, NY – THREE RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness
Commissioners: 651 ARTS, Brooklyn, NY; Mount Tremper Arts, Mount Tremper, NY; Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Brooklyn, NY
THREE RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness involves three performance rituals (rites) that integrate movement, live music, text, video and art installations to examine what these rights mean; how the rights have changed (or not changed) since the forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence; and in the age of Citizen’s United, Black Lives Matter, NAFTA, the Patriot Act, DACA, and the longest war in American history, how and for whom are these rights protected and promoted, and how they manifest in the body. THREE RITES uses interdisciplinary performance to spark discussions about urgent issues in American society today.
Jumatatu Poe – Philadelphia, PA – Let ‘Im Move You: This is a Formation
Commissioners: Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA; Abron Arts Center, New York, NY; BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Bronx, NY; Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME; Dance Place, Washington, DC; Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH PICA, Portland, OR; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL
Let ‘im Move You: This is a Formation is a new dance work by Philadelphia-based choreographer jumatatu m. poe and Dallas-based J-Sette artist Jermone “Donte” Beacham that unites Black dancers of various genders addressing choreographic, emotional, and spiritual forms present within J-Sette and other Black queer dance vocabularies. With live-constructed music and media design, Formation confronts historic imaginations and limitations of art institutions centering white aesthetics, and outdoor spaces within predominantly Black neighborhoods.                
Marike Splint – Los Angeles, CA – On The Other Side
Commissioners: Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA; Art and Design Research Incubator at Penn State, University Park, PA
On the Other Side is a new documentary performance created by Marike Splint, challenging notions of borders and bordering in our present era. The project questions and challenges our growing tendency to draw these territorial lines and borders. The US/Mexico border is a clear starting point, but the performance aims to unpack the act of bordering beyond current flashpoints.                  
Miguel Gutierrez – Brooklyn, NY – This Bridge Called My Ass
Commissioners: PICA, Portland, OR; Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA; The Chocolate Factory Theatre, Long Island City, NY; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME; Walker Art Center; Minneapolis, MN
This Bridge Called My Ass is a new evening-length dance/performance by Miguel Gutierrez for a group of five Latinx performers, with Stephanie Acosta as dramaturg. Part slow-motion party, part evolving installation, part embodied seminar/teach-in taught by futuristic (Spanish speaking) survivalists, the piece looks at longstanding tensions between form and content to map a new, irreverent approach to old questions about what constitutes identity politics and the avant garde. How do experimental artists of color, specifically “brown” artists, navigate terrain that is dominated by legacies of predominantly white artists? What can “brown” do to complicate inherited ideas about identity and abstraction?                                                                                                                                               
Morgan Thorson – Minneapolis, MN – Public Love  
Commissioners: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI
Public Love (PL) is a dance intervention redefining power through physical tenderness and the human need for touch—both attributes of a kind of love. Positioning the dancing body as the generative center, choreography is composed from the inside out—from the vital, intimate experience of moving, not from an exterior position of seeing. From this location, virtuosity is mediated on the ensembles’ terms, disrupting hierarchical modes of power within dance creation itself. Transforming as it is re-situated, PL offers a rhizomatic, tactile structure that churns in a choreography of affection—as queer alternatives to might and control.
Myra Su and Tatsu Aoki – Chicago, IL – Fault Lines and Expanding Forms           
Commissioners: Links Hall, Chicago, IL; Asian Improv aRts, San Francisco, IL
Links Hall and Asian Improv aRts (San Francisco) are co-commissioning a collaborative performance by world renowned Jazz musician Tatsu Aoki, and accomplished shadow puppet artist/Manual Cinema company member Myra Su. This work will be developed in community with the artists participating in our Emerging POC (puppeteers of color) Program and it will premier during the January 2019 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.   
Netta Yerushalmy – New York, NY – Paramodernities
Commissioners: New York Live Arts, New York, NY; Jacob’s Pillow, Becket, MA; Hope Mohr Dance – Bridge Project, San Francisco, CA
Paramodernities is a multidisciplinary project that involves lectures, performances, and discussions. This project engages with the canon of modern dance in radical ways in order to spark new ideas and new choreographies. The project involves deconstructions of landmark modernist choreographies, as well as contributions by writers, philosophers, and historians who situate these iconic works in modernity’s larger context. The project explores foundational tenets of modern discourse—such as sovereignty, race, feminism, and nihilism—and emphasizes public discussions alongside virtuosic performances by lauded dancers.                                                                                                                                                         
Paul S. Flores – San Francisco, CA – We Have Iré Commissioners: Pregones Theater/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Bronx, NY; Miami Light Project, Miami, FL; GALA Hispanic Theatre, Washington, DC; MECA, Houston, TX; MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose, CA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
A new multidisciplinary theater work by award-winning poet, performance artist and playwright Paul S. Flores, We Have Iré explores the lives of Afro-Cuban and Cuban-American transnational artists living in the United States, and their influence on and experience with American culture. Directed by Rosalba Rolón of Pregones Theater, with live music composition by Yosvany Terry and Dj Leydis, and choreography by Ramon Ramos Alayo, We Have Iré also looks at the challenges of being an immigrant artist and the triumph of establishing one’s voice in a new country.                                                                                                                                                               
RMwase Cultural Projects – New Orleans, LA – VESSELS Commissioners: Junebug Productions, New Orleans, LA; Annenberg Center for the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
VESSELS is a seven-woman harmonic meditation on the transcendental possibilities of song during the Middle Passage. Experienced within an interactive and acoustically rich sculptural environment that invokes those infamous ships, this interdisciplinary ritual performance explores singing as a survival tool and asks, “What does freedom sound like in a space of confinement?” VESSELS will premier in 2018 on a floating barge in New Orleans and then tour to East Coast port cities that were active during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.                                                                                                                                                                         
Roberta Uno and Dahlak Brathwaite – San Francisco, CA – Try/Step/Trip
Commissioners: Youth Speaks, Inc., San Francisco, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL; Miami Light Project, Miami, FL; Center for New Performance, CALARTS, Valencia, CA; Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Try/Step/Trip is a dramatic reenactment of a profound journey through the criminal justice system. Through spoken word, live music, dance and character monologues, the devised work will chronicle the process of the playwright’s own criminalization along with his struggle to be vindicated in the eyes of the law and society. The piece works through the personal shame of criminal stigmatization to examine the factors – both internal and external – that has misplaced him and the black male body in what appears as a cultural rite of passage.                                                                                                                                                                     
Rosy Simas – Minneapolis, MN – Weave
Commissioners: Dance Place, Washington, DC; Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI; Alabama Dance Council, Birmingham, AL PA’I Arts & Culture Center, Honolulu, HI
Native choreographer Rosy Simas (Seneca) creates Weave, a dance project drawn from the interwoven and interdependent nature of our world. In Weave, individual and embodied stories are the vibrant threads that mesh in a performance woven of story, dance, moving image, and quadrophonic sound.     
Terrenece M Johnson Dance Projects – Dallas, TX- Like A Tree
Commissioners: South Dallas Cultural Center, Dallas, TX; Arna Bontemps African American Museum, Alexandria, LA
Like a Tree will examine the themes of urban/economic development and displacement within historic and contemporary African American communities in Dallas. Artists and participants will explore the idea of place by questioning facts and assumptions about land, home and cultural identity. This project also seeks to examine how personal memory and performance can function as a tool to investigate critical and introspective histories by explore how multiple generations experience the identical places at varying times.           
Timur and the Dime Museum – Los Angeles, CA- Nueva Cancion Project: Protest Songs of Latin America
Commissioners: Miami Light Project, Miami, CA; Beth Morrison Project, Brooklyn, NY
Nueva Canción, a Latin American style of folk music of the 1960s, is now widely recognized as a powerful movement for sociopolitical change- often about unequal distribution of wealth, corrupted politicians, abuse of power, human rights.  The genre-defying LA band Timur and the Dime Museum, whose members come from the worlds of classical, jazz, glam rock and industrial music, will reimagine in a multimedia performance in the revolutionary folk spirit of nueva canción. The work focuses on the repertoire of Mercedes Sosa, photo images of youth protests in Latin and Central America, and new music composed by Daniel Corral in the original Spanish and the newly commissioned translations in English.                                                                                                                                                  
Unit Souzou – Portland, OR – A Constant State of Otherness
Commissioners: The Myrna Loy, Helena, MT; Caldera Arts, Sisters, OR; Dance Place, Washington, DC; Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA
The Constant State of Otherness is a multi-layered performance and community engagement project exploring the isolation and displacement that comes from not having an easy sense of home. This project focuses on the conversational, narrative, and collaborative art of Taiko drumming to create artistic and social dialogs that will question, challenge and upheave the mainstream narrative of identity and belonging, especially within this current American landscape.    
Virgina Grise – Bronx, NY – Rasgos Asiaticos
Commissioners: MECA, Houston, TX; Center for New Performance, CALARTS, Valencia, CA; Duende CalArts, Valencia, CA
Rasgos Asiaticos is a multimedia performance installation that traces one woman’s history back four generations as we are introduced to a cast of Mexican runaways, Chinese refugees, and fiercely independent women trying to let go of binding gender roles. An intimate story about the fluidity of borders and time, transnational migration, and the historic confluence of China, Mexico and the United States, the work will result in a performance installation mapping out how to find home in a place that is unfamiliar and at times hostile.

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