Engaging Dance Audiences

With support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), Dance/USA launched Engaging Dance Audiences (EDA), a program that enables Dance/USA and its members to explore and research methods of engaging audiences for dance, learn from peers, and share the learning nationally.  

Round One, a 2.1 million pilot that took place from 2009-2011, was also supported by the James Irvine Foundation, and consisted of four components to generate and share learning with the membership. Out of a highly competitive process, nine projects were funded to explore methods of audience engagement, as well as to research and document what was learned.  Both in-person events and online strategies were designed to build audiences: social bonds; knowledge about dance, insight about artists and styles, and kinetic awareness.  Case studies were then developed on these nine projects, with accompanying products to assist the field in replicating the methods that were explored and lessons learned. Round one also generated extensive research on audience engagement—both of the practices of dance organizations and the interests of audience members themselves.

During Round Two, with renewed funding from DDCF in the amount of $1.7 million, Dance/USA will accelerate its efforts to share the results from Round One, and support its members in implementing new audience engagement practices. Offerings will include professional development through online tools and in-person sessions;  grant support for members in adapting the audience engagement methods from Round One to their own organizations and communities; and a learning community—both in person and online—to encourage exchange as ideas are adapted.  Suzanne Callahan of Callahan Consulting for the Arts will manage these activities. 

Click on the links below to access information about each of EDA's two rounds.

  • Engaging Dance Audiences Round Two: Read about the funding structure and guidelines, extensive content from Round 1 projects that is available to members, and learning community.
  • Engaging Dance Audiences: Read about the funding structure, projects funded, and learning about audience engagement that was shared through webinars and research conducted. 
For more information or inquiries, contact eda@forthearts.org.