December 27, 2001
3 Washington Funders Support Needs Assessment of Dance Community
DC Follows San Francisco and Chicago to Become Dance/USA’s 3rd Regional Study
Dance/USA has received three grants totaling $75,000 from the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and the Fannie Mae Foundation to fund a survey and needs analysis of the DC-area dance community.
The Washington, DC, mapping and needs assessment project will profile the demographic landscape of the dance community in the metropolitan region that includes Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties as well as the District of Columbia. Mapping and assessing the needs of the DC dance community is an essential first step toward improving and strengthening the quality of dance in the Washington area. The results will provide area funders and others with a factual view of the people, places, and art they are dedicated to helping and will raise the DC metropolitan dance community’s visibility on a national level.
Since 1983, Dance/USA has collected detailed statistical information about the national dance community. It recently initiated in-depth profiles of San Francisco and Chicago. The DC-area mapping and needs assessment project will yield real data to combat misperceptions about the relationship of the art form to the general public, will be useful as an audience development tool, and will provide a baseline of information for the region’s dance and funding communities. Also, results from this mapping will assist Dance/USA in its effort to be of greater and better service on a regional level, whether by supporting advocacy efforts on behalf of the DC dance field or by providing professional development opportunities designed specifically to improve the capacities of dance artists, administrators, presenters, and other dance professionals in the area.
In consultation with an advisory group drawn from Washington’s leading dance and arts professionals, Dance/USA’s researchers will investigate the variety of dance that exists in the greater Washington metropolitan area, where it is taught and presented, the number of artists and companies working around the city, and challenges that the art form faces locally. Dance/USA’s Director of Information and Research, John Munger, will head the project. Munger issues Dance/USA’s annual data surveys of its member companies, which collect detailed financial information, and he recently wrote “Dancing with Dollars in the Millennium: A Ten-Year Summary of Trends,” published as a 12-page supplement to the April 2001 issue of Dance Magazine.
Katherine T. Freshley, program officer of the Meyer Foundation, said, “The increased presence of talented and original choreographers and new dance companies in Washington and the surrounding region positions our region for a significant dance boom, but understanding this growth and ways the philanthropic and cultural community can strengthen and sustain it is the critical next step. Dance USA's mapping and needs assessment will help us strategically chart dance’s cultural future in the region.”
Dance/USA Executive Director Andrea Snyder hailed the grants as an indication that Dance/USA’s research projects are valued. “Dance/USA is pleased to be working with the Meyer, Cafritz, and Fannie Mae foundations to build a comprehensive knowledge base about the demographics of the dance community in the greater Washington, DC, area. As with other studies we are administering in San Francisco and Chicago, we expect the results to strengthen dance on the local level and provide an appreciation of this dance community on the national level.”