2018 Dance/USA Institute for Leadership Training Guidelines and Application

The 2018 program is currently underway.


The overarching goal of Dance/USA’s Institute for Leadership Training (DILT) is to build the leadership and decision-making skills of emerging dance leaders who represent the diversity of the national, professional dance community. The 2018 program has a specific focus on supporting individuals of African, LatinX, Asian, Arab, and Native American descent; individuals with disabilities or working in physically integrated dance; and individuals from a diversity of gender identities including transgender, agender, gender fluid, genderqueer, etc. All were welcome to apply regardless of Dance/USA membership. 

DILT emphasizes regular communication between established leaders (mentors) and emerging leaders (mentees) to foster self-direction, self-reflection, and embracing challenge. The relationships between mentors and mentees extend beyond geographic boundaries, explore various areas of interest, foster community connections, and provide exposure to opportunities available in the field. A limited number of pairs are matched based on experience, area of interest, geography, and/or professional affiliations by the Dance/USA DILT Selection Committee.

The 2018 Institute for Leadership Training launched during the 2018 Dance/USA Annual Conference, held June 6-9, in Los Angeles, CA. From that time forward, participants will engage in a nine-month one-on-one mentorship experience. 

Learn more about our 2018 Mentors and Mentees.

There are three primary elements to this program: 

Annual Conference Seminar

During the 2018 Dance/USA Annual Conference, mentors and mentees convened for a group seminar to become better acquainted with their match and gain further leadership training as a full cohort. This training took place on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA. All mentees also stayed for the full duration of the Conference and were able to participate in all Conference activities.

Monthly Meetings

Dance/USA emphasizes consistent one-on-one communication for two hours each month between mentor/mentee pairs for the duration of the program. Dance/USA recommends alternative methods of communication to assist pairs that stretch geographic boundaries (Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.). Meetings are expected to be scheduled and driven by the mentee.

Site Visit

Dance/USA began the site visit element of the program in 2015; this grew from personal initiatives participants took the year prior to shadow and learn from the mentor in their home organization and community. Mentees will be awarded a travel stipend to participate in, at minimum, one site-visit where the mentee travels to the mentor’s organization between July 2018 and March 2019. Mentors and mentees who live in close proximity to each other’s organization can choose to also participate in a co-learning workshop or festival they both attend, should the travel stipend not be fully utilized during a site visit.


• February 21, 2018 | Guidelines and Application Announced

• March 18, 2018 | Application Deadline

• March 2018 | DILT Selection Committee Reviews Applications and Decision Notifications 

• April 2018 | Program Guidelines Distributed to Participants and Final Program Participation Contracts Due

• May 2018 | First Phone Meeting with Mentorship Match and Cohort Phone Call in Preparation for 2018 Dance/USA Annual Conference

• June 6-9, 2018 | 2018 Dance/USA Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA 

• June 2018 - March 2019 | Duration of the Program | Mentorship Pairs Meet Each Month a Minimum of Two Hours | Site Visit to Take Place

• September 2018 | Required Check-In Phone Call with Dance/USA

December 2018 | Required Cohort Phone Call with Dance/USA

• March 2019 | Final Program Evaluation Survey Due | Required Check-In Phone Call with Dance/USA


You should apply if you identify as an emerging leader and fall under at least three of the following categories. You:

• are a dance artist and/or arts administrator;

• consider yourself a leader and are looking for an opportunity to grow your leadership within the dance sector;

• are looking for ways to move to the next level of your career in the dance field;

• have specific needs and goals related to the dance field that cannot be met with your current resources or within your current networks; 

• have the time and willingness to engage with a mentor for the sake of your desired advancement in the dance field;

• have experienced barriers to advancement toward leadership in the dance field based on age, gender, race, religion, disability, familial status, income level, or other aspects of your social identity;

• demonstrate a willingness to take personal and professional risks in order to further your career in the dance field;

• are able to initiate and maintain consistent dialogue with your mentor and engage in self-reflection throughout the duration of the program; and

 possess the ability to self-direct, an openness to challenges and opportunities, and a genuine interest in building a stronger career in the dance field.


DILT participants were selected by the DILT Selection Committee, a panel of dance industry leaders including Dance/USA Board of Trustees and staff members. When considering applicants, a focus was placed on:

• Purpose | Dance/USA hopes to strengthen leadership within the professional dance field by supporting a diverse group of emerging dance leaders through the enhancement of leadership skills, growth of professional networks, gaining knowledge, and providing access to existing resources.

• Need | This opportunity is intended for those who are looking for support in advancing their career and aim to be a leader within their organization and/or the professional dance field. We hope to identify applicants who stand to gain the most from this opportunity and who may have experienced barriers to advancing their career. 

• Desire | The ideal mentee is excited about the idea of having an impact on the dance field, desires leadership responsibilities, and has an interest in serving as a mentor to future generations. Ideal mentees are willing to participate in a program that is self-driven and requires personal initiative.

• Viability | Applicants must be able to fully participate in DILT and commit to participating through the full duration of the program, including monthly meetings with a mentor, attendance at the Dance/USA Annual Conference, two check-in meetings with Dance/USA staff, a site visit, and completion of all required program evaluations. Accepted applicants will agree to NOT participate in other mentorship related programs during the duration of DILT.

Questions about the program should be sent to Sydnie Liggett, director of programs.