Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Doubles-Down On Its Dance Series

Scroll through IP's Dance vertical and you'll find that recent news has centered on the Mid-Atlantic region of the country. It's uncanny.

First, there's news that the Philadelphia-based BalletX announced a new choreographic fellowship. Below that, we see that DC's Dance Heritage Coalition netted $700,000 from the Knight Foundation for its dance media preservation efforts. And practically right below that, news that the Harlem-based National Dance Institute will rename its performance space after the Howard Gilman Foundation, who cut it a $1.5 million check.  

We know what you're thinking. To paraphrase George W. Bush, "You forgot New Jersey!" Situated smack dab in the middle of the formidable I-95 corridor, is it too much to ask for the Garden State to get a little dance love?

Fortunately, the answer is no. Thanks to the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, it's not too much to ask for the Garden State to get a little dance love. In a continuation of its Dance Series, which kicked off last year, the foundation recently awarded grants to a select number of New Jersey-based dance companies for the 2015-2016 season. This funding provides opportunities for New Jersey dancers and choreographers to gain exposure in a high-caliber performance venue, in addition to building local and regional dance audiences.

Recipients include Umoja Dance Company, American Repertory Ballet, Atlantic City Ballet, NJ Tap Ensemble, Freespace Dance, and the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

The latter organization received $30,000, which represents a $5,000 increase from funding for the previous series. Needless to say, this a good sign. As previously noted, Dodge kicked off its Dance Series last year. After a 12-month trial run, it could as easily have kept funding flat or, worse yet, cut it (or even worse yet, scrapped the series entirely!).

But it did no such thing, which surely pleased South Orange Performing Arts Center Executive Director Mark Packer, who noted, "The Dodge Foundation has generously provided us an opportunity to be a welcoming home for dance companies in New Jersey. Our theatre and Loft are uniquely suited to presenting these wonderful artists and we look forward to bringing their inspiring, energizing, and entertaining performances to our stage!"