The Center for Contemporary Dance is a leading Florida producer of professional dance performances and provider of community dance education programs. With support from United Arts of Central Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts, the organization produces some of the most exciting, socially-relevant dance works of our time. Over the past 10 years, The Center for Contemporary Dance has supported emerging and seasoned artists in the creation and presentation of more than 220 new dance works, including those by Moore Dance Project, U-Turn Dance Company, Patelworks Dance Theater, DRIP, Nao Dance Collective, Emotions Dance Company and Yow Dance. The Center for Contemporary Dance also develops innovative arts-education and wellness programs that reach child welfare organizations, underserved populations and public schools across 5 Central Florida counties. The organization is actively fulfilling the following mission:>To Produce a season of compelling dance works that celebrates the creative and cultural diversity of our community.
>To Encourage significant new work by providing an environment in which emerging artists are supported by the finest professionals producing dance today.
>To Cultivate the next generation of dance professionals by providing the highest caliber of dance education.
>To Reach out to young audiences and underrepresented populations with innovative programs in arts education.
Each year, the organization reaches thousands of people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds through inspiring productions, innovative arts-education programs and active community outreach. This year, the organization:
>Provided 1,000 free performance tickets to children from Title I public schools in Orange, Seminole, Lake, Osceola and Volusia counties. Children attended ‘Sacred Slave Stories,’ which details black history through contemporary dance. Surveys completed by attendees show that 93% learned something new about history through the performance and post-show dialogue.
>Provided 32 pre-professional students ages 9-17 with scholarship funding, allowing them to study the dance arts free of charge. Scholarship students were accepted into dance programs at the Juilliard School, Point Park University and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
>Provided 5 resident dance companies, including 1 youth company, access to rehearsal space, business mentoring, performance space and creative consulting, assisting them in the development and launch of their performance companies. All previous resident artists are now self-sustaining arts organizations.
In addition to replicating the above, goals for the upcoming year include:
>Bring a series of Dance Education Forums to Central Florida public schools for the purpose of developing an active community of educators dedicated to improving the quality of dance education at the public school level.
>Secure major corporate partners to sponsor the 11th Annual Season of Dance, which includes the presentation of new and diverse dance works by six professional dance companies and one youth/pre-professional company.
Jan 2001: Founded in Washington, DC by Artistic Director Dario J. Moore and Executive Director Craig W. Johnson as a singular dance company, U-Turn Dance.
Sept 2002 - Aug 2004: Company spends a year in research and development, and another to produce successful debut performance in August 2004.
Dec 2004: Organization earns 501(c)(3) nonprofit status as U-Turn Dance, Inc.
Oct 2006: Youth Scholarship and Pre-Professional Programs are launched to support young students in their dance education and career endeavors.
Aug 2007: Organization changes its name to "The Center for Contemporary Dance, Inc." to reflect the broader vision of the company.
Sept 2007: DRIP, a producer of performance art that integrates dance and the visual arts, is accepted as resident artist.
April 2008: Nao Dance, a producer of improvisation-based dance, is accepted as resident artist.
Feb 2009: Moore Dance Project featured on FOX News and The Daily Buzz.
Over the past 10 years and with much support from our community, The Center for Contemporary Dance has become the area’s leading production center for contemporary dance performance, serving to incubate eight contemporary dance ensembles and cultivating the next generation of dance professionals. It wasn’t long ago that contemporary dance was virtually absent from the Central Florida arts scene, but because of The Center’s efforts this important art form is becoming recognized as a essential part of our community’s cultural fabric, just as it is in other metropolitan areas.
The Center was the first dance education center in Central Florida to create an integrative platform for resident artists to develop new contemporary dance works. Emerging choreographers who enter the Resident Artist Program receive rehearsal space, business mentoring and production resources, including space to showcase new work. Now, other dance centers across Central Florida are taking The Center’s lead, adding residency programs to their studio models because they see how important it is to surround students with industry professionals, creative role models and visionary thinkers. We’re proud to have inspired others to cultivate opportunities for artists and students to work together in meaningful ways.
Over the course of our journey we've supported 230 culturally-diverse artists, seen our students enter the most prestigious university dance programs, and delivered 180+ community programs, inspiring more than 3,000 underserved children to reach higher and further. What has made all this possible is our ever-growing team of donors, artists, volunteers and dedicated professionals who believe deeply in the work we do, partnering with us to create essential beauty, hope and change in our world. Together, we have added new dimension to the vocabulary and perception of dance in Central Florida, expanding our community's creative, expressive, fitness and educational options.
Just 10 years ago, no African-American dance ensembles existed in Central Florida. The Center for Contemporary Dance changed this in 2001 by establishing Moore Dance Project, the area’s first and only African-American professional dance company. Since then, The Center has earned a solid reputation for delivering innovative and inclusive works that move and inspire audiences—in addition to being featured on PBS, FOX News and local television networks, many of our works have been commissioned by universities, corporations and City leaders. Central Florida wants to experience work by culturally-diverse artists, and we’ve taken responsibility for creating that platform.
The inclusive nature of the organization enables us to create fascinating works with dancers from all backgrounds. We’ve produced works like Unheard Insight, featuring blind and deaf performers; Colours of Courage, which explores the history of African Americans; and Seeking, one of many community-based shows featuring at-risk youth. It is our belief that dance should be experienced by anyone who wishes to know the art. Everyone deserves to be self-expressed and if a person—no matter their shape, color or limitation—feels passionately about dance, we have a responsibility to provide a platform that cultivates that passion.
Blending dance and community outreach makes sense to The Center. The organization has been able to create successful programs that serve aging adults, persons with special needs, underserved children, minority populations and Title I Schools. All this is possible because of the support we receive from a team of people that cares about the concept of Community. The greatest challenge facing the organization is securing involvement from influential supporters and Board Members interested assisting the organization in maximizing its efforts; to address this challenge, activities and recommendations by the Board Development Committee are the organization’s top priority.
The Dance Education and Wellness Program includes all public dance classes, workshops, master classes and learning programs offered at The Center for Contemporary Dance. Led by a mature, educated faculty with more than 200 years of industry experience, the program operates in accordance with National Standards for Dance Education and provides instruction in classical, contemporary and cultural dance to more than 500 students each year. Students of all levels and ages participate in multi-disciplinary classes that develop dance technique, cardiovascular fitness, creative expression and knowledge of dance history. Additionally, The Center’s MoveFit Total Wellness Program offers students integrative instruction in dance aerobics, weight-bearing resistance training and nutrition counseling. All classes are open to the community, with specialty classes customized for specific populations, including senior citizens and persons with physical limitations.
The Dance Education and Wellness Program is designed to provide an exceptional and encouraging dance education to members of the general community, regardless of age or previous dance experience. In addition to making improvements in the technical and artistic aspects of dance, students who participate in community classes, workshops and learning programs gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for contemporary dance traditions. For 2011, 95% of students reported improvements in their technical and artistic abilities as a result of their studies at The Center for Contemporary Dance. 96% of students express increased understanding of contemporary dance traditions/history as a result of their participation in The Center’s education programs; 100% of students indicate the desire to experience more contemporary dance classes/performances in Central Florida. 87% of students in the MoveFit Total Wellness Program show decreases in body fat, increases in muscle tone, and improvements in cardiovascular stamina.
With a well-planned, comprehensive curriculum and a faculty of experienced professionals, The Center for Contemporary Dance offers high-quality dance education conducted in accordance with the National Standards for Dance Education. 95% of students who consistently participate in scheduled dance classes, workshops and learning programs will make improvements in their technical abilities, understanding of dance history and awareness of contemporary dance traditions. Of the students participating in the MoveFit Total Wellness Program, 90% will experience positive health changes, including loss of body fat, improved cardiovascular fitness and a greater sense of overall wellbeing.
Program evaluation is primarily conducted through student, parent and faculty surveys. In order to ensure compliance with the National Standards for Dance Education and to track student improvement, classes are also observed and evaluated by the artistic director on a monthly basis. Formal evaluations of an individual student are provided at the student’s request. The MoveFit Total Wellness Program is evaluated through student surveys and confidentially-monitored physical measurements (body fat percentage, waist/bust/hip, etc.), documented by The Center’s certified health counselor.
The Arts in Community Program is a multi-dimensional arts enrichment program developed and led in collaboration with community organizations and The Center’s academic, arts and healing professionals. Serving more than 3,000 people each year, the program offers customized dance workshops, lecture-demonstrations, fitness classes and public performances for targeted populations that include Title I public schools, senior citizens, child welfare organizations, veterans, underserved communities and minorities. Services vary in duration, from a single workshop to year-long collaborations.
Arts in Community Programs are carefully-designed endeavors with customized outcomes, benchmarks and endpoints. As such, each project has its own unique set of data; however, all Arts in Community projects share the common goals of: 1.) providing an education in contemporary dance traditions/history, 2.) cultivating creative expression and enhancing artistic ability, 3.) improving quality of life in areas of self-esteem, academic performance, literacy or social/cultural awareness. For 2011, 94% of all those served by an Arts in Community Program expressed an increased understanding of contemporary dance traditions/history; 90% reported improvements in their technical and artistic abilities; 84% reported a greater sense of self-confidence and social/cultural awareness; 79% reported academic improvement. Of the more 1,000 participants surveyed, 96% stated they would participate again if the program were offered.
Each Arts in Community Program caters to the specific needs of the population served. Customized programs have been developed for blind and deaf persons, public school educators interested in using the arts to improve student learning, and city leaders in need of programming that celebrates minority culture. All programs are planned in accordance with the National Standards for Dance Education. Of the participants served, at least 80% will express an increased knowledge of contemporary dance, improvement in self-confidence, academic performance, technical development and/or a deeper understanding of the history/culture explored in a particular program.
Planned, monitored and evaluated with each collaborating community organization, program evaluation is primarily conducted through participant, faculty and leadership surveys. Long-term projects that extend beyond a single event also involve regular evaluation to measure participant progress over the course of the program. Depending on the goals established for a particular program, areas evaluated may include participant self-esteem, technical improvement, learning, academic improvement or social development. Program leaders from all participating organizations also evaluate projects in areas of collaborative process, challenges/opportunities for improvement and overall effectiveness.
The Youth Scholarship Program provides 32 talented, financially-challenged dancers ages 9-17 access to a rigorous curriculum in Pre-Professional Studies at reduced or no cost. Students prepare for a dance career or university dance program through a comprehensive curriculum that employs the National Standards for Dance Education. Pre-professional classes are designed to train the student in areas of technique, artistic development, dance history, production, wellness/nutrition and arts management. Additionally, all Pre-Professionals attend mentorship workshops, where industry professionals offer guidance in audition preparation, business management and career longevity. All students perform in the youth ensemble, U-Turn Dance Company; advanced students also apprentice with The Center’s resident dance companies. Scholarship recipients are selected by an application and audition process in order to measure degree of commitment, individual needs and preparedness for the program.
Scholarship students in the Pre-Professional Program demonstrate a higher degree of success in their studies, both academic and artistic, than students not participating in the program, as measured by school report cards and in-house attendance/evaluation records. By advancing the student’s ability for dance and encouraging his/her individual artistic voice, the Pre-Professional Program cultivates a community of dancers who seek higher education and are well-equipped for professional opportunities. For 2011, 94% of college-age scholarship students were accepted into an accredited university dance program and 82% of all scholarship students participated in dance-related professional work.
Too often, young dancers are ill-prepared for professional work or the demands of university dance programs due to poor training and underdeveloped skill sets in time management, self-care, community service and industry knowledge. Access to professional training through scholarship funding affords many young artists the opportunity to make a successful living doing what they most love, and often inspires them to use their talents to give back to communities in which they live. Of the scholarship students completing the Pre-Professional Program, 94% will successfully earn professional work as dancers or enter an accredited university dance program.
Scholarship students in the Pre-Professional Program are assessed by formal evaluation four times each year. Evaluations by faculty are used to measure the student’s progress in technical and artistic arenas, as well as to develop collaborative solutions to individual challenges. As part of each formal evaluation, students are also required to complete as self-assessment worksheet, including documentation of current academic standing in at public, private or home school; student self-assessment also involves reporting of professional work obtained and/or acceptance into university programs.
Tina, a scholarship student who entered the Pre-Professional Program at age 14 with minimal dance training, is now studying dance at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. After being accepted into the Pre-Professional Program, Tina’s academic grades improved and interviews with her parents state that Tina began making positive adjustments in other areas of life, including choice of friends, health behaviors and family relationships. Today, Tina is a passionate dance student and working artist with an excellent academic record.
Implemented in 2007, the Resident Artist Program supports emerging choreographers and contemporary/modern dance companies in the creation and presentation of new work. The program provides mentoring in business/production management, artistic development and access to rehearsal and performance space at little or no cost to participating artists. The primary goal of this incubation program is to cultivate modern/contemporary dance in Central Florida by mentoring artists into self-sufficient producers of new work; over the past 5 years, the Resident Artist Program has supported more than 150 artists and 10 contemporary dance companies, resulting in the presentation of no less than 50 new dance works. Prior to the implementation of the Resident Artist Program, contemporary dance was virtually absent from the Central Florida arts scene. Now, this important art form is becoming recognized as an essential part of our community’s cultural fabric, just as it is in other metropolitan areas.
Artists accepted into the Resident Artist Program begin producing and showcasing new work within one year of entering the program. By expediting the period between business start-up and independent operation, program participants more quickly become employable artists equipped with the skills to successfully achieve long-term stability by producing marketable, socially-relevant creative work. For 2011, 100% of artists supported by the program publicly presented at least one new dance work in less than 12 months of program entry. 70% of artists accepted into the program in 2010 are now independently-operating arts organizations, earning professional work and regularly presenting new work to the Central Florida community.
Emerging choreographers and dance companies are often faced with the difficult challenge of finding the support and funding that will allow them to develop, produce and market new work. In many instances, lack of support leads to the disintegration of important art works and the defeat of visionary creative leaders who were never given a chance to succeed. Access to a supportive, knowledgeable network of dance and arts-management professionals is critical to the success and long-term stability of new artists. Of the artists entering the Resident Artist Program, 95% will become distinctly marketable companies and/or artists, capable of strategically and independently managing all aspects of business and creative production.
The Resident Artist Program is assessed by formal evaluation four times each year. Evaluations are completed by The Center’s artistic/administrative leaders in collaboration with each resident artist, and are used to determine each artist’s success/growth in the following areas: creative, financial, business management/leadership and overall company development. Evaluations are also used to identify areas where program participants may require additional support so that collaborative plans of action may be developed. Program success is additionally determined by a separate annual evaluation that measures the degree of independence achieved by each participating artist; the number of artists who out-grow the program and become independent arts organizations is a direct measure of program success.
Nao Dance Collective was accepted into the Resident Artist Program in August of 2008. Less than 6 months later, the company presented its first full-scale dance work, produced by the Resident Artist Program. Soon after, the company was receiving professional bookings with feature stories in Orlando Arts Magazine and Orlando Home & Leisure Magazine. Through the Resident Artist Program, the company's leaders are now equipped with business and creative tools that will lead them toward sustainable industry success. Today, Nao Dance Collective maintains its own black box theatre and operates as an arts organization independent of The Center for Contemporary Dance.
Since 2001, the New Works Program has brought more than 220 new contemporary dance works to the stage, reaching over 10,000 diverse audience members in the Central Florida area. Works produced through the program must be of social, anthropological, cultural or historical relevance and range from small experimental showcases to large-scale productions that reflect the cultural and creative diversity of our community. Each year, works produced through the program draw powerful media attention, and directly support more than 220 exceptional artists in fields that include dance, visual arts, technical design, music and writing. Over the past ten years, the program has supported the production of new works from Moore Dance Project, U-Turn Dance Company, Patelworks Dance Theater, Nao Dance Collective, Emotions Dance Company, DRIP, Yow Dance and several independent choreographers. Ticket revenue generated from each new work is used to partially replenish funding for the New Works Program.
Emerging choreographers and companies supported by the New Works Program demonstrate a commitment to producing diverse, relevant work that offers unique perspectives in a particular theme, culture or sociological issue. New works are intended to educate audiences about the traditions of contemporary dance, cultivate attendance at future contemporary dance events, and inspire new thought on a particular topic. For 2011, 100% of the artists supported by the program publicly presented at least one new dance work. Surveys from audience members indicate that 23% were newly introduced to contemporary dance through the presented work, and 100% expressed a desire to experience more contemporary dance presentations like the one attended. 82% of all audience members stated they had learned something new about history or culture through the attended program.
One of the most difficult challenges faced by emerging dance artists is the staging of new and important works due to prohibitive production costs, including the securing of rehearsal and performance space, costuming, set design, marketing and artist/production team compensation. Through direct funding and well-established community partnerships, the New Works Program gives emerging choreographers and dance companies access to necessary resources that allow them to primarily focus on creative process and product, without the added burden of discovering required funding to achieve artistic goals. Of the emerging choreographers and dance companies selected for annual support by the New Works Program, 100% will showcase at least one new work within a given funding year.
The New Works Program is assessed by formal evaluation at the start, mid-point and close of each timeline established for each new work. Evaluations are completed by The Center’s artistic/administrative leaders in collaboration with each supported artist, and are used to assess and address: achievement of established project goals, program impact, challenges/solutions, budget management, creative management and future project support. Program success is additionally determined through audience surveys.
At the end of 2011, 100% of the 6 emerging dance companies supported by the New Works Program publicly presented at least one new dance work. Surveys from audience members indicate that 23% were newly introduced to contemporary dance through the presented work, and 100% expressed a desire to experience more contemporary dance presentations like the one attended. 82% of all audience members stated they had learned something new about history or culture through the attended program.
The New Works Program made possible Moore Dance Project’s ‘Colours of Courage,’ which debuted in 2006 and has been presented annually through 2010. An artistic documentation of African-American history, ‘Colours of Courage’ has been presented throughout the state of Florida at theatres, public schools, corporate events and community celebrations. The performance meets Sunshine State Standards in African-American studies and has been used to educate more than 3,000 public school children about black history. The program has reached an additional 3.2 million viewers through public broadcasts on Orange-TV and SGTV. In 2011, Moore Dance Project debuted a new Black History program, 'Sacred Slave Stories,' also made possible by the New Works Program.
The budgets assigned to the Youth Scholarship/Pre-Professional Studies Program and Resident Artist Program represent benefit values, and no actual dollars are exchanged. Educators and administrators donate their time and talent to these programs to maintain their operation; in turn, program participants contribute back to the organization through work-study (pre-professional students) or class/workshop instruction (resident artists). One of the primary goals of the organization is to secure appropriate funding for these programs through private donations, grant funding and corporate sponsorship.
The primary goal of the organization is to develop a diverse, working Board of Directors with the talent and influence required to support the leadership team in enacting a multi-tiered strategy that includes:
The Board Development Committee is diligently working to discover new supporters for the organization and its activities are being given top priority by the organization’s leaders.
While the organization maintains a highly collaborative spirit where contributions from all team members are encouraged, limited resources necessitate the management of all programs and projects by the organization’s two co-founders, who also serve as artistic and executive director. With their full-time working hours primarily volunteered, the co-founders/directors remain steadfast in their commitment to the organization’s growth and have demonstrated that success does not require access to limitless resources; great achievements can be realized through creative management, collaboration and the harnessing of like-minded supporters of the organization. Even with limited resources the organization continues to:
>Produce history-making professional concerts that reflect the cultural and creative diversity of our community, including groundbreaking works that feature blind and deaf dancers, document African-American history, celebrate Indian culture and integrate the visual and movement arts
>Annually provide 1,000 Title I public school children access to innovative arts-education programs that integrate the dance arts with academic lessons in history, sociology and science
>Annually support 30 aspiring dancers through the Youth Scholarship Program, designed to give talented, underserved youth access to professional training and academic tutoring
>Host the area’s first formal Resident Artist Program, which has supported and mentored 7 of the area’s 9 established contemporary/modern dance companies
>Train dancers for successful entry into some of the most prestigious university dance programs in the nation
The company’s leaders are working to further maximize the organization’s impact and realize that, in order to do so, the following goals must remain top priority:
>Develop a working Board of Directors with the talent and influence required to support the organization in realizing its creative, strategic and financial goals
>Provide fair compensation for the current directors and an additional full-time director who will assist in maximizing the impact and effective management of current programs
>Secure greater funding from corporate sponsors, private donors and granting agencies; the organization is seeking a qualified Board Member to serve as Director of Development.
>Employ consistent and creative marketing strategies to bring greater community awareness to the organization and its mission; the organization is seeking a qualified Board Member to assist with the implementation of marketing strategies.
The organization’s Fundraising Plan, Marketing Plan, Management Succession Training Plan and Policies and Procedures are currently being refined and adjusted to include a pointed plan for meeting the above goals. These documents are expected to be completed by November 2011.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
The organization's top funding sources include:
2012 Major Contributors
To ensure financial growth and stability, key elements of the organization’s strategic financial plan involve:
1.) Collaborations with community partners (theatres, universities, fellow arts organizations, etc.) to reduce programming expenses and contribute to audience development.
2..) Ongoing consultation with a non-profit strategist who is assisting the organization to diversify revenue streams and secure additional corporate support, and
In order to achieve long-term investments in the contemporary dance arts, any and all contact with the public is viewed as both an opportunity to self-promote and a responsibility to educate. Whether the organization schedules post-show dialogues with performers or launches a new funding campaign, these efforts are strategically linked to what is socially, culturally and creatively relevant in the minds of the people. Ultimately, this strategy allows the organization to introduce contemporary dance to the public while setting the stage for an ongoing, mutually-beneficial relationship.
With this concept in hand, the organization is proactively cultivating audiences that support the organization, our industry and Central Florida’s cultural future. For example, The Center for Contemporary Dance purposefully showcases socially and culturally diverse dance works in order to:
1.) Increase the function of dance as a tool for evaluating history, preserving culture and promoting wellness, and
2.) Recruit deeper support from the widest possible audience base by presenting a broad spectrum of culturally identifiable dance works.
In doing so, The Center for Contemporary Dance is cultivating active relationships with the arts in our culture, increasing demand for and support of contemporary dance in Central Florida, and creating greater opportunities for administrative, artistic and organizational growth.
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