Funding Bodies: Five Decades of Dance Making at the National Endowment for the Arts

Sarah Wilbur


Wesleyan University Press

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How NEA funding policies have shaped the field of dance

Funding Bodies is the first scholarly study of the National Endowment for the Arts to focus specifically on dance. It departs from a choreographic question: How have federal grant guidelines rewarded specific patterns of dance practice and production? Drawing upon archival documentation of NEA narratives, program eligibility guidelines, and standards of evaluation as well as testimony from past and present insiders, Wilbur's work theorizes endowment as an economic and practical struggle by people with differential power and competing investments in production and professionalization of dance. With a wealth of detail and previously untold stories, this institutional history brings clarity to the complex processes that underlie the continuing struggle to achieve equitable resource distribution and parity of opportunity in American dance. An online teaching guide is available.