Five Decades of Dance Making at the National Endowment for the Arts
Funding Bodies is the first scholarly study of NEA 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 the production and professionalization of dance. The book's structural critique highlights internal debates around funding policies—with an emphasis on inclusion, race, region, and class—during the first half-century of the Endowment's history. Practically-speaking, its cultural analysis also credits the bureaucratic angling of dance grant makers from the early "boom" years through successive administrations and economic highs and lows. A history of dance funding tools and their practical use by people in power, Funding Bodies traces the disciplinary force of US arts policy through the workplace performances of generations of dance organizers. 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.
"Funding Bodies is essential reading for scholars of dance and performance studies, the history of US arts funding, and US arts policy. Wilbur productively complicates extant histories of the NEA using impeccable archival and ethnographic research, exemplary theorizing of policy making as choreography, and engaging prose."~Judith Hamera, professor of dance and American studies, Princeton University
"For those wanting to understand how dance moves from the studio into public consciousness, this book is indispensable. Funding Bodies offers a compelling assessment, showing how dance bureaucrats and philanthropists have choregraphed the U.S. dance infrastructure, affecting the dancers we see on stage and how we value them."~Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, Ph.D, associate professor, performance as public practice, Co-Editor, Artivate: a Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts
Publication of this open monograph was the result of Duke University’s participation in TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem), a collaboration of the Association of American Universities, the Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries. TOME aims to expand the reach of long-form humanities and social science scholarship including digital scholarship. Additionally, the program looks to ensure the sustainability of university press monograph publishing by supporting the highest quality scholarship and promoting a new ecology of scholarly publishing in which authors’ institutions bear the publication costs. Funding ˙from Duke University Libraries made it possible to open this publication to the world.
This book is available through a Creative Commons license CC-by-NC