Middlebury

Dance Program Receives Major Grant from Mellon Foundation [Video]

December 5, 2013

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury has received a $310,000 performing arts grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support “Movement Matters,” a multi-year interdisciplinary endeavor to bring emerging artists in the field of dance together with Middlebury faculty and students for creative and curricular development.

Application information for Mellon Artist candidates

“This is a wonderful opportunity that will have far-reaching impact on our dance program and the broader curriculum,” said Pieter Broucke, director of the arts. “The Mellon Foundation has been an invaluable source of inspiration and support to Middlebury for decades. We’re looking forward to this partnership with the foundation’s Performing Arts program.”

Assistant Professor of Dance and Chair of the Dance Program Christal Brown will direct the project, which has been described as an “exploration of how human bodies literally and metaphorically shape our physical and political worlds.” Although the project will be based in the dance program, Brown says it will benefit all Middlebury students.

Video: Assistant Professor of Dance Christal Brown discusses the Mellon grant.
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The 3-year interdisciplinary grant will connect traditional scholarship with movement research across campus.

“One of the most exciting aspects of this project is the potential to expand ideas about how we teach the liberal arts,” said Brown. “Regardless of academic discipline, dance and movement offer deep insight into how we think about ourselves, both individually and as part of the larger human community.”

The three-phase project will bring a group of emerging movement artists to campus for Winter Term 2015, where they will collaborate with teams of faculty members in developing workshops around shared research interests. One of the artists will be appointed for a two-year residency as the Mellon Interdisciplinary Choreographer at Middlebury (MIC). The MIC will do research and work with groups throughout campus to develop creative collaborations in and out of the classroom. The MIC will also serve as the voice of the current climate of the field, as the dance program transitions through the retirement of two longtime and well-regarded faculty members, and suggest ways for creative expansion of the program. 

Brown says the Mellon grant has the potential to make Middlebury a magnet for up and coming dance innovators. “This is an investment in the field at large,” she said, “which we hope will lay the groundwork for our dance program to grow into a hub for creativity and innovation among emerging movement artists.”“Movement Matters” builds on several Middlebury initiatives already underway for thinking creatively about the future of the liberal arts. “As a campus, we are embracing curricular innovation on a broad scale in many different ways,” said Broucke. “Faculty, students and administrators have been encouraged to define new ways to marshal our unique assets and create transformative educational experiences.”