CDF solicits an open call for proposals from Chicago choreographers. 


Four dancemakers are selected from a pool of applicants to participate in the year-long CDF Lab Artist program. Each selected artist receives $15,000 to support the research, development and presentation of a new work.


The 2015 Lab Artist application open until February 11, 2015 at 5pm. 

Visit this link to access and submit the online form.





CDF selects Lab Artists based on their artistic vision and potential for creative growth. Strong candidates are active in their field and developing a distinctive trajectory in their work.  Lab Artists possess the skills and experience to undertake a project of extended scale, new discovery, or deeper exploration, and the capacity to benefit from an environment of artistic interchange. They are able to articulate their needs, use independent research time, and make the most of the opportunities to work with the consortium members and other artists participating in the program. 





CDF offers broad support to selected Lab Artists for in-depth research and development periods that culminate with the production of a new dance work. These three distinct phases of dedicated research, development and production, are key elements to the program. Throughout the year-long grant period, Lab Artists come together with one another and members of the consortium for periodic structured open roundtable discussions. These gatherings require an additional time commitment. The roundtable discussions provide Lab Artists with the opportunity to advance their artistic vision, stimulate new approaches to their own and one another's choreography, as well as build a broader network of colleagues and peers.




CDF has defined three distinct phases to give the program a working structure. Each phase is set within a general time frame. Each Lab Artist will have a unique approach to developing his or her own detailed time frame for these project phases.


Research / July  - November

This “idea phase” is intended to provide the Lab Artists with extended time and support for investigating new conceptual territory. Bi-monthly roundtable discussions begin on a regular schedule in the Research Phase and continue throughout the grant period. Lab Artists submit a mid-term report at the end of this phase.


Development / December – March

During the Development Phase, the Lab Artists apply the insight gained through their research and ongoing discussions to the creation of a new work. Work-in-progress-showings and other activities, as desired by the Lab Artists, begin during this phase. Regular roundtable discussions may become less frequent as time needed to develop the new work increases.


Production / April - Summer

The Production Phase pertains specifically to the time immediately preceding, including, and following the scheduled performance dates. CDF encourages this, and makes every effort to structure support in ways that are relevant to each artist’s individual process.



Award Cycle: 

* February 11: Due date for first-round applications

* February 23: CDF invites select candidates to submit second-round proposals

* April 1-14: Finalists meet with CDF Program Director

* May 8: Due date for second-round applications

* June 5: CDF announces four Lab Artist Awardees for 2015

* July: Lab Artist cash granting and supporting programs begin




The Lab Artist Application process is done in two parts: an open call for proposals followed by a second, expanded proposal, from selected finalists. Proposals are reviewed by a panel made up of local and national Artists, Presenters, Educators, and Arts Administrators.


Here's what we're looking for:


• Contact Information 

Applicant's name, postal address, email address, phone number.


• Artist Profile (500 words max)

Describe your background, your career as a dance artist. What is meaningful to you now? How do you envision your work over the next five years? Describe your capability to carry out the proposed project. How do you see this project potentially impacting your career, your community, your audiences or you as an individual? 


If you are associated with a dance company you are strongly encouraged to develop your own personal statements concerning artistic goals and project plans. While Chicago Dancemakers Forum grants may be applied to artistic work associated with a dance company, the purpose of the funding is for the support of your individual creative development.


• Project Narrative (500 words max)

Describe your objectives for this CDF opportunity. What specific research practices, concepts and/or issues would you like to explore? If you’d like to engage work involving collaborators, design the proposal to reflect the strength of the collaboration.


• Why CDF Now? (300 words max)

Why is this program of value to you at this time?  Please express your reasons for wanting to be selected and include what you hope to get out of the program. What do you have to offer an environment of artistic interchange? In what ways you could use the structure and funding of CDF to advance your work?


• Video Samples (with accompanying Information) 

Please provide a link to one representative sample of work, hosted on Vimeo, of up to 3 min in length. Please do not submit work sample DVDs: only Vimeo submissions will be viewed. Please submit only one video link. No more than 3 minutes of work will be viewed. Please provide a cue time for the section of video that you would like the panel to see. Uncued videos will be viewed from the beginning. Highly edited works created especially for television, commercial distribution or theatrical exhibition are discouraged, except in cases where the applicant’s project plan includes a dance media component.





Degree-seeking students are not eligible for this award. Only Chicago-area residents are eligible to apply. Artists previously funded by the CDF Lab Artist Program are not eligible to apply. Permanent equipment purchases are not allowed with the grant money.




The 2015 Lab Artist application is available online starting on January 1, 2015. The Lab Artist Application is an online form. You cannot save and return to an application in progress. Please compose your answers elsewhere before pasting them into the form and submitting. Visit this link to access and submit the online form. 



If you have questions about the Lab Artist Program, please contact Victoria Bradford, CDF Program Director at:




The Lab Artist Application is an online form. You cannot save and return to an application in progress. Please compose your answers elsewhere before pasting them into the form and submitting.

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