North Carolina Dance Theatre to present new works with $1.1 million from Knight Foundation

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- (Feb. 6, 2014) -- A new $1.1 million gift will help the North Carolina Dance Theatre expand its repertoire, furthering its mission to provide innovative programming that enriches, educates and challenges Charlotte.

The funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will help North Carolina Dance Theatre acquire contemporary pieces and masterworks, enabling it to develop new audiences and more deeply engage current patrons.

Many artistic groups have struggled to connect with audiences in recent years, but North Carolina Dance Theatre has built a reputation for presenting fresh takes on traditional works. Two recent examples are last fall’s presentation of “Carmen,” which set the traditional opera during Charlotte’s textile mill strikes, and its Innovative Works Series, which pairs intimate dance performances with works by other local visual and performing artists.

As a result, the company has attracted young audience members, many of whom are between 35 and 45.

“Traditional ballet is changing every day. By presenting contemporary works that speak to diverse audiences and remounting older work in new ways, the North Carolina Dance Theatre will engage the community in a dialogue about dance, identity and the community’s sense of itself,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation, who announced the investment at a reception tonight.

A part of Knight Foundation’s funding, $100,000, will support North Carolina Dance Theatre’s Sustaining Star fund, to increase the weeks of employment for dancers, ensuring the company remains competitive in attracting and retaining top dance talent. It will also provide for expanded performances in Charlotte, enhancing the community’s cultural fabric and building the tradition of dance for multi-generational audiences.  

 “This grant helps generate new initiatives to grow audiences while remaining relevant and competitive with other companies throughout the United States,” said Douglas Singleton, North Carolina Dance Theatre executive director. “The additional support for the Sustaining Star fund invests in our greatest assets, our artists.”

This new investment builds on Knight Foundation’s contributions to North Carolina Dance Theatre, which now total $3.065 million. It includes early funding to ensure the Dance Theatre moved to Charlotte and developed an audience, followed by support to construct the Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance, a practice and performance space that opened in 2010 and is named for the company’s artistic directors.

The gift brings Knight Foundation’s investments in the arts in Charlotte to close to $15 million. Other recipients include the Levine Museum of the New South, for its new Latino New South project; WDAV’s “Concierto” classical music program, which broadcasts weekly in English and Spanish; Charlotte Symphony’s Knight Sounds series, which pairs music with digital and other artistic works; and Opera Carolina’s successful efforts to engage new audiences.

“At Knight Foundation, we believe in the power of the arts to not just challenge and inspire us, but to connect Charlotte residents to one another and to our city,” said Susan Patterson, Charlotte program director for Knight Foundation. “The North Carolina Dance Theatre project supports this effort while building on the artistic excellence of the company’s history.”

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

Contacts:

Anusha Alikhan, communications director, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org

Logan McSwain, director of communications and marketing, North Carolina Dance Theatre, 704-414-2765, LMcSwain@ncdance.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

News Source : North Carolina Dance Theatre to present new works with $1.1 million from Knight Foundation

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