BIG Grants Equals BIG Dance

Sixty-six grants, totaling more than $1.3 million, were distributed in the National Endowment for the Arts' second round of 2014 Art Works grants. Here are some of the dance projects that those grants will help fund.

Former Dance Theatre of Harlem principal Donald Williams instructs a NORDC/NOBA student

NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance in New Orleans, Louisiana--a partnership between the New Orleans Recreational Development Commission and the New Orleans Ballet Association, now in its 21st year--received $50,000 to continue two tuition-free youth programs. One is an after-school open-track program for children ages 8 to 18. The second is for pre-professional students, ages 9 to 18, and requires an audition.

Ballet Tech students

The grant will also fund the organization's movement program for seniors. "When NORDC was rebuilding after Katrina, they asked us to implement a program for senior citizens," says Jenny Hamilton, executive director of NOBA. "Now we have 150 people in five NORDC centers who come twice a week for an hour of stretching and moving."

Ballet Tech was awarded $50,000 to continue its program of tuition-free ballet classes, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Education. Since 1978, Ballet Tech students in grades four through eight have received both pre-professional dance training and standardized academic education. This year, Ballet Tech will partner with the Professional Performing Arts School to open the program to high school students.

The Limón Company in "Psalm"


With its $50,000 grant, the José Limón Dance Foundation will reconstruct four works by Limón to be presented at an international Limón Festival in October 2015 at The Joyce Theater in New York: Dialogues (1951), The Traitor (1954), Orfeo (1972) and Carlota (1972). "Even the diehard Limón fans haven't seen some of these," says Juan José Escalante, executive director of the Limón Foundation. "We're also looking to invite several companies that have Limón pieces in their repertories to come to New York and perform those pieces in the festival." The festival will coincide with the company's 70th anniversary.





Photos from top: by Jeff Strout, courtesy of NOBA; by Joe Rayome, courtesy of Ballet Tech; by Douglas Cody, courtesy of José Limón Dance Foundation

Betty Jones in The Moor's Pavane, shot for Dance Magazine's "Dancers You Should Know" series in 1955. Zachary Freyman, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow

An anchor of the Humphrey-Limón legacy for more than 70 years, Betty Jones died at her home in Honolulu on November 17, 2020. She remained active well into her 90s, most recently leading a New York workshop with her husband and partner, Fritz Ludin, in October 2019.

Betty May Jones was born on June 11, 1926 in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and moved with her family to the Albany, New York, area, where she began taking dance classes. Just after she turned 15 in 1941, she began serious ballet study at Jacob's Pillow, which was under the direction of Anton Dolin and Alicia Markova for the season. Over the next three summers as a scholarship student, Jones expanded her range and became an integral part of Jacob's Pillow. Among her duties was working in the kitchen, where her speedy efficiency earned her the nickname of "Lightning."

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