About

    ADI’s Future Artists Initiative (FAI) aims to address the lack of racial diversity in dance – one of the most critical issues facing the dance field today – by providing flexible scholarships that cover a myriad of needs and offer multi-year support.

    FAI provides significant support to a group of racially diverse students who are pursuing pre-professional dance training with awards of up to $5,000 per year to students nominated by pre-professional dance schools and selected by ADI. FAI scholarships supplement other scholarship awards to offset costs that would otherwise prevent the student from studying dance (tuition, housing, transportation, clothing, shoes, etc.) and continue throughout the awardee’s pre-professional training.

    ADI thanks Dance/USA and The International Association of Blacks in Dance for their input developing the FAI program and assistance selecting and inviting schools.


    Fall 2016 Application Process

    ADI is inviting nominations of up to 10 students each (a maximum of 2 students from each age group – 12-13, 14-15, 16, 17, 18) from over 40 schools across the U.S.

    • Applications available: March 1, 2016
    • Deadlines:
      • School Application Deadline: Friday, April 15, 2016.
        No application will be accepted after 11:59PM EST on Friday, April 15, 2016.
      • Parent/Guardian Application Deadline: Sunday, May 15, 2016.
        No application will be accepted after 11:59PM EST on Sunday, May 15, 2016.
    • Awardees Notified: June 15, 2016
    • Awardees Announced: August 2016

    Criteria and Award
    Nominated students will be assessed based on the following criteria:

    • demonstrate exceptional talent
    • have an excellent work ethic
    • show promise to excel in the professional dance field, and
    • communicate a need for financial assistance to access high-quality dance training
    • During the Fall 2016 application cycle, a minimum of 8 students will be awarded FAI scholarships. The maximum scholarship award is $5,000 per student per application cycle. Funds will be distributed to the nominating school to supplement otherwise available scholarships provided by the school and other sources. FAI funds may cover remaining tuition costs and/or meet transportation, housing, or dance clothing needs. Provided the student continues pre-professional training, awardees will continue to receive $5,000 per school year throughout their pre-professional training (through age 18).

      **If you would like your school to be invited to recommend candidates during next year’s application cycle, please email Steven Skerritt-Davis, at futureartists@americandance.org.

    Research

    The lack of racial diversity in the professional ranks of the American dance field has dominated conversations about dance over the past several years. In the summer of 2015, ADI undertook a research effort to better understand the issue from the perspective of schools, students, and families through surveys sent to over 600 U.S. dance schools and interviews with leaders from schools that represent a broad range of training opportunities and geographic locations. According to the over 60 respondent schools in 25 states, costs of tuition, supplies (clothing, shoes, etc.), and transportation ranked as the greatest challenges that low-income families face in accessing dance training. The lack of racial diversity in professional role models and mentors arose from the data as another important issue.


    Average ranking of various barriers to studying dance

    All schools surveyed said that they offer some form of financial assistance (merit or need-based scholarships, work/study, dance clothes/shoes, etc.). However, over 82% report that they cannot meet all requests for financial assistance, and half of those schools report meeting 25% or less of the requests they receive.

    Percentage of annual requests for need-based financial assistance that schools are able to accommodate

    These survey results, combined with interviews and conversations with school leaders, parents, and professional dancers, clearly demonstrate a need for financial assistance not only for tuition but also for associated costs of dance training. In addition, the need for reliable scholarship support (multi-year rather than annual awards) was raised repeatedly, and mentorship was an issue of particular concern.

    FAI Awardees

    2016-17 FAI applicants have been notified of decisions and awardees will be announced in August 2016.

    In addition to scholarships awarded through the school nomination process, FAI supports two named scholarships and provided travel scholarships for participants for the International Association of Blacks in Dance 1st Annual Ballet Audition in Denver in January 2016.


    ADI Scholarship for The Washington Ballet’s Studio Company

    Nardia Boodoo from Baltimore, Maryland attended the Baltimore School for The Arts from 2004-09, the North Carolina School for The Arts 2009-10, and was a Professional Training Program (PTP) program dancer at Dance Theatre of Harlem 2010-11 on full scholarship. She has danced at Jacob’s Pillow in 2011 alongside a select group chosen to work with Stanton Welch on performing an original piece. Boodoo was a trainee at Joffrey Ballet in Chicago under the direction of Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik, where she performed in company pieces such as Don Quixote, Infra, The Nutcracker and was the lead in Choreographers of Color winner Jeremy McQueen’s Black Iris as well as various works by Alexei Kremnev. With The Washington Ballet, Boodoo has performed in many full-length ballets such as Giselle, Peter Pan and The Nutcracker, as well as Aaron Jackson’s Abstract Pieces.

    Darion Flores was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He began his training in both ballet and tap at the early age of 4. Flores studied classical ballet at the Hartt School under the direction of Miguel Campaneria before relocating to attend The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Upon graduating, Darion joined the Ellison Ballet Professional Training Program in New York, NY in order to further his classical ballet training . Flores has been fortunate enough to study with teachers such as Susan Jaffe, Misha Tchoupakov, Anne-Marie Holmes and many more. Darion has also received full scholarships to Dance Theatre of Harlem, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Boston Ballet summer intensives. He recently took part in the show So You Think You Can Dance as a season 12 top 20 finalist. Flores now looks forward to joining The Washington Ballet as a studio company member for the 2015-16 season.


    ADI Michael L. and Pamela Bjerknes Scholarship for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theater

    Luigi Crispino
    Born in Naples, Italy, in April 17th 1997, Luigi Crispino began his ballet training at the early age of 8. In 2005, he joined the Ballet school of San Carlo’s Theater where he graduated in June 2015 under the direction of Anna Razzi. While at the Ballet School of San Carlo’s Theater, he performed leading roles such as Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Prince Charming in Snow White, and choreography by Anna Razzi, and Capitan Uk in Peter Pan. He has also danced in Napoli Pas De Six, Sleeping Beauty, Suite Baroque (Choreography by Dino Verga), E=Merce Cunningham (Choreography by Dino Verga), Hymns of Europe, Pinocchio (Choreography by Anna Razzi), the Prince Igor and Orpheus and Eurydice (choreography by Karole Armitage). In 2014 he participated in the Prix Rome Jia Ruskaja by Italy’s Foundation of the National Academy of Dance. From 2012 to 2015 he danced in the Gala of the Ballet of San Carlo’s Theater. In 2015 he danced the role of Prince Charming in Snow White in the Festival Renato Fiumicelli 34th Edition. Luigi had the opportunity to work with the ballet company of the San Carlo’s Theater during the November 2014 season for Nutcracker (Choreography by Alessandra Panzavolta) and in April 2015 for Giselle (Choreography by Ludmila Semenyaka). In August 2015 he won the prize for promising young talent in the Premio Danza Capri International. In the summer of 2015 he was awarded a scholarship to attend American Ballet Theater’s summer intensive. He now attends the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theater with a full scholarship.


    Support

    Donate to the Future Artists Initiative and help ADI provide flexible scholarships to talented young dance students.

    Level and Benefits Your donation can provide
    $5,000 – Champion
    – Named Scholarship
    – Tickets to performances and exclusive ADI Events
    – Opportunity to correspond with Awardee
    – Personalized Awardee updates
    – ADI tote bag and sunglasses
    – Listing in ADI performance programs
    – Listing on ADI’s website
    Comprehensive sponsorship that supports one FAI recipient’s clothing, supplies, travel, and competition fees for one year

    Multi-year commitments support one FAI recipient over multiple years

    $2,500 – Benefactor
    – Tickets to performances and exclusive ADI Events
    – Opportunity to correspond with Awardee
    – Personalized Awardee updates
    – ADI tote bag and sunglasses
    – Listing in ADI performance programs
    – Listing on ADI’s website
    – One-year’s tuition for one or more FAI recipient(s);
    – Housing expenses for one or more FAI recipient(s); or
    – Summer tuition and housing for one or more FAI recipient(s)
    $1,000 – Patron
    – Opportunity to correspond with Awardee
    – Personalized Awardee updates
    – ADI tote bag and sunglasses
    – Listing in ADI performance programs
    – Listing on ADI’s website
    – Travel expenses for one FAI recipient; or
    – Clothing/supplies for one female or two male FAI recipient(s) for one year
    $500 – Sponsor
    – Personalized Awardee updates
    – ADI tote bag and sunglasses
    – Listing in ADI performance programs
    – Listing on ADI’s website
    – Shoes and/or dance clothes for one female FAI recipient for one year
    – Shoes and/or dance clothing for one male FAI recipient for one year
    $250 – Supporter
    – ADI tote bag and sunglasses
    – Listing in ADI performance programs
    – Listing on ADI’s website
    Dance Shoes and supplies for one male FAI recipient for one year
    $100 – Friend – Listing in ADI performance programs
    – Listing on ADI’s website
    Competition fees for one FAI recipient


    The Future Artists Initiative was made possible by funding from Solange MacArthur, ADI’s most important and supportive contributor. It was her dedication to dance that has allowed ADI to thrive and grow.