Philadelphia Dance Projects supports contemporary dance through projects that encourage artists and audiences to more fully participate and engage in the experience and pursuit of dance as an evolving form. PDP achieves its mission by presenting stimulating performances, workshops, classes, a film series, and dialogs and forums for artists, aspiring artists, students and a broad-based audience. PDP constantly surveys the contemporary dance world, keeping a close eye on current trends in content and style, while actively engaging in and appreciating the depth of work being created today which plumbs dance precursors’ traditions.

PDP Presents

In 2009, Philadelphia Dance Projects launched Philadelphia Dance Projects Presents, a presenting series featuring dance performances, workshops, and “Informances” by individual dance artists and companies. This new dance-focused series is proving to be a great success in presenting adventuresome contemporary dance in a broader local and global context.

Motion Pictures

Motion Pictures is a PDP presentation that explores how film and video serve as natural collaborative medium for dance, highlighting the power of image and motion in both. Over the years Motion Pictures has featured experimental and innovative shorts, documentaries, “moc”umentaries and animations. There have been documentaries about Pina Bausch, Maya Deren, Carmen Amaya, Geoffrey Holder and Carmen DeLavallade Mark Morris and the Paris Opera Ballet along with imaginative ground breaking work by Pooh Kaye, Hilary Harris and Lloyd Newson among many others.

Education Projects

PDP Dance Artists Residency

For over 11 years, PDP placed an ongoing educational project in high schools in Philadelphia providing students the opportunity to study contemporary dance techniques with some of Philadelphia’s best professional dancers and choreographers and to take field trips to see dance performances. For many young people it has been their first foray into dance, both through interaction with creative artists as well as attending a performance in a professional theater.

Local Dance History Project

2010 Performances, forum & workshop:
In 2010 Philadelphia Dance Projects initiated The Local Dance History Project which took an informative look at the development of contemporary dance in Philadelphia through the work of six dance and movement artists, who were among the first to explore post modern, improvisation and performance genres in the city during the late 1970s and early 80s.

In 1980, composer Dan Martin and dancers Michael Biello, Jano Cohen, Terry Fox, Wendy Hammarstrom, and Ishmael Houston-Jones were featured in Dance & Dancers, a sold-out presentation at the Harold Prince Theater at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. As part of PDP Presents 2010, five of the six dancers reunited to reconstruct their works, which were performed  by a younger generation of Philadelphia dance artists (a slide show of Hammarstrom’s work was presented during a Local Dance History Project Forum).


Local Dance History Project from terry fox on Vimeo.

under construction

2013 Under Construction:

The Local Dance History Project is currently being designed to go online as an interpretive and interactive website providing a broader interactive archive of Philadelphia dance artists and their history- Launch date 2014-15. Our mission is to affirm the presence of dance artists in the rich cultural history of Philadelphia’s recent past, present, and future. There is a need for a wider audience to be informed of the transformations in Philadelphia dance in recent history and this project may prove an effective way of communicating that. The site will be coordinated to be part of the Special Collections Research Center at Temple University Libraries.

Night Kitchen Interactive has created design treatments for the web.

LDHP design for new website

To start– the next phase of this project will focus on individual dancers in Philadelphia circa 1975-85: Terry Beck, Michael Biello & Dan Martin, Jac Carley, Terry Fox, Tonio Guerra, Wendy Hammarstrom, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Steve Kreickhaus and Melanie Stewart with the intent to add more dance artists forward and backward in time….

An interactive Timeline and Share Your Stories will allow artists and audience to place themselves and their commentary into the continuum.

LDHP design for new website timeline

SHARE YOUR STORY. Do you have stories to share now? Help us identify more artists and their works. Please forward comments to with “LDHP” in the subject line, so we can fold them into this history project.

Nicole Topich and Barbara Tait are Local Dance History Project’s Archive Associates.
To date this project has been supported by the William Penn Foundation,  the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Dolfinger McMahon Foundation, and the PA Humanities Council, with input and assistance from Margery Sly, Director of the SCRC Temple University.

PDP is currently fundraising for this unique Project….
We need $$$$ to make it happen!!!
Please make a contribution to PDP for the LDHP.

Local Dance History Project cataloguePurchase the 2010 “Re-Generation” catalog commemorating the Local Dance History Project.  Click on cover to see excerpts. The 36 page catalog has beautiful photos and insightful commentary by the over 18 artists who participated. Make a $15 or more contribution and we’ll send you the catalog.

Contribute and get a LDHP catalog

All Contributions are welcome!