The mission of Philadelphia Dance Projects is to support 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, and forums for artists, aspiring artists, students and a broad-based audience. It keeps its eyes open to see current trends in content and style, as well as appreciate the depth of work being created today which plumbs dance precursors’ traditions. In this, both process and its outcome are important.
Sandra Parks, Curt Hayworth, Alexis Pappas, James Shelley, Jonathan Stein, Tommie-Waheed Evans.
Members Emeritus: Joan Myers Brown.
Contracted for PDP
Director Dance TAG (Teaching Artists Group) Mady Cantor, Chairperson Dance Dept at Bryn Mawr College
Publicist Deborah Fleischman, Fleischman Gerber & Associates
From its inception in 1993, Philadelphia Dance Projects (PDP) has engaged stellar dance artists many of whom were enlarging the modern and postmodern vocabularies with personal and or cultural explorations in both technique and content.
Under the aegis of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 1993-96 the Projects included local, national and international guests in creative residencies and performances. When The Pillow concluded its aegis, Terry Fox, then PDP Coordinator, and Joan Myers Brown Executive Director of Philadanco, a renowned repertory company in the original PDP, decided to keep what was the most valuable of the Projects for the dance community at that time. PDP, as an independent organization, was set in motion to provide creative and learning opportunities that most often involved artist to artist interaction. These activities included workshops and classes, commissioning work and providing low cost rehearsal space along with several presentations including a photographic exhibition, film series, forums and performances. PDP incorporated in 1999.
In 2008 PDP initiated a pilot series of “Informances” (artist/audience conversations with live performance and video presentations) which paved the way for a more fully produced presenting series, PDP Presents, DANCE UP CLOSE launched in 2009. From 2009 to 2015 PDP Presents successfully produced an annual series, DANCE UP CLOSE, that highlighted local dance artists on the same program roster as their national and international peers. The series grew in attendance and garnered positive acclaim from both press and audience. Other PDP presenting programs, SCUBA National Touring Network for Dance, Motion Pictures and workshops and classes, and Informances were incorporated into DANCE UP CLOSE to provide a full and rich program offering. PDP’s series was unique in its dedication to Philadelphia dance artists by providing production, learning and touring opportunities. DANCE UP CLOSE re-started in 2020.
As corollary to presenting, PDP maintains educational Projects each year. Through DanceTAG (Teaching Artists Group) a collegial gathering of teaching artists can share movement ideas, information, discussion, and networking. Artists at all stages of their teaching participate in these free sessions, which tend to be very inspiring and relevant for artistic inquiry as well as teaching. Since 2002 PDP has placed a substantive dance artist residency in a Philadelphia public high school.
In addition PDP has developed two artists history initiatives; the Local Dance History Project and the Old City Arts History Project with the intent to reveal the impact of dance artists in contributing to culture and urban development. Archiving this history is in progress in partnership with the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. PDP has created a digital archive of 11 Philadelphia artists circa 1980’s and created an archival website, OldCityArtsHistory.com.
Dance artists are engaged in a “time sensitive” transitory art form that merits support and response in the present. The sampling of Projects highlighted here from PDP’s history illustrate a responsiveness to community and a dedication to consider the value of dance in our society, with an emphasis on contemporary exploration. PDP’s programs serve artists, audiences, and students in various locales throughout the city. The projects greatly enhance the capacity of dancemaking, and the presence of dance in Philadelphia, thus fulfilling our mission