APPLICATIONS OPEN: Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant for Queer Women(+) Dance Artists


For Queer Women(+) Dance Artists Now Open!
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Above: Hollerin Space, 2019 Yaa Asantewaa Grant Winner. HOTFOOT THEORIZING: cotton step| Still from work in progress
Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant For
Queer Women(+) Dance Artists

The Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant for Queer Women(+) Dance Artists is a $7,000 grant awarded to US-based artists for making cutting-edge dance and movement-based performance work. Queer|Art strongly encourages self-identified women, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary artists to apply. Named in honor of visionary dance curator, critic, and educator Eva Yaa Asantewaa, the grant is administered through Queer|Art by a panel of queer women and nonbinary judges and seeks to highlight the important contributions queer women and nonbinary artists have made to dance throughout history.

Applications close October 4th. 


Above: Eva Yaa Asantewaa, image by Deneka Peniston
Eva Yaa Asantewaa is Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney, New York’s acclaimed center for dance and social activism. She won the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance as a veteran writer, curator and community educator. Since 1976, she has contributed writing on dance to Dance MagazineThe Village VoiceSoHo Weekly NewsGay City NewsThe Dance EnthusiastTime Out New York, and other publications.

Ms. Yaa Asantewaa joined the curatorial team for Danspace Project’s “Platform 2016: Lost and Found” and created the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds, an evening of group improvisation featuring 21 black women and gender-nonconforming performers. Her cast was awarded a 2017 Bessie for Outstanding Performer. As EYA Projects, she has begun partnerships with organizations such as Gibney, Abrons Arts Center, Dance/NYC, BAX, and Dancing While Black to curate and facilitate Long Table conversations on topics of concern in the dance/performance community.

With this award, we seek to record and honor the creative innovation and labor of queer women and nonbinary dance artists.  To support and revere our artists for exactly and completely who they are; so they know a fierce community of peers, elders, and ancestors has got their back; and to make our world a safer, more empowering place for queer artists and, in truth, for all artists and for all people.”

— Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Torya Beard is a New York-based director, creative consultant/strategist, choreographer, and producer specializing in dance and theater. Her curvy professional path reflects a deep curiosity about and belief in the boundless possibilities at the intersection of creativity, artistic expression, and social justice. She studied dance at The University of Michigan and toured as a dancer with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, David Rousseve/Reality, The Kevin Wynn Collection, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance, Deeply Rooted Chicago Dance Theatre, the National Tour of Donald Byrd’s The Harlem Nutcracker, and was a featured dancer in the film “Idlewild.” She made her Broadway debut in "Disney’s The Lion King" (swing, dance captain, understudy Sarabi) and her favorite regional credit is "The Wiz," at Arkansas Repertory Theater. 

Ni’Ja Whitson is a Queer Nonbinary Trans multidisciplinary artist, Creative Capital and two-time "Bessie" Awardee, wound and word worker, referred to as “majestic” by The New York Times, and recognized by Brooklyn Magazine as a culture influencer. They engage transdisciplinarity through a critical intersection of the sacred and conceptual in Black, Queer, and Transembodiedness, site, science, body and spirit. Whitson is an 18th St. Artist in Residence (Los Angeles), Center for Performance Research artist in residence (NYC), featured choreographer of the 2018 CCA Biennial, 2018-2020 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Fellow, and invited presenter at the 2019 international Tanzkongress festival in Dresden, Germany. 

Leah Wilks is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer originally hailing from North Carolina. She has taught and shared her work in a variety of locations including the American Dance Festival, Elon University, University of Michigan, Ponderosa Tanzland festival, Gibney Dance, the queer dance intensive Excessive Realness, the Hemispheric Institute’s Convergence - Toronto, and PROTEO|media+performance’s Post/Futures Festival. Leah holds an MFA in Dance and a certificate in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she received the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for her pedagogical and mentorship work. Leah’s current research revolves around thanatology (the study of death and dying practices), memory, queer systems of horizontal care, and the creation of monumental spaces through movement.  

ALSO: Applications for the
Illuminations Grant Close Soon! 

The Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists is a new, annual $10,000 grant, that sheds light on the under-recognized contributions of Black trans women visual artists and draws attention to an existing body of work. Judges for the 2020 grant cycle include Thelma GoldenJuliana Huxtable, Texas Isaiah, and Kiyan Williams. Qualified artists must be self-identified Black trans women and trans femmes working in visual art and based in the United States.

Applications close August 30th!

This program is made possible with support from the Tides Foundation.

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