Mellon Foundation donates funds for expanded Northwestern dance initiatives

Audrey Cheng

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation donated a $1.4 million grant Tuesday to fund dance studies postdoctoral fellowships and summer seminars at three top universities, including Northwestern.

The scholarships will be provided by the project “Dance Studies in/and the Humanities.” Other grant recipients include Stanford University and Brown University.

NU English, Theatre and Performance Studies Prof. Susan Manning is the grant’s project director. Manning said she began her initiative to apply for the grant in 2006 after learning about it from one of her graduate professors, who knew a member of the Mellon Foundation.

The inter-university idea was incorporated, Manning said, because she wanted to see dancers in other locations.

Stanford and Brown were chosen because they have similar values to NU – neither school has graduate or Ph.D. programs specifically in dance studies, but their administrators were very committed to the program’s initiatives, she said.

Manning said the program means a lot for the future of dance studies, as the number of students pursuing dance studies is increasing.

“The support of the Mellon Foundation was a real vote of confidence,” she said.

– Audrey Cheng