FUNDING BODIES: Salon Discussion and Book Launch with Duke Dance faculty member Sarah Wilbur


Register in advance for this webinar

Thursday, January 20, 2022 | 5-6pm EST | ZOOM | *FREE, registration required

Co-sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke Arts, and the Duke Dance Program


About the salon discussion:

Please join Assistant Professor of the Practice/Director of Graduate Studies Sarah Wilbur and esteemed colleagues in conversation about how arts funding bodies recruit and reward U.S. dance artists and organizers.

This online conversation focuses on Wilbur's recent book, Funding Bodies: Five Decades of Dance Making at the National Endowment for the Arts (Wesleyan University Press, 2021) and features commentary from the following arts labor researchers, whose expertise spans cultural traditions, geographical regions, and production contexts:


The panelists:

Sarah Wilbur

Sarah Wilbur (author) Assistant Professor of the Practice (dance) and Director of Graduate Studies, Duke University Dance Program.






Charlotte Canning

Charlotte Canning (University of Texas at Austin), Frank C. Erwin Ju. Centennial Professor in Drama, Professor, Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Professor/Head Oscar G. Brocket for Theatre History, Performance as Public Practice, author, Feminist Theatres in the USA: Staging Women's Experience (Routledge), The Most American Thing in America: Circuit Chataqua as Performance (U of Iowa Press), and On the Performance Front: US Theatre and Internationalism (Palgrave MacMillian).




Colleen Hooper

Colleen Hooper (Point Park University), Assistant Professor and Chair, Dance, public historian/CETA Scholar featured on the podcast Money on the Left and author, Dance: From Labor to Service (1935-1982), (forthcoming Oxford U Press).





Jasmine Mahmoud

Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud (University of Washington) Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Performance Studies, School of Drama, co-editor, Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Theatre and Performance (Northwestern U Press).





M Sy Uy

Michael Sy Uy (Harvard University) Allston Burr Resident Dean, Dunster House, Assistant Dean of Harvard College, Lecturer, Harvard Music Department, author, Ask The Experts: How Ford, Rockefeller and the NEA Changed American Music (Oxford U Press).






After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


About the book:

Funding Bodies book jacket

Funding Bodies is the first scholarly study of NEA to focus specifically on dance. It departs from a choreographic question: How have federal grant guidelines rewarded specific patterns of dance practice and production? Drawing upon archival documentation of NEA narratives, program eligibility guidelines, and standards of evaluation as well as testimony from past and present insiders, Wilbur's work theorizes endowment as an economic and practical struggle by people with differential power and competing investments in the production and professionalization of dance. The book's structural critique highlights internal debates around funding policies—with an emphasis on inclusion, race, region, and class—during the first half-century of the Endowment's history. Practically speaking, its cultural analysis also credits the bureaucratic angling of dance grant makers from the early "boom" years through successive administrations and economic highs and lows. A history of dance funding tools and their practical use by people in power, Funding Bodies traces the disciplinary force of US arts policy through the workplace performances of generations of dance organizers. With a wealth of detail and previously untold stories, this institutional history brings clarity to the complex processes that underlie the continuing struggle to achieve equitable resource distribution and parity of opportunity in American dance. An online teaching guide is available.

For accommodations requests, please email Sarah Wilbur at:

Access a *FREE* e-copy of Wilbur's Funding Bodies via creative commons license here:

Publication of this open monograph was the result of Duke University’s participation in TOME (The Open Monograph Ecosystem), and funding from Duke University Libraries.

To purchase a paperback or hard copy, please visit the Wesleyan University Press website.