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Choreographers, dancers invited to apply for role in Sept. 12 event

News Article
The City Arts Program invites choreographers/dancers to apply to be part of “Ten Tiny Community Healing Dances” Sunday, Sept. 12 from 5-7 p.m. at Lents Park

Stipend Amount

Each choreographer will receive $1,000. No additional funds are available for travel, musicians, etc. Choreographers decide how to use the $1,000.

Basic Eligibility 

  • Residents of the city of Portland or dance collectives based in the city of Portland.
  • Able to meet all requirements as described below under “Stipend and Artist Requirements.”

Deadline for Application Submission 

Friday July 30 at 11:59 p.m. PDT

Decisions Will be Announced

Friday, Aug. 6

Funds Disbursement and Required Reporting 

Funds will be disbursed as one single disbursement through our fiscal sponsor, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC). Before funds are disbursed, the following will need to be completed:

  • W9 of party receiving the funds
  • Simple contract that outlines partnership and support details
  • A demographics questionnaire for the lead applicant to fill out.

What is “Ten Tiny Community Healing Dances”?

Ten Tiny Dances® is unique to Portland and, we believe, a solid and unique container to hold the artistic exploration of healing. Community members and audiences will have the opportunity to witness 10 choreographers’ performances to healing experiences, losses and wounds. The Ten Tiny form invites diversity of response and provides a rich pallet of art for audiences/community members. The short dances, contained by the 4x4 stage, become condensed statements of artist individuality and diverse responses to community healing.

For this iteration in Lents, choreographers who are selected to perform will need to attend a community listening session in Lents where multi-generational Lents residents will share their stories, experiences, and reflections about the last 18 months. Artists will then have four weeks to choreograph a Ten Tiny Dances® response to what they witness in this listening session. In this way, artists, community members and audience alike have the precious opportunity to share a diverse array of community-focused explorations of healing.

What is Ten Tiny Dances®?

Ten Tiny Dances® is dance performance in confined space, which often incorporates movement-based theater and spoken word. It challenges artists to invent ways of collapsing known and recognizable vocabulary as well as to invent new vocabulary that responds to the possibilities of 16 sq. ft. It interrupts the usual expectations for dance vocabulary, performance, and viewing, and affects the way people move and are perceived in space.

See a video of Ten Tiny Dances® from the City of Beaverton (2019).

What is the “Supporting Community  Healing with Art” Initiative?

Community Healing through Art” is a six-month arts-focused, multi-pronged, community-informed collective grieving and healing initiative. This initiative was launched in April 2021, and is led by our Creative Laureate Emeritus, Subashini Ganesan-Forbes, and the City Arts Program, with support from Mayor Wheeler's Office and Commissioner Rubio's office. Our initiative seeks to:

  • Respectfully amplify the diverse ways by which we grieve, mourn and heal as a community.
  • Honor and highlight artistic and communal resiliency.
  • Recognize that our survival depends on intertwined communities of cultural organizers, artists and activists creating and sharing space, resources and mutual aid.

About the Lents Neighborhood

Founded as an independent town and suburb southeast of Portland, the Lents neighborhood was annexed into the city in 1912. Composed of lower-income Jewish, Chinese, German and Irish families, the neighborhood was historically neglected by city planners. Perhaps the most notable example of this disregard came about when Interstate 205 was constructed in the late 1970s, essentially cutting the neighborhood in half.

In recent times, Lents has become an enclave for Asian, Eastern European and Latinx communities with local businesses and nonprofits like the Asian Health & Service Center reflecting and serving the needs of the community. Notable Lents residents have included American folk legend Woody Guthrie, whose time there is now monumentalized by an affordable family housing building bearing his name. The neighborhood has undergone a vast transformation since 2010, but the Lents Town Center development is notably different in its commitment to sustainable growth. At the core are affordable housing units and business development for the neighborhood’s mixed-income community. The resulting improved walkability and accessibility to public transit mean visitors can more easily discover Lents’ many hidden gems.

Learn more about Lents.

For Applicants

Ten Tiny Community Healing Dances: Artistic Challenges and Opportunities

  • Use of 4’ x 4’ stage
  • Dance performance needs to be between three to eight minutes in length
  • Audience will be on four sides
  • Concept of creative limitation due to the “tiny” stage and the close-proximity to the audience
  • Must be able to be receptive to content from a Lents Community Listening Session – While artists may present an idea at this stage of application, you will need to be open to having your concept be shaped by what community members express at the listening session. There is an expectation that your final performance piece responds to AND/OR is informed by the listening session.
  • Please make sure your proposal does not violate a traditional form, but perhaps expands that form to make it appropriate to our structure
  • Creativity is encouraged!
  • Choreographers must make sure that the dance is well-suited to outdoor stages.
  • Music level is difficult to control in outdoor spaces
  • Dancers are encouraged to surprise, delight, or challenge the audience, but they must be family-friendly and appropriate for outdoor, public audiences
  • Dances can use more than one performer as well as recorded music or live musicians

What are we looking for in applicants?

Ten choreographers will be selected representing traditional/ethnic and contemporary styles. It is anticipated that the majority of these choreographers/dancers or their work will represent the ethnic populations of the surrounding Lents neighborhood which include Spanish-speaking, Russian-speaking, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Native American, African-American, African, Middle Eastern, Slavic and others. We encourage proposals from choreographers that draw from contemporary or traditional/ethnic backgrounds and dance forms, and collaborations between choreographers and choreographers and musicians.

We are specifically looking for the following.

  • Artistic merit
  • Artists interested in the concept of creative limitation/constraint, and who are eager to work with the artistic challenges listed above;
  • Artistic expression that embraces the concept of community healing and a desire to respond to the specific stories and/or experiences expressed by Lents community during the listening session.
  • Artists representing a range of artistic styles;
  • Artists who demonstrate clear vision, artistic innovation, and artistic rigor
  • Dancers representing the ethnic cultures of Lents and the surrounding neighborhoods (including artists of European-American descent);
  • Choreographers/dancers representing either contemporary or traditional/ethnic forms.

Stipend and Artist Requirements

Each choreographer will receive $1,000. No additional funds are available for travel, musicians, etc. Choreographers decide how to use the $1,000.

Choreographers must:

  • Attend Lents Community Listening Session on either Wednesday August 11 or Thursday August 12 between 5-7 p.m. This will be a hybrid event (limited in-person & Zoom)
  • Attend one (1) orientation meeting of all artists on August 19 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. 
  • Participate in a facilitated talk-back (dialogue) session with audience members following the event in September 12. Choreographers must participate in the event, and dancers are invited to participate if they choose.

Choreographers AND their dancers must:

  • Attend run-through and bring music to perform the piece the morning of Sunday, September 12 at 11:00 a.m. 
  • Perform their dance once during the event on Sunday September 12 from 5-7 p.m. 

Choreographers will receive the full $1,000 fee only if they participate fully in all the above activities.

How to apply

The deadline to apply is Friday, July 30, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

Please send an email to with the answers to the following questions and provide the attachments requested. Your subject line should read “APPLICATION for Ten Tiny Community Healing Dances.”

Answer these questions. Please answer all the questions in the body of the email.

  • Name of lead applicant
  • Email Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Website (If applicable)
  • Tell us about how you envision an artistic response to community healing.We realize that community healing shows up in multitudes of ways for us as individuals and cultures. We also realize that there are a multitude of ways that art can be used to express this experience. You do not have to describe a complete piece but describing a vision for a 3- to 8-minute piece will be helpful. (Description can be no longer than 250 words.)
  • How you would categorize/classify your dance style.
  • Link to webpage(s) (maximum of two URLs) showing video of your previous choreography and performance. NOTE: It is the applicant’s responsibility to identify exactly which 3- to 5-minute segment(s) of the web link the selection panel should watch. The review panel will not be able to watch more than the 3- to 5-minute section(s). The selection committee finds it very helpful if the web link contains work that was done in a confined space, on a small stage, or if a 4’ x 4’ square is taped on to the floor representing the stage size.

Provide these attachments:

  • Choreographer’s/Lead Applicant’s resume/vita, no longer than two pages.
  • Biographies of collaborators (if any).

Decision-making Process

A panel of three community members will gather with the City’s Former Creative Laureate, Subashini Ganesan, and Founder of Ten Tiny Dances®, Mike Barber, on Wednesday, Aug. 4 to deliberate and select a pool of successful applicants. This pool of successful applicants will be sent to the City Arts Program for final approval. Public announcements will be made on Friday, Aug. 6. 

Assistance Available

For assistance with applications contact to set up a 25-minute one-on-one Zoom conversation. Subject line of email should read “Help with Ten Tiny Community Healing Dances application.” In the body please briefly describe your question. Indicate as many half-hour options you have available as possible based on the schedule below:

  • Monday, July 19 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, July 21 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 
  • Thursday, July 22 between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

We are looking forward to receiving materials from a variety of qualified contemporary and traditional/ethnic choreographers/dancers. We do not want this application process to dissuade qualified choreographers from applying (for example, those with limited English skills). Please also note if you will need ASL interpretation and/or translation services.