Lighting Artists in Dance

Through this grant program, Dancers’ Group supports lighting designers working in the field of dance.

Guidelines and applications for the 2020 application round will be announced in late fall 2019. Check back!

Announcing the 2019 Lighting Artists for Dance Grant Recipients

In its 12th year, the Lighting Artists in Dance program provides lighting designers access to funds that will support artistic collaborations with a dance artist/company. Funded projects culminate in the creation of dance performances taking place in the Bay Area.

The program is unique in its focus on supporting emerging as well as established Lighting Designers for dance. Two thirds of this year’s grants are awarded to first-time awardees, “helping to ensure that a new generation of Lighting Designers can develop meaningful collaborations in our vibrant dance sector, while established designers can continue to deepen their craft” says Dancers’ Group’s program director Michelle Lynch Reynolds.

A panel of regional specialists in the dance field reviewed the proposals and selected the grant recipients. The panel consisted of lighting designers José Maria Francos and Matthew Cohen, and choreographer Lenora Lee.


Jessi Barber, lighting designer for Wax Poet(s)
(Awarded: $1,200)
Project Name: MidCentury Blue(s)
Performance Timeframe: Jan 2020
Venue: Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley

MidCentury Blue(s) is a dance and light installation triptych. It draws inspiration from Yves Klein’s Blue paint and George Balanchine’s signature blue lighting for his black and white ballets. The first two parts will use traditional choreographer-performer dynamic. The third part upends the dynamic with shared authorship.

Danielle Ferguson, lighting designer for Funsch Dance Experience
(Awarded: $2,500)
Project Name: EPOCH
Performance Timeframe: Mar 2020
Venue: ODC Theater, SF

Funsch Dance’s extended-length work, EPOCH, subverts conventional performance models by pushing the limits of duration. In cheeky defiance of Doris Humphrey’s warning “All dances are too long,” EPOCH unfolds over 12 hours, in a gratuitous surplus of movement, interrupted by moments of nothingness, to challenge the valuing of acquisition and excess.

Beth Hersh, lighting designer for Epiphany Dance Theater
(Awarded: $2,500)
Project Name: Rock e Malta
Performance Timeframe: Dec 2019
Venue: Z Space, SF

“Rock e Malta” is an interdisciplinary production investigating the matriarchal histories and experiences of an international web of female artists as they relate to religion’s ability to create walls, the disregard of woman’s work/power and the ruin/re- birth that comes from the collision of the old/new.

Stephanie Anne Johnson, lighting designer for Afro Urban Society
(Awarded: $2,300)
Project Name: Mi Soon Come
Performance Timeframe: Nov 2020
Venue: Dance Mission Theater, SF

Mi Soon Come (MSC), a Jamaican patois phrase meaning, “I’ll be there”, is a new dance-theater project by Nkeiruka Oruche. A satirical narrative told through African & Afro-Diaporic contemporary dance and music, Mi Soon Come uses transportation as conduit for a nuanced illumination of ownership, belonging, and possibility for Urban Africans.

Alexander V Nichols, lighting designer for Margaret Jenkins Dance Company
(Awarded: $2,500)
Project Name: Shadows, Embers, Echoes
Performance Timeframe: June 2020
Venue: YBCA Forum, SF

Shadows, Embers, Echoes celebrates MJDC’s 45th anniversary through collaboration with artistic associates Alexander V. Nichols (visual design), Paul Dresher (composer), Michael Palmer (poet), and Rinde Eckert (performance artist).

Daniel Weiermann, lighting designer for Alyssa Mitchel
(Awarded: $1,000)
Project Name: The Classroom
Performance Timeframe: September 2019
Venue: The Urban School of SF

The Classroom will explore elements of the learning process, incorporating video/audio interviews with twenty-six Bay Area students, teachers and principals.


See prior recipients