The Carlisle Project: Affecting change in the world of dance
The Carlisle Project is a national center for choreographic development with the mission of fostering the professional growth of dance artists and new repertoire, particularly in the field of ballet. In its eleven years, the Project has sought to meet its goals through a program of workshops, residencies and showcases that have provided choreographers with a nurturing environment and the resources necessary to experiment with new ideas and develop their craft. Until this time, however, there has been neither a comprehensive assessment nor formal documentation of the Project's impact on its participants or the dance world as a whole. This paper documents the Project's evolution and examines the impact of its program. A review of internal documents, books, periodicals, and interviews with Project staff and twenty-eight alumni choreographers has concluded that the Carlisle Project effectively fulfilled its mission and significantly affected the careers of choreographers by providing them with tools for learning, a source of encouragement, a forum for information exchange and networking, and a means of gaining exposure. By enriching the careers of these artists and calling attention to the need for development opportunities in the ballet world, the Carlisle Project has had a profound, positive impact on the dance field.