2024 Choreographer Award


Applicants must be 18 years of age, US citizens, and not enrolled in an educational program.


The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation is pleased to announce a National $50,000.00 award to a contemporary choreographer. As part of the award, the awardee will share an evening of work presented by our partner, Portland Ovations, through their Raising the Barre initiative. Program to be mutually determined based on venue, production, scale, etc.

Within the $50,000 award, the recipient is responsible for all artist fees, travel/transportation to and from Maine, and all production elements needed to stage an evening of work in Maine. Any monies remaining beyond these expenses are to be fully retained by the artist to use as they need. Portland Ovations will provide presentation tech, local transportation, lodging, and marketing and manage all presentation elements. Applicants should be aware that Maine venues are primarily proscenium. This is not a commission, and the recipient is not obligated to present any new work. A sample contract is available in the submittable. All questions should be directed to the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation. 

The Choreographer Award is an effort to bolster the field, incubate new ideas, and bring more dance to Maine. In its finest iteration, Choreography Dance is sublime, expressive, and powerful beyond language. We are thrilled to join the conversation to support movement-based art.

All questions should be directed to Donna McNeil, Founding Executive Director, Ellis-Beauregard Foundation at 207-594-5825 or donna@ellis-beauregardfoundation.org.


Review Process

The entries will be judged on artistic excellence by a three-member jury.



Applications are being accepted through via the Submit button below or via www.submittble.com by choreographers living in the United States beginning May 1, 2024 with a deadline of July 1, 2024.


Felicitas Willems Independent Creative Producer based in France
Kayla Farrish
Choreographer, 2023 Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Choreography Awardee
Sita Frederick
Director, Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State


      2023 Awardee


     Kayla Farrish

The Ellis Beauregard Foundation is pleased to announce its $50,000.00 – 2023 Choreographer Award recipient, Kayla Farrish. Paired with the award is a performance with Portland Ovations Raising the Barre initiative as well as a residency with Ellis-Beauregard Foundation in Rockland, Maine.

Farrish was selected through a jury process of esteemed professionals in the field of dance: Danni Gee, Director of Programming, Joyce Theatre, Colleen Jennings Roggensack, Vice President of Cultural Affairs and Director of the Gammage, Arizona State University and Graham Cole, Executive Director of White Bird, Portland, Oregon.

Kayla Farrish was born in North Carolina and currently resides in New York City where she works as a Choreographer, Director, Filmmaker, and freelance performer, and serves as adjunct dance faculty at Tisch. Farrish has worked with Kyle Abraham, Limon Dance, Kenyon Adams at Bard College and with MIT Black Feminist Theories and Space and Technology Presentation, Put Away the Fire, dear (Fall 2022- Spring 2024), La Mama Theater, Myths Until you Hold Me- New Solo Commission Harlem Stage- Black Arts Movement Examined: Dance Part VI E-Moves to name just a few of her engagements. Farrish is currently rehearsal director for Sleep No More NYC and a recent New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project Grantee. 

Regarding the award Farrish says, I am humbled, excited, and passionate about the possibilities of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Contemporary Dance Award to provide both a way to share my work among communities in Maine and to also to be able to expand as an artist. It is unimaginable at times to understand how it is possible to create the visions that come to us as artists, and also as humans. It is a gift to be able to see what could be and to be granted opportunities for the early stages of our work. However, the gift to have a full creative process, collaborating, to dream beyond scarcity, and also not supporting ourselves along the way, it is incredible to receive this support. This makes my visions seem possible and creates accessibility for artists like myself to move forward. I envision creation that can support exchange with community towards liberation, acknowledgment of history and witnessing erased stories, and creating space for risk and transformation. I want this to be in communication with community. And I dream for more spaces of oppressed and marginalized voices to move, speak, and make with freedom. With the support of this Award, Creative Space, and Performance in Maine, I’m looking forward to what can unfold. It gives me hope that I’m so thankful for.”

Juror Colleen Jennings Roggensack comments, ”The Ellis Beauregard Foundation keeps dance alive, vibrant and vital to our local and global cultural landscapes. The selection of Kayla Farrish exemplifies the commitment to artistic innovation rooted deeply in communities.”

Juror Graham Cole adds I was honored to be among the jurors selecting Kayla Farrish for the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation’s Contemporary Dance Award this year. Kayla is a hugely talented choreographer, whose ability to inspire a wide range of viewers through her cinematic and emotional approach to dancemaking is already impressive at this early stage in her career. I, among many others, look forward to seeing how her artistic voice will continue to resonate as a result of this award.

 “I am thrilled by the juror’s choice of choreographer Kayla Farrish. I am delighted to have this unique occasion to introduce her to Maine audiences. New artists, new opportunities – some of the many gifts of the Ellis-Beaureguard Foundation Choreography award and the partnership with Portland Ovations Raising the Barre initiative” says Aimee Petrin, Executive Director of Portland Ovations.

The Ellis – Beauregard Foundation is thrilled with the jurors’ selection of choreographer Kayla Farrish as this year’s awardee,“ noted Ellen Golden, EBF President. “This award is part of our ongoing commitment to supporting diverse disciplines and artists and contributing to the dynamic art community in Maine.” 


Photo by : Stephanie  Crousillat


Danni Gee, Director of Programming, Joyce Theatre

Graham Cole, Executive Director of White Bird, Portland, Oregon.

Colleen Jennings Roggensack, Vice President of Cultural Affairs and Director of the Gammage, Arizona State University






      2022 Awardee


     Faye Driscoll

The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation, Rockland, Maine, is thrilled to announce that a $25,000 award for Contemporary Dance has been granted to Faye Driscoll. The team of three esteemed jurors: Kyle Abraham, Janet Wong, and Philip Bither, were unanimous in their praise of Driscoll stating “Faye Driscoll is one of the most influential artists of our time. So many artists have drawn inspiration from the magnitude and breadth of her artistic footprint.” Driscoll was selected from a pool of over 105 applicants nationwide through an open-call process

Faye Driscoll (b. 1975, California, lives and works in New York) is an award-winning art and performance maker who uses an alchemy of bodies and voices, objects, and live sound to conjure worlds that are, like ourselves, alive and forever changeable. She creates immersive experiences of sensorial complexity and perceptual disorientation aimed to rile up the passive, numb, screened-out body. These interventions come in the shape of intimacies: a performer holding your hand, a death metal song made through recording your stomping feet, a place to rest, and a private guided choreography in your ear. Faye Driscoll’s awards are impressive, including Randjelovic/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist at New York Live Arts, MidAtlantic Arts International Award, Performing Arts Residency Lab (PeARL) at Montclair State University, Jacob’s Pillow Artist Award, Doris Duke Artist Award, United States Artist Fellowship, MAP Fund Award, FUSED/French US Exchange in Dance Award, National Dance Project Production Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Capital Award, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Artist Award, The Jerome Foundation Award, National Dance Project Production Award, Bessie Award, Outstanding Production. The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation in Partnership with Portland Ovations is extremely proud to bring this supremely talented choreographer and performer to Maine. “ The inaugural year of our Dance Award has proven to be a welcome addition to the panoply of institutional support for choreography. Through the discipline of movement, and in Faye’s case, multidisciplinary work, audiences are offered pathways toward meaningful and deeply transformative experiences. The Foundation is committed to supporting the cultural trove of our nation and sharing those fine artist/awardees work with the people of Maine.” Adds Donna McNeil, Founding Executive Director, Ellis-Beauregard Foundation.Accolades from other sources: Faye Driscoll is a Bessie Award-winning performance maker who has been hailed as a “startlingly original talent” (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times) and “a postmillenium postmodern wild woman” (Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice).The award also includes an additional $15,000. To ready the work for presentation through our partner organization, Portland Ovations. Aimee Petrin, Executive Director commented, “Ovations is excited to present Faye Driscoll during our 2023-2024 season. We are grateful to the panelists and the partnership with the Ellis Beauregard Foundation.Unique opportunities like this expand the curatorial process and allow Ovations to take artistic and financial risks. Because of this award, a new group of dance makers are shared with funders, curators and fellow artists.

Photo by : Bea Borgers


Kyle Abraham

Janet Wong

Philip Bither