Work Up | Dance Performance and Residencies at Gibney
Week of August 14, 2020
Making space for

Work Up

Work Up
Work Up is a residency, professional development program, & performance opportunity that supports EARLY CAREER artists

Emphasizing the articulation of a choreographer’s ideas in both movement and language, Work Up artists are selected through a two-tiered application process including a written submission and a live audition.

Work Up is on hiatus for the 2020-21 session due to Covid-19. Thank you for your interest in the program, and we hope you can apply next year!


Pictured: Evelyn Lilian Sanchez Narvaez (above) and Javier Padilla (below), former Work Up choreographers. Photos by Scott Shaw.

Two performers with chairs jump with one arm swept to the side. Work Up 6.0
Program Guidelines

Work Up is on hiatus for the 2020-21 session due to Covid-19. Thank you for your interest in the program, and we hope you can apply next year!


Work Up is a residency, professional development program, and performance opportunity, that supports emerging dance and performance artists whose work demonstrates risk, relevance, and research.

Emphasizing the articulation of a choreographer’s ideas in both movement and language, Work Up artists will be selected through a three-tiered application process including a lottery, a written application, and a live audition. Prospective applicants will first enter a lottery system to receive one of 100 available application slots. Selected applicants will submit a written application including a 60-second work sample. Out of the 100 written submissions, a panel will invite 40 artists to an in-person audition. 9 works will be selected for presentation on three shared programs, each featuring three artists. Each program will receive three performances. Eligible works should be completed pieces between 10 and 20 minutes in length.

Work Up artists receive a $1,000 performance fee and 30 hours of granted rehearsal space. Additionally, Work Up artists will meet as a cohort for 3 informal showings between December and February. They will also have the opportunity to participate in Gibney professional development workshops, and be able to enroll before workshops are open to the public. Work Up artists will be able to choose a spring class from Gibney’s Digital Media Initiative to enroll in free of charge. Included at the end of this document are the confirmed dates for the program. The showings are mandatory; the workshops and classes are encouraged but optional.

Work Up is committed to building context around the work of emerging artists, from the initial submission process to the final performance experience. Once artists are selected, Gibney staff will work with them to consider the ways in which they can work with an institution to contextualize their artistic practice and articulate their ideas. This will happen through conversations at the informal showings, engagement with the Digital Media Initiative, and participation within Gibney’s Professional Development Workshops.

Work Up has been made possible with generous support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, with additional support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, the SHS Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.



Artists who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate university program are not eligible to apply. If you presented your work in past editions of Work Up, you are not eligible to apply for the upcoming Work Up season. If you applied or auditioned last year but did not present your work, you are eligible to apply again.


Artists who would like to apply to Work Up may use the lottery form to submit their contact information during this time, and will be contacted and informed whether or not they have received an application slot.

Artists who submit their information in the lottery commit to completing the application and audition process; if an artist receives an application slot in the lottery and fails to submit an application, they will be ineligible to apply to Work Up for the following 2 years.


If you are not available for any of the listed audition, informal showings, or performance dates, please do not submit a written application. We encourage you to apply next year if you’re available!


Please note that you may not apply with works that are scheduled to be performed in New York City during the two months prior or two months after the Work Up performance dates. If you already have a performance in NYC scheduled for your work that falls within this time frame, we encourage you to apply with a different work.


Work Up artist selections will be based primarily on work that displays the following qualities:

RISK: We’re interested in work that is authored with urgency, from artists with singular voices who aren’t afraid to take chances and follow ideas to their extreme.
RELEVANCE: We’re interested in work that is engaged politically, socially, economically, or otherwise; we welcome artists who look beyond themselves to contextualize their work in a larger discourse and/or artistic lineage.
RESEARCH: We’re interested in work that stems from rigorous intellectual and physical research, in which the choreographer’s investigative practice deeply informs the final presentation.


Work Up asks that you submit a 60-second excerpt of unedited rehearsal or performance footage of this work. We ask that the video prioritize clearly capturing an excerpt from your piece that you feel best represents the work as a whole. Please do not submit promotional reels, video of other works, or edited videos that show highlights of the work out of sequence. For a free consultation with our Digital Media Initiative please email


Auditions will take place in Studio C/the White Box at Gibney 280 Broadway. You will have exactly 25 minutes to set up your sound and/or space, present your work, and answer any questions the panel might have. You will be asked not to explain your work before presenting your piece, as you will be given time after performing to speak with the panel.

Please arrive 30 minutes before your assigned audition slot and be ready to perform 15 minutes prior to your assigned slot, as we will adjust times if we run ahead of schedule.


Each work auditioned must be between 10 and 20 minutes in length. In an effort to adhere to our audition schedule and ensure that we honor every applicant’s time, we will cut pieces off at 20 minutes. Please plan accordingly!


The space has a 3.5mm (1/8 inch) jack to play from a computer, mp3 player, or iPhone. Gibney will provide a technical assistant to run sound and help each artist with minimal set up and clearing the space. If you are performing in your piece and have particularly nuanced sound cues or set up, we recommend you bring a friend who is familiar with the piece to run sound for you.


The set up and break down of technical elements, props, or scenery must be included in your 25-minute audition slot. As such, we encourage you to present a simplified version of your work if it is a full 20 minutes in length and additionally requires setup. We cannot accommodate projection for the audition, though you can present any visual aids such as drawings or digital images to the panel before or after you present your work.


If you have props that might be harmful to the space or require special clean up (paint, water, etc.) please email in advance. You may be asked to limit your use of the prop. Character/ballroom shoes, dark soled sneakers, spray paint, powder and rosin are not permitted in the space. If you are interested in auditioning a percussive dance work, we are happy to talk with you about the capabilities of our space. Masonite panels can be brought in for the audition with prior notice – please email to arrange after receiving your audition slot.


We encourage artists to perform in costume as long as it adheres to the space restrictions listed above.


The applicant must attend the audition in person to be eligible. If one of your dancers cannot attend, you may still audition the work in a modified format. We will make every effort to accommodate each artist’s audition date preferences as listed in the application, however we cannot guarantee an artist will be scheduled for their preferred date. If you or your dancer(s) are not available for your given audition slot, please contact We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate changes in audition times.


Due to the volume of applicants, Gibney will be unable to provide feedback for any artist on their application or audition.

Past Work Up Artists

Please email Sarah A.O. Rosner, Producer at

Gibney reserves the right to reschedule and reprogram events at its own discretion.