Applying for the Merce Cunningham Trust: Barbara Ensley Award


We are seeking candidates who have clear professional goals and who can articulate how the financial and artistic resources provided by this award will help them advance toward those goals. We are seeking candidates who are self-reliant, motivated, and demonstrate the discipline and work habits to make the most of the program. Consideration will be given to current artistic achievement, although potential for growth is more important. Previous experience with Merce Cunningham’s technique or repertory is not required.

Applicants will submit their applications online, at the link provided below. The following materials will be needed to complete the application:

  1. Introduce Yourself. Submit one of the following.
  • Short narrative biography (200-300 words)
  • Resume (one to two pages)
  1. Statement of Interest (300-400 words). Explain why you are applying for this award. What are your artistic goals and intentions? How will this award advance those goals? Which components of this award do you find most compelling or relevant to your artistic development? Include any previous experience you have had studying, performing or viewing Merce Cunningham’s work.
  1. Work Sample (2-5 minutes). Provide a video sample of your current practice, performance, or choreography. All videos must be submitted as a viewable link on Vimeo or YouTube and not as a downloadable file.
  1. Letters of Recommendation. Request two letters of recommendation from a teacher, mentor or colleague in the field. Ask your references to forward their letters to


Applications are due October 13, 2021.  By submitting an application for the Barbara Ensley Award, you confirm that you meet all the eligibility requirements. To apply, click here

Award will be announced December 1, 2021.

The six-month award period may begin any time between January 1, 2022 and July 1, 2022. The start date will be selected by the awardee in consultation with a Trust advisor.