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. Candidates should be 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. Narrative Biography (200-300 words).  Submit a short narrative biography sharing any information you would like us to know about your background, education, training, experience, or perspective.  Include any previous experience you have had studying, performing, or viewing Merce Cunningham’s work.
  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? Please specifically address how you intend to use the financial and artistic resources offered by this award.
  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.  Also submit a brief statement (20-40 words) explaining why you have selected this video.  
  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 21, 2022.  By submitting an application for the Barbara Ensley Award, you confirm that you meet all the eligibility requirements.

To apply, click here.


Award recipients will be informed December 21, 2022.

The six-month award period may begin any time between February 1, 2023 and July 1, 2023. The start date will be selected by the recipient in consultation with a Trust advisor.