Rauschenberg Dancer Emergency Grants

This program provides one-time grants of up to $3,000 to professional dancers in need, who are in dire financial emergency. You must demonstrate an urgent and critical need for emergency support in your application, and live in the United States, the District of Columbia, a Tribal Nation, or a U.S. Territory. This program is made possible through the support of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.



The Rauschenberg Dancer Emergency Grants have been updated, so please read these guidelines fully before deciding whether to apply.

As of July 2023, the Rauschenberg Dancer Emergency Grants program provides one-time grants of up to $3,000 to eligible dancers facing dire financial emergencies, due to the loss or lack of recent/current live performance work, because of circumstances outside of their control. Common circumstances include cancelled performances, cutbacks or cancellations of dance engagement contracts, loss of touring opportunities, and ongoing shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact.

“Dire financial emergencies“ include the lack or imminent endangerment of essentials such as housing, medicine/healthcare, utilities, and food. This grant program aims to provide dancers with greater stability to move forward by covering up to three months of essential expenses, recognizing the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dance sector.

Please note: the need far outpaces available funds; an application is not a guarantee of a grant. In each cycle we will distribute approximately $68,000 in total funding. Learn more about the review and funding decision-making process at the bottom of this page.

See the full eligibility guidelines below to determine if you can apply.


NYFA is pleased to announce that the Rauschenberg Emergency Grants will continue to be offered through at least June 2025.

The dates for the next three cycles will be published here the week of June 17. Please sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on future cycles and other NYFA offerings.

If you have questions, contact the Rauschenberg Grants Coordinator at [email protected] or 212.366.6900 x 239.


There are three eligibility criteria in this program: Individual, Artistic, and Emergency. You need to meet all three areas, as of the cycle’s deadline, to apply.

1 – Individual Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Be 21 years or older
  • Reside in the United States, the District of Columbia, a Tribal Nation, or a U.S. Territory
  • Be an artist in need, having an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or lower for an individual, or $150,000 for joint filers, averaged over the last two federal tax returns.
  • Not be enrolled in any degree-seeking program.
  • Not have received a Rauschenberg Medical or Dancer Emergency Grant previously.
  • Demonstrate current and ongoing activity as a professional dancer (defined below).

2 – Artistic Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Be a professional dancer. You need to have been working as a paid, live dance performer for at least the last five years (since 2019), in any stage/performance style, including aerial, ballet, hip-hop, jazz, modern, tap and traditional/folk. You may apply if you perform in a variety of settings (for instance: ticketed stage performances, free street festivals, and music videos), as long as you have performed in live, public-facing performances regularly since 2019 (at least one paid engagement annually).
  • You do not need to be a full-time dancer, or receive your primary income through your dance performance.
  • Inactivity, or online/streaming activity, during COVID, and during the last six months, is allowable.

Performances in educational/academic settings, social dance, competitive settings, clubs or other commercial settings, exotic dance, commercials, and industrials cannot be considered in this history of performing.

Self-produced online presentation, and/or performances shared solely through personal websites, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook or other online platforms are not eligible.

If you perform your own work live, your resume needs to clearly indicate that you were BOTH the choreographer and dancer.

3 – Emergency Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Be experiencing a dire financial emergency that has occurred within approximately the last six months. This is defined as the lack or imminent endangerment of essentials such as housing, medicine/healthcare, utilities, food and/or transportation. Your expenses must be direct, out-of-pocket expenses for you individually.
  • The dire financial emergency needs to be the result of a loss or lack of current/recent (in the last six months) work as a paid dancer because of circumstances beyond your control. Common circumstances include canceled performances, cutbacks or cancellations of dance engagement contracts, loss of touring opportunities, and ongoing shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact.
  • The expenses for which you are requesting funds must be incurred and paid within the U.S. (including D.C., Tribal Nations and U.S Territories).

In each cycle, we can consider emergencies that have occurred within approximately the last six months. The earliest date for an eligible emergency is listed in the cycle’s information.


You may request up to $3,000 for eligible essential expenses, for up to a three-month consecutive period, ranging from six months before the grant deadline through six months after the grant deadline. Expenses can be already paid by you, can be owed, or can be coming up in the near future.

NYFA reserves the right to determine eligible and reasonable expenses to support through this grant program.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Rental housing (deposits, rent)
  • Utilities
  • Food
  • Medical/dental/mental healthcare and insurance premiums
  • Transportation (car payments, insurance, ride shares/taxis, mass transit)
  • Expenses essential to maintaining your abilities as a dancer (class fees, dance gear/shoes, physical therapy)
  • Rehearsal/studio space rental for teaching or choreographing (including insurance/utilities)
  • Other essential expenses which you can specify

Ineligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Mortgage payments
  • Expenses related to other family members (i.e. food, healthcare, child/parent-care)
  • Non-essential expenses including credit card debt or student loans
  • Purchases of vehicles or other equipment

While housing and utilities expenses may be requested for your general household, other eligible expenses may only be requested for your own individual purposes. If you receive a grant, you will be required to certify your use of the funds for the expenses itemized in your application, and provide copies of your tax returns for the last two years you have filed.

Please check back here, or sign up for NYFA’s bi-weekly NYFA News email, to receive updates on any potential future cycles.

If you have questions, contact the Rauschenberg Grants Coordinator at [email protected] or 212-366-6900 x 239.


In this recorded information session, Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, Program Coordinator, Rauschenberg Grants, will review the guidelines and application form of the Rauschenberg Dancer Emergency Grants and responds to frequently asked questions.

View the recorded information session.


New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is proud to partner with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to administer Rauschenberg Dancer Emergency Grants, an emergency grant program for professional dancers. Robert Rauschenberg was committed to assisting fellow artists in need of emergency aid, ultimately establishing the nonprofit foundation Change, Inc. in 1970. Recognizing the particularly extreme impact the pandemic and its ongoing effect has had on dancers, the Rauschenberg Dancer Emergency Grants have been created.


NYFA is committed to supporting artists from every background, and at all stages in their creative careers. We strongly encourage artists of color, LGBTQ+ artists, artists with disabilities, and artists living outside of the East and West coasts to apply.

To request an accommodation or assistance in applying, please email [email protected] or call 212-366-6900 ext. 239. We ask that requests for accommodation be made as soon as possible, preferably two weeks prior to the deadline, to allow adequate time for staff to support you in submitting an application on time.

Image Detail: Robert Rauschenberg, “Untitled [Cunningham dancers],” 1961, Copyright: Robert Rauschenberg Foundation