McKnight Fellowships for Dancers: Guidelines

The Cowles Center is pleased to announce the 2019 round of the McKnight Fellowships for Dancers. This program is made possible by the generous support of The McKnight Foundation. Read the full guidelines below.


Three unrestricted fellowships of $25,000 will be awarded.



1. Intent to Apply: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at midnight CST

To submit an Intent to Apply, click on the “APPLY” button above. You will be asked to create an account, fill out a simple form, upload a photo, and submit information about any upcoming performances.

The Intent to Apply deadline is firm. Applicants who miss the Intent to Apply deadline may still submit a final application. However, they will not receive program updates, are not eligible for application assistance, and their live performances will not be viewed by panelists.


2. Final Application: Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm CST

Our website will be open to accepting final applications by January 16, 2019. The final deadline is firm, the application site will close down at exactly 3 pm on the deadline date.

Applicants will be notified of the decisions in early June 2019. 



Fellowships provide recognition and financial support for mid-career Minnesota dancers. The program is designed to award dancers whose work is of exceptional artistic merit, who have created a substantial body of work over a period of time, and who are at a career stage that is beyond emerging.

Resumé and application materials should indicate a history of sus­tained professional dance work over a period of at least five years, demonstrated through performances, creative work, residencies, grants, fellowships, or other recognition. Accomplishments must be outside of accredited degree programs, i.e. student performances will not count towards the five-year period of professional accomplishment.


The intent of this program is to enrich and strengthen our community by acknowledging the accomplishments of individual dancers and providing for their artistic growth.


A panel of two out-of-state and two Minnesota dance and arts professionals will review applications and select fellowship recipients. As possible throughout the season, local panelists will view applicants’ live performances.


  • Dancers who perform in their own work and/or the work of other choreographers are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must have been continuous residents of Minnesota for at least one year prior to application. (Applicants will be asked to provide a MN driver’s license, MN identification or other proof of residency as part of their final application.) 
  • Fellows must remain in residence during the fellowship year or forfeit the award.
  • Applicants must have a substantial body of work in their careers to date.
  • Applicants may not be enrolled full-time in an academic program.
  • Recipients of McKnight Fellowships in any discipline within the last five years are not eligible to apply. (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) 
  • Artists may apply to only one of the 11 McKnight Fellowship programs in a given year.
  • For applicants who have previously received a McKnight Fellowship in any discipline, work samples may only include performances since the last award. The panel will look for continued outstanding work since the past award and they will consider how recently and how many McKnight Fellowships (at the $25,000 level) the applicant has received in any program discipline.
  • To be eligible to reapply, prior fellowship recipients must have have completed all required final reports and project reports and must have completed all requirements for fellowship-related funds prior to the Intent to Apply deadline (National residencies, SOLO, etc.) or forfeit the funds.
  • Applicants may not be staff, board, or immediate family of the McKnight Foundation or The Cowles Center. 
  • The intent of this program is to award artists who live and work in Minnesota, have made a significant artistic contribution to this community, and who will continue their artistic growth in Minnesota.


The fellowship program will fund a newly commissioned solo dance work for each selected dance fellow. These commissions (each with a fee of $3,000) will go to choreographers selected by each dancer fellow in consultation with the fellowship program. The new works, performed by the dancer fellows, will premiere on a joint showcase, SOLO, presented by the Cowles Center within two years of the award date. The awarded dancer may not also be the commissioned choreographer.

Fellows receive additional support for career development and are invited to attend a four-day retreat in rural Minnesota.



Intent to apply deadline

Submit form online by Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Please note: The Intent to Apply deadline is firm. Applicants who miss the deadline may still submit a final application; however, they will not receive deadline reminders or important updates about the application and the panel will not view their live performances.



Submit written materials online by Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 at 3:00 pm CST.

The Intent to Apply deadline is firm, the application site will close down at exactly 3 pm on the deadline date. 

Our website will be open for final application materials after January 16, 2019.

Applicants will be notified in early June 2019.


If you have questions about the technical aspects of the application or online submission, contact the SlideRoom Support team at They are open 9 am - 9pm Mon - Sat and will respond within an hour.

If you need access to a computer and the internet, go to your public library or Springboard for the Arts.