Waves of dismay are rolling through the region's dance community in the wake of an abrupt decision by the William Penn Foundation to cease funding Dance/UP, a branch of Washington-based Dance/USA and the sole organization serving the entire community.
The foundation, which provided the funding in 2006 to launch Dance/UP and has supported it ever since, gave no notice that it would not renew that support, said dance officials, nor did it offer to finance a transition period for Dance/UP (formerly called Dance USA/Philadelphia) to wind down and transfer programs to other groups.
"It's like cutting off the legs and cutting out the heart," choreographer and dancer Melanie Stewart, now an associate dean at Rowan University, said of the funding denial. "Dance/UP is essential."
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