The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) granted $35,000 from taxpayers to support a transgender dance tour in four states led by a “queer choreographer.”
The performance is titled “The Lost Art of Dreaming” and produced by Fresh Meat Productions, a San Francisco-based studio led by transgender activist Sean Dorsey, who describes himself as the “first acclaimed transgender modern dance choreographer.”
The NEA grant description says the performance “imagines transgender and queer futures through contemporary dance, grand-scale costuming that will double as set and visual elements, and physical theater.” The grant covers one year, from May 2023 to May 2024.
Fresh Meat Productions notes that the dance is “performed by a powerhouse ensemble of five trans, queer and gender-non-conforming dancers” featuring “intimate storytelling, intricate costuming and exquisite queer partnering.”
“Dorsey will host free community engagement activities such as trans-supportive writing and movement workshops,” the grant description adds. “This project will serve artists and audiences in Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.”
Fresh Meat Productions lists several of its “community engagement activities” on its website, which includes “free online creative tools.” Among the resources are “postcards from the future,” drawings of transgender mermaids and other figures, along with slogans like “we are divine,” “joy is your birthright,” and “you are exquisite.”
The NEA told The Daily Wire that the grant was made “on the basis of artistic excellence and artistic merit” and that “panels of arts experts and other individuals from across the country … made recommendations on all of the Grants for Arts Projects applications.”
The studio has received several NEA grants, according to the government agency’s grant search page, which reveals that Fresh Meat Studios also received $35,000 in 2022 for the same dance tour. It also received $150,000 from the American Rescue Plan and has received funding for other productions, including one focused on the AIDS epidemic. Another focused on “masculinity and gender in contemporary America.”
Fresh Meat Productions also received a $19,000 grant from the California Arts Council, which is funded by the State of California, in 2019. A project description reads: “Operating in a world that harms and excludes trans bodies and expression, FMP lifts up trans and gender non-conforming artists as agents of change.”
It also adds that Fresh Meat Productions promotes “the evolution of transgender arts and culture” and the “artistic development and leadership of trans, gender non-conforming and queer communities.”
Meanwhile, the NEA has also patronized other productions that promote transgenderism. A $30,000 grant to Boulder, Colorado’s Motus Theater went “to support the development and world premiere touring production of the TRANSformative Monologues project.”
“Local transgender community leaders will participate in a series of artmaking workshops and will collaborate with theater artists to write and perform autobiographical monologues,” the description explains that the performances will also feature “guest experts on issues of transgender rights.” The grant period began in January 2023 and continues until January 2024.
Motus Theater is searching for five to eight “transgender and non-binary leaders to develop artfully crafted personal stories about their hopes, dreams, and experiences of negotiating oppression and liberation.”
The project intends to interrupt “dehumanizing rhetoric and policies targeting transgender and non-binary people” and to depict transgender individuals “as the protagonists in the American drama.”