Since 1980, Susan Hess Modern Dance (SHMD) has sought to grow the audience for contemporary dance and support independent dance artists in the Philadelphia community. The company has supported residencies for over 40 artists through their Choreographers Project, which provides space, performance opportunities, and evaluations from others in the field, all of which allow an artist the luxury of time and the proper resources to fully develop a work. SHMD also offers the Masters Exchange, a forum of learning and sharing led by established choreographers and artists with local and emerging talent. In 2014 there will be a Masters Exchange held in conjunction with the company's upcoming Center funded project, bb/he and dg/together again, a partnership with choreographer David Gordon to re-envision his work, Uncivil Wars: Moving with Brecht & Eisler (2009).
Susan Hess Modern Dance continued its annual Choreographers Project program for emerging independent choreographers. Initiated in 1984, the residency program provides creative and professional development to four contemporary dance choreographers annually. Each artist receives space and time to develop his or her craft, opportunities to present works to the public, mentorship from master teachers, and evaluation from fellow artists.