Drosophila NURF is an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex that contains ISWI, a member of the SWI2/SNF2 family of ATPases. We demonstrate that NURF catalyzes the bidirectional redistribution of mononucleosomes reconstituted on hsp70 promoter DNA. In the presence of NURF, nucleosomes adopt one predominant position from an ensemble of possible locations within minutes. Movements occur in cis, with no transfer to competing DNA. Migrating intermediates trapped by Exo III digestion reveal progressive nucleosome motion in increments of several base pairs. All four core histones are retained quantitatively during this process, indicating that the general integrity of the histone octamer is maintained. We suggest that NURF remodels nucleosomes by transiently decreasing the activation energy for short-range sliding of the histone octamer.