TRIANGLE NOW SPOTLIGHT: American Dance Festival

photograph by dendy/dance projects

American Dance Festival

by Jessie Ammons

Durham will be moving and shaking this month when the American Dance Festival returns June 3 – July 29. The festival’s 84th season marks its 40th anniversary in Durham, and to celebrate, the season will last a week longer than usual, including 71 performances by 30 companies and choreographers in 11 different venues, as well as educational programs for budding dancers and workshops for local professionals.

Founded in New London, Connecticut, the festival moved to Durham four decades ago in part because of the area’s enthusiasm for the performing arts, says executive director Jodee Nimerichter. Since then, the creative culture has only continued to grow, and today the festival – known nationally as a premiere showcase of modern dance – features a number of regional companies and choreographers.

Triangleites can get a sneak peek at the festival during preseason performances in Raleigh and Cary. Monica Bill Barnes and Company presents Museum Workout at NCMA June 3 – 5: The unique experiential piece is one-part choreographed physical workout and one-part guided museum tour. Then, Hillel Kogan presents We Love Arabs, a lighthearted story about a Jewish choreographer and Arab dancer, at The Cary Theater June 13 – 14.

The opening night performance on June 15 at Durham Performing Arts Center represents North Carolina far and wide with performances by African American Dance Ensemble from Durham, Carolina Ballet from Raleigh, Charlotte Ballet from Charlotte, tap dancers Elizabeth Burke and Luke Hickey from Chapel Hill, and JOYEMOVEMENT from Greensboro.

Between performances, more than 400 children will study with ADF’s full-time faculty during a six-and-a-half week summer program. The lineup also includes day-long workshops for serious local dancers and free classes for the public (see box above). There’s a lot going on – and no excuse to skip a beat.


ADF hosts master classes, workshops, and children’s camps.
Here are two opportunities geared toward grown-up beginners:

Community movement workshop series
This four-week series meets Sunday afternoons and explores the movement basics of dance.
June 4, 11, 25, July 2; 1 – 2:30 p.m.
$40 or $15 to drop-in on a single class

Shadow play
Internationally renowned high-energy dance company Pilobolus will lead you through
their collaborative choreographic process and shadow-making techniques.
June 10 and 11
1 – 4 p.m.; free