Let's Go Dancing

American Dance Festival Begins Its 80th Year on Thursday

Ireland's ponydance will perform at Durham's MotorCo, July 17-21.
Ireland's ponydance will perform at Durham's MotorCo, July 17-21.

The math is in for this year's American Dance Festival: Forty-seven dance performances, 25 dance companies, hundreds of dance students and one funky school bus.

It all adds up to the ADF's 80th anniversary season with six and a half weeks of performances that feature some of the most celebrated artists making work today.

The season also includes four collaborations including the ADF and Lincoln Center Out of Doors co-commission of a new site specific performance by Mark Dendy. The work will premiere in New York City during ADF's season and will feature 80 dancers in honor of the festival's anniversary.

Founded in 1934 in Bennington, Vermont by four modern dance legends -- Martha Graham, Hanya Holm, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman -- ADF continues to be the premiere service organization of modern dance: from performances, to educational programs, to outreach activities, and more.

"During our 80th anniversary season we will celebrate the critical role ADF has played in the development of one of our indigenous American art forms, modern dance. Additionally, we will continue to embrace the role we play in supporting talented artists of the field," said ADF Director Jodee Nimerichter.

For Duke, the ADF is one of the highlights of the summer as hundreds of dance students and faculty announce their presence with grace and authority on East Campus.  The six-week school begins June 13.  The sight of the ADF's colorful, graffiti-covered school bus driving around campus is one of Duke's traditional signs of summer.

In addition to the school, many of the performances will be held in Duke's Reynolds Industries Theater in the Bryan Center.  Duke faculty and staff can receive a 20 percent discount on ADF tickets.

"The ADF is a cause for celebration," said Scott Lindroth, Duke's vice provost for the arts.  "I am particularly looking forward to the presentations by Shen Wei Dance Arts and the 605 Collective.  But the ADF not only presents internationally acclaimed artists in its summer season, but its dance school has been increasingly important to Duke students seeking summer study opportunities in dance.  We are actively exploring ways to deepen our collaboration with the ADF."

The anniversary season is packed with a breadth of performances including nine ADF commissioned world premieres by both newcomers to the ADF stage including LeeSaar The Company, Adele Myers, and Vanessa Voskuil, as well as by ADF favorites Twyla Tharp, Shen Wei Dance Arts, and Rosie Herrera. Iconic dance troupe Pilobolus will present two commissioned world premieres in collaboration masterful illusionists Penn and Teller and with Trish Sie and Tijuana's Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich & Fussible.

The season will also feature Paul Taylor Dance Company, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Argentina's Brenda Angiel Ariel Dance Company, Mark Haim, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, and Faye Driscoll, as well as the ADF debuts of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Canada's The 605 Collective, Ireland's ponydance, and four North Carolina artists that were chosen by a national panel of judges to present their work in a special shared-program in collaboration with the NC Dance Festival.

The season will close with a program titled Forces of Dance that will feature four of modern dance's most formidable influences who have each received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement. The program will include an ADF commissioned world premiere by Twyla Tharp, as well as reconstructed works by Bill T. Jones and by one of ADF's founding choreographers, Martha Graham, and will all be performed by the talented ADF students. The performance will also include the moving solo from 2013 Scripps/ADF Award recipient Lin Hwai-min's Moon Water.

In celebration of the 80th anniversary, the ADF blog will have a new face this year. Renamed 80 Faces, the blog will highlight special stories and memories from eighty people who have been a part of the Festival's history. Throughout the season, a new face will debut on the ADF homepage every day.

The 2013 Festival performances will take place at the Durham Performing Arts Center Reynolds Industries Theater and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and Motorco Music Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City (ADF Offstage). All performances begin at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Single tickets range from $15 to $54 with many savings options available. Tickets can be purchased through the ADF website

Below, Shen Wei Dance Arts opens the 80th ADF season June 13.

shen wei