When Duke post-grad fellow Michaela Dwyer was a toddler, she joined the Durham-based African American Dance Ensemble on the Duke East Campus quad and moved to the drumbeat.
Later in life as a Duke undergraduate interested in modern dance, Dwyer continued to attend the American Dance Festival, a Durham summer tradition that presents modern dance performances, choreographers and companies from all over the world. The festival is presenting its 81st season, from June 12 to July 26.Read More
"Dance does feel like a natural outgrowth of the way that we walk around and encounter things in the world," said Dwyer, who now works as a fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke. "If anything, watching dance on the stage can better attune ourselves to how we move around in space and how our body connects to our intellects."
As the American Dance Festival brings international talent to Durham, Duke employees with a valid DukeCard ID receive a 20 percent discount on tickets. The discount does not apply to the Children's Matinee performances, Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor at Nasher Museum of Art, and Ishmael Houston-Jones & Emily Wexler at The PSI Theatre at the Durham Arts Council. Eighteen- to 30-year-old patrons can purchase $10 discounted individual tickets by presenting a valid ID in person at the box office.
During the festival, audience members can view one-of-a-kind works and premieres from companies from Israel, South Africa, France, Ireland and more. Twenty-four companies and choreographers will give 49 performances that preserve modern dance heritage and present new works.
Audiences "can see it here before they can see it in New York City," said Sarah Tondu, ADF director of communications and marketing. This year's festival schedule includes 12 festival commissions, 12 company debuts, 10 world premieres and two U.S. premieres.
Companies and choreographers include "Adele Myers and Dancers," which explores the concepts of falling, whether it be falling in love or falling down. South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma explores the history of his ancestor, a warrior who fought to maintain cultural traditions during colonial rule. Performances will be held in the Duke Bryan Center, the Durham Performing Arts Center, Nasher Museum of Art and the Durham Arts Council.
Visiting dance teachers also will hold summer intensive programs, ranging from a three-week school for 12- to 16-year-olds to a nine-day workshop for dance professionals.
Dwyer, the fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, said she hopes to take advantage of the $10 ticket price offered to 18- to 30-year-olds attending ADF. She plans to go to a variety of performances this summer, from the John Jasperse Projects to Ballet Preljocaj.
"The atmosphere around campus in the summer feels very different to me," Dwyer said. "As a young dancer, seeing all of these older dancers occupying East Campus in their dancer clothing and going back and forth between classes is a pretty different vibe."