The American Dance Festival Puts On Its Dancing Shoes

ADF kicks off 40th anniversary year at Duke and Durham

2017 ADF performers, clockwise from top left: Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theatre, Tommy Noonan, Monica Bill Barnes & Company, Yossi Berg & Oded Graf and Heidi Latsky Dance
2017 ADF performers, clockwise from top left: Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theatre, Tommy Noonan, Monica Bill Barnes & Company, Yossi Berg & Oded Graf and Heidi Latsky Dance

With colorful buses crossing the campus all day long, and dancers stretching on the East Campus Quad, the American Dance Festival returns to Duke today, making the university and the city of Durham the beating heart of the American dance world for the next six weeks.

Students dancers arrive today for registration, while the festival’s 84th season kicks off tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Durham Performing Arts Center with an All North Carolina Program.

Tonight’s program includes the return of the African American Dance Ensemble with their exuberant brand of dance and music. It’s the ensemble’s first performance at the ADF since the passing of their founder, Charles “Baba Chuck” Davis.”

Other state dance companies performing on opening night include Greensboro-based Joyemovement’s solo work, “Fit The Description”, a love letter to all who have been accused of being a suspect because of what they look like or what they believe. Charlotte Ballet will perform Ohad Naharin’s “Minus 16,” using a musical score that ranges from Dean Martin to traditional Israeli songs.

In celebration of ADF’s 40th year in Durham, the festival commissioned “Dialogues” by artistic director Robert Weiss and resident choreographer Zalman Raffael of the Carolina Ballet. Tap dancers Elizabeth Burke and Luke Hickey will also perform.

The evening’s performance begins with the season dedication to the late Dr. Allen D. Roses, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher at Duke and a former festival board chair.

The new season is ADF’s 40th in Durham.

“Forty years ago when ADF moved from New London, Connecticut, to Durham, North Carolina, the festival stimulated a renaissance. North Carolina welcomed us with open arms,” ADF Executive Director Jodee Nimerichter said. “ADF chose Duke University as the site of its new home over nearly 50 other invitations from all around the country, in part because of North Carolina’s demonstrated enthusiasm for the performing arts. It has been an exhilarating 40 years and we look forward to many more.”

Week one of performances also include several debuts and world premieres:

  • Dancer/choreographer Tommy Noonan makes his first ADF appearance with his latest work “John” at Sheafer Theater at Duke, Sunday, June 18 at 5 p.m. and Monday, June 19 at 8 p.m.
  • Claire Porter & Sara Juli return with their an ADF-commissioned work “The Lectern” on Tuesday, June 20, and Wednesday, June 21, at 8 p.m. at Reynolds Industries Theater.
  • Durham native Bill Young appears at ADF for the first time with his company Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Co. at 8 p.m. Friday, June 23, and 7 p.m. Saturday, June 24 at Reynolds Industries Theater. Opening Bill Young's program will be North Carolina's Natalie Marrone and the Dance Cure.

For the full season’s schedule and ticket information, visit the ADF website.