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To celebrate the 90th anniversary season, the American Dance Festival (ADF) is presenting 23 choreographers and companies. Among them are audience favorites such as Paul Taylor Dance Company and Pilobolus who will be presenting repertory programs including new work. SW!NG OUT, Kyle Marshall Choreography, and Resident Island Dance Theatre are among the exciting emerging talent that will make their ADF debuts.
“Our 90th anniversary season will showcase the breadth and diversity of modern dance, presenting North Carolina artists as well as national and international talent. We are excited to continue our tradition of being a laboratory for artists at all stages of their careers and to support the creation of new work and facilitate community building through engagement activities beyond the performances. This year’s festival will include thirteen ADF commissions and nine world premieres,” states Executive Director Jodee Nimerichter.
ADF will kick off the season on June 8 with BODYTRAFFIC, followed by the ADF Fête at Parizäde. The following evening, the 2023 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement, with a cash prize of $50,000, will be presented to Rennie Harris, Hip-hop’s leading ambassador, choreographer, and educator. Robert Battle, the artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will present the award. The ceremony will be followed by an exhilarating performance of Nuttin’ But a Word by Rennie Harris Puremovement.
Mark Haim will restage his tour de force This Land is Your Land by fourteen artists from North Carolina. The work is co-presented by the Nasher Museum of Art and kicks off the eleventh collaboration with ADF. The Made in NC program will present five ADF-commissioned world premieres by North Carolina artists Renay Aumiller, Caroline Calouche, Kristin Taylor Duncan, Michelle Pearson, and Nicole Vaughan Diaz. North Carolina dance talent will also be featured in Joanna Kotze’s ‘lectric Eye.
ADF has a tradition of community engagement and so do the companies who perform at the festival. SW!NG OUT will present the best of the swing world in its festival debut with live music and open the stage at the end for audience members to dance. The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company performance will involve audience exploration of its multimedia presentation.
Sean Dorsey Dance is presenting the ADF-commissioned work The Lost Art of Dreaming. The community is invited to participate in workshops led by Sean Dorsey in the days prior and after the performance.
At their first ADF engagement Kyle Marshall Choreography will present Alice and ADF-commissioned Onyx, which digs into the origins of rock and roll and the legacy of Black and Brown artists. George Staib, an ADF school alumni, will debut with staibdance at this year’s festival presenting fence, which gives shape to the conversation around what takes your power and what gives you power. Resident Island Dance Theater is making their United States debut at ADF. Ice Age is a thrilling quartet performed by two dancers in wheelchairs and two standing dancers.
ZviDance is returning to ADF with Migrations, which reflects on the collision of humanity with nature and is a collaboration between choreographer Zvi Gotheiner, composer Scott Killian, lighting designer Mark London, and seven dancers. Ballet Hispánico will bring repertory pieces as well as new ADF-commissioned work as they return to the festival this summer. ADF school and performance alumni Cara Hagan will premiere an ADF-commissioned, site-specific work at the Nasher Museum of Art in August. were we birds? explores experiences of upheaval, prolonged states of limbo, and the subsequent reorganization of one’s life following the disorientation of migration.
The Footprints program bridges ADF’s performance series and Summer Dance Intensive. The result is a breathtaking evening of ADF-commissioned world premieres performed by ADF students. This year’s choreographers are Brian Brooks, an ADF school alumni and Guggenheim Fellow who has previously created works for The Julliard School, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and the Miami City Ballet; Tatiana Desardouin, founder of Passion Fruit Dance Company, award recipient at major hip-hop and house dance competitions, and one of Dance Magazine’s 2020 “25 to Watch”; and Abdel R. Salaam, internationally acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and teacher, recipient of numerous awards and fellowships of excellence in dance. He is the artistic director of his company, Forces of Nature, and Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Dance Africa, the largest festival dedicated to African diasporic dance in the United States.
The 2023 Balasaraswati/Joy Anne Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching will be presented to Jody Gottfried Arnhold, educator, advocate for dance, and founder of Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) 92NY. A free screening of her documentary PS DANCE! The Next Generation will follow the award ceremony.
ADF will be celebrating dancer, choreographer, teacher, mentor, and ADF Ambassador Tony Johnson with a commissioned short documentary by David Delaney Mayer and new dance by Tony featuring 22 community members at Reynolds Industries Theater. The Faculty & Musicians Concert will allow ADF faculty members to showcase their incredible talent to the public.
This Year's Festival is Dedicated to Gerri Houlihan
ADF is dedicating its 90th anniversary season to Gerri Houlihan, educator, choreographer, and performer, to celebrate Houlihan’s 40th anniversary of teaching at the festival. She has also taught as part of over 15 ADF cultural linkages worldwide. In 2005, ADF awarded her the Balasaraswati/Joy Anne Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching. She served as Co-Dean from 2011 to 2013 and then as Dean of the ADF School in 2014 and 2015 and has been Director of ADF’s dance professional workshops for more than ten years. Houlihan made Durham, NC, her home in 2015 and began offering her widely popular adult Joy of Movement modern dance classes at the ADF Samuel H. Scripps Studios soon after. Since 2018, she has overseen ADF’s International Choreographers Residency Program.
“Gerri’s impact on the American Dance Festival’s educational programs over the past four decades has been profound. She has nurtured hundreds of dancers, choreographers, and educators from around the world at different points in their lives. She has helped us share American modern dance techniques, history, and ideas in countries with little or no exposure to this field. And most recently, she has helped us build an even stronger dance community in Durham. We are thrilled to announce that ADF has established the Gerri Houlihan Scholarship Fund in her honor. Our goal is to raise $40,000 within the next two years leading up to her 80th birthday,” stated ADF Executive Director Jodee Nimerichter.
Gerri Houlihan studied at The Juilliard School with Antony Tudor and members of the Martha Graham and José Limón dance companies. She performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, the Paul Sanasardo Company, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. From 1991 to 1999, Houlihan directed her own company, Houlihan and Dancers, based in Miami, FL. Houlihan taught at Florida State University, where she was the Pearl S. Tyner Distinguished Professor in Teaching and now Professor Emerita. This summer, Houlihan continues teaching at the ADF Samuel H. Scripps Studios and the ADF School, where she will lead a workshop for professional dance educators from June 25 through July 1. As the founder and artistic director of the Big Red Dance Project, Houlihan leads the multi-generational company in bringing performances to the Triangle. Upcoming Big Red Dance Project performances will take place from May 5 through 7 at the Durham Arts Council.
Venues, Tickets, and More
The 2023 festival performances will take place at Duke University’s Reynolds Industries Theater, Page Auditorium, and the von der Heyden Studio Theater in the Rubenstein Arts Center, as well as the Nasher Museum of Art.
Single ticket prices range from $12 to $60 with many special offers and discounts available. Tickets can be purchased through the ADF website at americandancefestival.org.
More detailed information about ticket prices and performing companies, including photos, videos, and press reviews, is available on the ADF website. Specific event listings can be reached on the sidebar -> or found on the ADF website. CVNC will post weekly previews with more information on individual events and featured artists.