A Closer Look: Top Picks at the American Dance Festival

Have you heard of the American Dance Festival?  It’s one of the leading dance events in the United States, and it happens every summer in nearby Durham, NC.  The prescursor to today’s festival began in 1934 as a summer program at Bennington College, Vermont with modern dance pioneers Hanya Holm, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, and Martha Graham (below).

With great shows by famous modern Dance Companies scheduled throughout June and July, it’s an event you won’t want to miss.  Here are my Top Picks for this year:

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

1. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago: As a repertory company with unparalleled versatility, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago remains one of the most original and forward-thinking contemporary dance companies. They continue to present the works of numerous choreographers and styles, including this summer’s presentation of Twyla Tharp’s new piece, Scarlatti (2011).

June 29th and 30th, 8pm at Durham Performing Arts Center


Paul Taylor Dance Company

2. Paul Taylor Dance Company: As an artist whose career has spanned over five decades, Paul Taylor continues to challenge and mystify audiences with new repertory while his classic works remain just as powerful and relevant. In a program slated with classics, the Paul Taylor Dance Company will present one of his most famous works,Aureole, originally commissioned by the ADF and now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

July 21st & 22nd, 8pm at Durham Performing Arts Center.

3. Shen Wei Dance Arts: A cross between performance art and a ballet, this is going to be an event worth remembering.  The Shen Wei dancers will perform at the new wing of the North Carolina Museum of Art.  During the 45 minute site-specific piece, traditional performer-viewer relationships will be reconfigured as viewers are invited to stroll amongst moving “displays” of painted dancers and interactive installations.

July 18th and 19th at 9pm, North Carolina Museum of Art


You can see the complete schedule of events on the ADF website.  Tickets are on-sale now.

See you there!



image 1: Sophia Walker

other images and text: American Dance Festival