We’re ready to dance just thinking about the fact that the American Dance Festival (ADF) is underway in Durham for its 85th year, and we’re celebrating because it’s a collective display of movement meant for all of us to enjoy. Yes, that means you too! For those among you who wonder how to weave yourself into the art that is modern dance, we’re here to demystify the experience. Whether you consider yourself a skeptic, a local talent scout, parent, millennial on a budget, or dance connoisseur, consider this an invitation from us to take the plunge into an immersive ADF.
For the Modern Dance Skeptic
Let’s say you haven’t been to many dance performances – or perhaps this festival offers an opportunity to attend your first. You’re probably not quite sure what to expect, but don't worry: attending a contemporary dance performance doesn’t require a leap of faith… merely an open mind. If you're someone who enjoys self-expression, surprise, delight, color, and mystery in a live performance, watching dance is no different.
We asked Mollie O’Reilly, marketing and audience services associate of the American Dance Festival, how she would sum up this year’s special collection of performances. “Modern and contemporary dance are terms that are always changing and evolving. Sometimes you’ll see a show and think, “Hey! That makes sense!” right then and there, and sometimes you’ll see a show that leaves you perplexed for days. Either way, you had a reaction to a very immersive and fleeting art form. I think the most exciting thing about watching a live dance performance is being there, truly in the moment, knowing that you may never see something quite like this again.”
For those who crave local talent or international appeal
Those of you who like to celebrate local talent whenever you can be proud of those bringing their talent just steps from their front doors: Michelle Dorrance of Chapel Hill will star in Wondrous Women, and Murielle Elizeon of Saxapahaw, who frequently teaches in Durham, will take the stage as well. To witness the work of internationally acclaimed dancers right in our backyard, Shen Wei Dance Arts and L-E-V are performances to make sure not to miss.
For the millennial on a budget
There is no larger burden to a good time than that of a budget, but the planners behind ADF totally get it. Intended to make dance more accessible to young art lovers, ADF Go makes audience members ages 18–30 a compelling offer to purchase $12 tickets to all 2018 ADF performances outside of Children’s Matinees and the Dana Ruttenberg Dance Group. Tickets may be purchased online or at the box office, and a valid photo ID when picking up tickets is all you need to go!
For those of us who love to move and groove
We understand – all this dancing couldn’t possibly be contained in a seat, right? For those of you who are inspired by a two-month long celebration of dance and need to get in on the action, ADF offers the opportunity to do your own dance at a variety of non-performance events, namely the ADF Go Party and Movement in the Moonglow. To discover an alternative look at contemporary dance in another medium, ADF offers a festival within a festival: the Movies by Movers film festival.
For modern dance super fans
You know who you are – you eat, sleep, and breathe contemporary dance, and you probably have a repertoire of compositions and dance events on your mental top ten list. We’re guessing that the American Dance Festival is what you and your family look forward to annually – after all, it’s a chance to see incredible artists grace the stage for over two months in the performance spaces of the Bull City. We sought recommendations from an insider ADF planner just for you: Tere O’Connor Dance and Kyle Abraham’s “A.I.M" are sure to take your breath away, and leave you feeling like you've had a fantastic, eclectic experience.
Come closer, tiny dancer!
Where else can you bring the youngest dance fans to pique their artistic curiosity at performances designed especially for them? The Children’s Matinees at American Dance Festival were uniquely curated to be family-friendly. Start here for a perfect summer activity and a fantastic learning opportunity!
Yes – the demographics of folks that will attend the 2018 American Dance Festival are as varied as the performances that will grace the stage. We couldn’t agree with O’Reilly more: “The beauty of modern dance is that there truly is something for everyone. The variety and talent that’s coming right to our backyard this summer is astounding! I could go on forever about each performing company, but I’ll just encourage everyone to experience at least one part of the festival for themselves.”