Summer in Durham—time again for the hordes of lithe, leotard-wearing dancers who descend on the Bull City for the American Dance Festival. Now in its seventy-ninth year, the festival this year features sixteen companies and choreographers, seven commissioned works, six world premieres, and seven company debuts. Returning groups include Keigwin + Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Pilobolus, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Mark Morris Dance Group. Debuting this year are the Stephen Petronio Company, Vertigo Dance Company (Israel), Ragamala Dance, and Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion.
A collaboration between ADF and the North Carolina Museum of Art features choreographer Shen Wei’s new work, Undivided Divided. The forty-five-minute piece is designed for viewers to wander through moving “displays” of painted dancers and interactive installations at the museum.
Performances remain the heart of the festival, but the concurrent ADF school sessions attract a colorful cohort of students, who take courses in contemporary technique, improvisation, repertory, ballet, and hip-hop. Alumni include Madonna, who was a student in 1978.