Class Descriptions & Registration


Everyone takes three courses of their choosing that meet four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) for the entirety of the summer. 

WFSS classes (pronounced “woofs”) are optional drop-in classes led by ADF faculty and guest artists that give you the opportunity to cross train in different forms, participate in special repertory projects, and engage in discussions and panels. These classes happen primarily on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  


Students are required to register for classes before arriving at the festival. Registration is based on the date of your application and submission of the $300 non-refundable deposit. Apply early to ensure you are able to apply as soon as registration opens!
The registration process will be made available through the online application after February 1st following completion of these qualifying steps:
  1. Complete online application and submit the $50 application fee
  2. Submit the $300 non-refundable deposit*  
Classes that require an audition will not be available for early registration, though you can indicate your interest in those projects.  Auditions will be held at the beginning of the festival, and students will register for those classes based on audition outcomes.  All students will have the opportunity to solidify or make changes to their schedules once they arrive at the festival. No changes can be made to your class request between the pre-festival class registration and the designated registration time during the opening weekend of the festival. There will be a designated add-drop period during the first week of the festival for final class changes.
*ADF will refund the applicable portion of the deposit to students who ultimately receive a scholarship that exceeds $1790, but all students must initially submit this deposit in order to register for classes as soon as registration opens on March 1.

class schedule

2018 class schedule below


Modern Technique Charles Anderson
Countertechnique Kira Blazek Ziaii/Joy Davis
Modern Technique Clarice Young
Gaga Saar Harari
Afro-Fusion: From Bare-feet to Sneaker Momar Ndiaye
Shen Wei’s Natural Body Development Technique Sara Procopio
Contact Improvisation Ray Schwartz
Open Level Ballet Ramon Flowers
 Graham Technique Blakeley White-McGuire


Limon-Influenced Modern Technique Gerri Houlihan
Modern Root(ed) Technique Nia Love
Somatics and Dancing Ray Schwartz
Contemporary Dance Technique Christian Von Howard
Contemporary Dance Practice: The New Utility Abby Zbikowski
Hip Hop Otto Vazquez/E. Moncell Durden
Improvisation for Performance Kira Blazek Ziaii/Joy Davis
Improvisation: Exploring Tight Spaces Momar Ndiaye
Chance & Collaborative Comp Justin Tornow
Creative Process Saar Harari
Video Art + Dance Jillian Peña


Footprints (ends at 5:00pm)* Dafi Altabeb
Footprints (ends at 5:00pm)* Jillian Peña
Footprints (ends at 5:00pm)* Abby Zbikowski
Shen Wei Dance Art Repertory* Sara Procopio
Contemporary Repertory* Christian Von Howard
Ronald K. Brown Repertory* Clarice Young
Variations Repertory Blakeley White-McGuire
West African Repertory Sherone Price
Social Dance Otto Vazquez/E. Moncell Durden
Open Level Ballet Ramon Flowers
Composition (Kinetic Storytelling) Charles Anderson
Site-Specific Composition Nia Love

*Audition at start of festival required to enroll in these repertory classes 

Class Descriptions

2018 Class descriptions below

Movement forms


Modern Technique
Anderson’s class focuses on combining elements of dance styles ranging from contemporary/modern dance to Pan-African techniques to dialogue about issues pertaining to the human spirit and identity in performance. The class includes a fusion of contemporary and African derived warm-up exercises, followed by an extended combination fusing African and contemporary movement that focuses on discovering ways to color movement dynamic in an effort to challenge the dancer’s artistic landscape and approach to the art of dance.


Countertechnique class prepares the body for rehearsal and performance. Within a clear class structure, it provides tools for body and mind to deal with the demanding dance practice of the 21st century. It is a movement system to help the dancer think about the dancing body by focusing on the process of incorporating information into action. The goal is to enable dancers to move bigger, with fluidity, and spatially, while becoming stronger and more flexible. Students will be introduced to the Toolbox: a framework from which ideas and principles of Countertechnique are accessed during an exercise. The priority is to experience clarity and enjoyment of movement. Dancers are encouraged to be proactive in discovering connections and solutions, to be less concerned with judging themselves, and to work in a healthy way physically, mentally, and emotionally.

For more about Countertechnique, watch or read!


Hip Hop
Hip Hop is the expression of… your socio-cultural experience. This class will experience first-hand its rhythms, moods, dynamics, creative expression, and improvisation. Exploring its roots in the social fabric of Afro-diasporic retentions and their reinventions from vernacular jazz to present day. Each perspective of movement will be taught using basic B.E.AT.S. principles of body, emotion, attitude, time, and space. Exercises and combinations using isolated/integrated counter-flow, polyrhythmic/polycentric exercises, call-and-response, with intermediate rhythmic synchronization and coordination. Prepare to be exhausted, challenged, enlightened, opened, exhilarated, and transformed!

Social Dance

The social dance class is a dance through time class that will focus on the continuum from authentic jazz dance to hip-hop. We will learn the language, technique, vocabulary, music, and movement of the following dance forms: solo jazz, Lindy Hop, Philly Bop, the Madison, 60s social dances, and 70s social dances.

Ramón Flowers

Ballet Technique
A ballet class that incorporates an eclectic mixture of technique, musicality, and movement. The class will have an emphasis on technique and will incorporate a sense of fun while reminding the student that ballet is a form of the performing arts. Students will be given combinations that move in a challenging way, by exaggerating classical positions, and pushing them to explore their movements further.


Gaga is a new way of gaining knowledge and self-awareness through your body. Gaga provides a framework for discovering and strengthening your body and adding flexibility, stamina, and agility while lightening the senses and imagination. Gaga raises awareness of physical weaknesses, awakens numb areas, exposes physical fixations, and offers ways for their elimination. The work improves instinctive movement and connects conscious and unconscious movement, and it allows for an experience of freedom and pleasure in a simple way, in a pleasant space, in comfortable clothes, accompanied by music, each person with himself and others.

“We become more aware of our form. We connect to the sense of the endlessness of possibilities. We explore multi-dimensional movement. We enjoy the burning sensation in our muscles. We are ready to snap. We are aware of our explosive power, and sometimes we use it. We change our movement habits by finding new ones. We go beyond our familiar limits. We can be calm and alert at once.” – Ohad Naharin


Limon Influenced/Classic Modern
In this class, our emphasis will be on clarifying technical skills as well as performance skills. Grounded in the fundamentals of traditional modern technique, particularly the work of José Limon, the class focuses on the concepts of alignment, core strength, and efficiency in movement. Particular attention will be paid to musicality, phrasing, and the use of dynamics to develop a personal sense of expression, freedom, and ease of moving through space.


Modern Root(ed) Technique
Focuses on the ever-expanding ideas about “what is technique?” The interplay between crafting and facilitating a space where Africanist presence is understood as a [modern] movement. In this space we will create and negotiate how to enter and exit a multiplicity of movement techniques from a non-binary historical ideology. Exhilarating crisp and sharp release, grounded pelvis, rounded drop-n-stack gestures, and agrarian movement sensibilities that partner with Afro-Beat, Blues, Butoh and Funk soundscapes. Urban identifiers that contextualize and implode the urban gait, grounded pulsations, flicks, “wack” and head-bobbing gestures that craft underscore trans-global movement.


Afro-fusion: From bare-feet to sneaker
This technique class is designed to trace the patterns and intersections between traditional African dances and urban African dance (Afro-house). We will draw from the rigorous physical practice of some traditional West African dances to strengthen coordination skills, improve flexibility, embody polyrhythms, increase stamina, and gain awareness in order to acquire foundational skills to access an African urban dance circle. As the result of globalization, flavors from different regions of the African continent and the rest of the world are blending together to give birth to new forms of expression which, in the context of Africa, are deeply connected to traditional aesthetic foundations. This class is meant to break assumptions that disconnect “traditional” from “modern/contemporary” notions of African dance. By the end of this course students will be able to identify the multiple layers that compose the new forms of dance, such as Afro-house.


Shen Wei’s Natural Body Development Technique
Through detailed research and investigation, this class will encourage an opening of the energetic channels of the body. From an open and aligned physical structure, we will investigate movement based upon breath, internal energy, flow, suspension, center-shifting, bouncing, momentum, spirals, and joint rotations through simple exercises and traveling phrases. Special focus will be placed on transitions and floor work. Together we will explore and cultivate tools to activate our daily studio practice in new ways.


Somatics and Dancing
A contemporary movement class in which we will integrate Somatic explorations from Body-Mind Centering®, the Feldenkrais Method®, Bartenieff Fundamentals, and other practices I have studied and am excited to share such as Zero Balancing® and traditional Thai massage, with dancing. We will dive deeply into warming up and moving from a place of presence and engagement. We will work on solo practices as well as in partnership with others and the environment. There will be breath, rhythm, space, sweat, energetic modulation, phrase work, and more, all of it engaged through our dynamic moving selves.


Hip Hop
A course that dives into Hip Hop social dances and street styles with a focus on popping and locking.

Social Dance
To be announced!


Contemporary Dance Technique
This class is a highly physical movement experience that explores many diverse movement vernaculars. The warm-up will consist of exercises that spiral in and around a contracted and released core, as well as polyrhythmic movement phrases that push across the space. Movement material will call for dancers to transition in and through inverted positions and challenge their ability to take on dense phrase material that investigates the many pathways of the body. The instructor’s goal is to promote an in-depth understanding of alignment, skeletal awareness, stretching, strength building, movement efficiency, and injury prevention.

Blakeley White-McGuire

Modern Dance Technique
Technique with a contemporary focus on the fundamental forms and philosophies that shaped modern dance from the 20th century to present day. Dancers will learn significant, primary forms of modern dance through the lens of Graham technique. There will be a strong focus on movements emanating from the torso, the pelvis, and the use of breath in order to move and sculpt the body in space and time. Dancers will experience the essence of modern dance, understand the trajectory of the canon and its generative capacity towards the development of a performance-based dance practice.

Clarice young

Modern Technique: Embodied Afro-Modern
I will be drawing upon fundamentals from Contemporary Modern as well as multiple forms from the African Diaspora. Focus will be on engaging the core, lengthening curves, harnessing lines of energy, along with finding access within the back. These are a few elements that we will tap into to investigate movement initiation and the continuation of flow.Special attention is given to rhythm and how it feels to investigate it amongst a community of dancers. This class will also aim to make the unfamiliar familiar and blur the lines between the classroom and stage. The full body, mind and spirit are needed to illuminate this space of imaginative engagement. 

ABBY Zbikowski

Contemporary dance practice: the new utility
In this highly physical course, dancers will work on locating a focused approach to the negotiation of energy pathways, weight shifts, nuanced dynamics, release, clear musicality, and rhythm in the body. As a teacher, I draw upon my experiences training in contemporary and traditional African dance forms, as well as African-Diasporic forms, and place them in conversation with technical aspects of modern and postmodern dance practices. As a class, we will push through perceived physical boundaries and cultivate ways of drawing upon untapped individual strength, as well as the power of communal energy. Through movement and discussion we will work towards understanding the complexity of being a dancer in our current socio-political landscape and ways of building a culturally conscious workspace that deals with the multidirectional nature of cultural information exchange in dance. 



West African Repertory


Shen Wei Dance Arts Repertory*
This class serves as a unique opportunity to learn excerpts from selected company repertory. Through the detailed investigation of moving ideas, we will pull from both individual and collective movement research, and each dancer will have the chance to work on group and solo material within the repertory works.


Exploring Moving Pathways using Contemporary Partnering – Repertory Workshop*
This repertory workshop is designed for the fearless dancer. Movement material will not only call on your technical dance abilities, but will ask that you be able to turn movement on its head. Not literally, but maybe! 🙂 Repertory participants must be comfortable with partnering and sharing weight and have the ability to not think twice when it comes to manipulating movement into new or different pathways. Ideally, you will leave this repertory experience with a different sensibility about yourself and how you Enter, Exit, and Push movement through the space. 

Blakeley White-Mcguire

Variations Repertory
A repertory study and interdisciplinary compositional exploration of modern dance themes and contemporary practices. Dancers will be required to learn phrase work from three modern dances and subsequently compose/create original responses to these based on their own interdisciplinary practices and styles. A variety of artistic practices are welcome. Working in concert with forms and ideas presented throughout this year’s ADF, dancers will be asked to implement contemporaneous studies with interdisciplinary compositional work addressing humanistic themes and philosophies as inspiration. For example: deconstructing cultural narratives and/or the impact of lineal inheritance on personal preference and choice.


Ronald K. Brown Repertory*
Ronald K. Brown is known for being an advocate for promoting understanding of the human condition in the African Diaspora through dance and storytelling. His powerful sense of connection to history and tradition using music, movement, and spoken word leads into deeper issues of spirituality, community responsibility and liberation. In this repertory, students will engage in learning choreography as well as the unique process Ronald K. Brown uses as he creates. Former Rehearsal Director of Evidence, A Dance Company, Clarice Young, will conduct this workshop which aims to give pre-professional students the opportunity to learn fundamentals of the Evidence esthetic and movement vocabulary. The repertory selection will be one that is conducive for the class level.


Summer Dance Intensive students will have the opportunity to audition for ADF’s Footprints program. Students chosen to perform in a Footprints piece will have the chance to study intensively with a choreographer for the full 5 weeks. Footprints will give students a chance to experience working within a professional dance company environment. They will also have the rare opportunity to perform on ADF’s main stage as a fully produced part of the ADF performance series during the last week of the festival. The 2018 Footprints choreographers include: 

  • Jillian Peña
  • Abby Zbikowski
  • Dafi Altabeb



Composition (Kinetic Storytelling)
Through a predetermined thematic focus (this summer’s focus: The Radical Act of Love), this course is an introduction to a process and practice of choreography called kinetic storytelling. The body carries history and is burdened and inscribed with meaning. Issues of civil and racial inequality, gender identity and rights, and war and aggression have a long and vivid history in dance. Historically, choreographers have tackled controversial issues through dance in many ways guided by the underlying belief in the artform’s unique ability to stimulate debate, draw people together, and ultimately initiate changes in outlook and perspective. With this in mind, Kinetic Storytelling is defined in this course as a mode of devising dance-based theater that is at once highly structured compositional improvisation (or precision choreography), lyrical word-weaving, graceful, poetic, and explicitly informed by Africanist aesthetics. Influenced by the compelling issues of our day, by leaders and instigators of change and revolution, we will explore how to speak through our art approaching dance-making as a practice of social justice. The creative art of choreography is the transformation of felt experience into externalized forms. The process of organizing movement and evaluating the choices made within that organization is the development of the craft of choreography also known as composition. Assignments will encourage the well-being of the whole person through the physical, intellectual, and affective activity of self-expression and group interaction that occurs through dance-making and building a dance-making community. Methods of learning include guided improvisations, solo and small group presentations, written assignments, performance viewings (live and video), observation, and class discussion. Artists will develop an understanding of the choreographic/creative process and its relevance to other areas of study. It is recommended for students who have studied basic composition and are seeking ways to apply those concepts to work with social and political themes around the concept of love.


Creative Process
We will connect our daily physical research to the act of composition. We will invest in clarifying our research, to generate fresh dance materials and new structures. We will listen to our process and research to understand what we made and what we try to express. The process will include playful experiments with solos into duets, trios, quartets, and group work. Every day we will use new methods to keep our creation alive and to allow it to take over us and our old ideas.


Site Specific Composition
This video by WUNC features Nia and her classes around 2:00! To be announced!


Video Art + Dance
The definition of choreography has expanded in the recent decade to include a range of practices not limited to traditional dance. We will use video to expand our notions of what dance and performance can be and include. The course will not focus on technical skill building but instead on producing new methods and processes to explore work. This course is comprised of discussions, viewings, work time, showings, and feedback. In that sequence, we will traverse through several different practices of making dance on video. This course is designed to increase the choices available to you formally and conceptually. Let’s make a ton of videos together–the videos that should be on MTV, the future viral YouTube video, the embarrassing confessional video, and videos we never want to see again.

Justin tornow

Chance & Collaborative Comp
Throughout the course, we’ll create choreographic structures to experiment within. We will continuously examine the elements of composition and decide what we want to use and what we might let go of. We’ll bring greater awareness to the possibilities, and how one makes compositional choices. What moves you? How does it emerge in your body/mind? I’ll ask you to follow your interests. This course will be focused on methods and processes, with less emphasis on observing outcomes. You will be prolific, constantly creating.

We will make and develop work utilizing chance procedures, prompts, indeterminacy, workshopping, and inter- and cross-disciplinary collaborative methods. These tools can release us from some of the expectations and conventions that might take precedence over our interests—when we let go of control, we can realize the wealth of options available to us. We’ll encounter a variety of source materials that help us create structures to launch us into making.



Improvisation for Group Performance
This class is designed to explore the tools and theory from Anouk van Dijk’s Countertechnique through improvisation, partnering, and decision making in a group setting. Utilizing task-based explorations, dancers will cultivate availability in the body, develop agility in making choices on stage, and refine awareness for performance presence. While being less concerned with the mental cacophony of judging, we can open towards conscious opportunities to connect, play games, and create cooperative ensemble work.


Improvisation: Exploring Tight Spaces
In this improvisation course, we will challenge the notion of freedom in improvisation. Starting from the principle under which “a constraint is a means of strengthening and developing other capabilities,” we will work on strategies of movement development and group improvisations. We will adopt an Africanist approach to improvisation that allows some liberties rather than total freedom. Students will learn strategies to operate within a framed set of movements, energies, contexts, and situations in order to deconstruct and defragment movement vocabularies. We will also explore the synergy that resides in “group dynamics” in order to acquire group listening and a sense of togetherness. By the end of this course, students will be able to find freedom within constraints and will be tooled to spontaneously compose individually and within a group.


Contact Improvisation: Foundational Practices
Initiated 46 years ago, Contact Improvisation proposed an approach to dancing in which two or more people generated a physical duologue through improvised movement and touch. The foundational practices of CI developed around sensitizing participants to kinesthetic input, proprioceptive awareness, and equilibrium responses and primed the reflexive body to respond safely and creatively to unpredictable moments of surprise in the dancing. As much as CI has evolved, the foundational practices still serve as an important introduction to the form and remain relevant, as well, for more experienced practitioners. This class will honor those practices, with particular attention to the duet form, while developing strategies for warming up, and introducing scores and principles designed to encourage weight sharing, momentum, attention to space, ensemble practices, and the states that may arise from them.

Drop-in Classes (WFSS)

WFSS classes (pronounced “woofs”) are optional drop-in classes led by ADF faculty and guest artists that give you the opportunity to cross train in different forms, participate in special repertory projects, and engage in discussions and panels. These classes happen primarily on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  

Sample schedule coming soon!