ADF celebrates its 90th anniversary season as home of an art form, modern dance, with 32 performances by some of the most acclaimed national and international dance companies and multiple programs featuring over 50 NC choreographers and performers, 13 commissions, 9 world premieres, and 7 debuts.

March 1, 2023 (Durham, NC) – 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 on 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 was selected as 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 Reynold Industries Theater. The Faculty & Musicians Concert will allow ADF faculty members to showcase their incredible talent to the public.

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 tickets go on sale Tuesday, April 25th, and 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.

2023 Performance Schedule

June 8 at 7pm and June 10 at 7:30pm
Reynolds Industries Theater
ADF Commission
BODYTRAFFIC uses the creative spirit of its Los Angeles home as a backdrop for delivering performances that inspire audiences around the globe to simply love dance. The company will present an exploration of identity through dance, showing Love.Lost.Fly by Micaela Taylor, Notes on Fall, a 2021 ADF-commissioned work by Brian Brooks, The One to Stay With by Baye & Asa, and PACOPEPEPLUTO by Alejandro Cerrudo.

Rennie Harris Puremovement
June 9 at 7:30pm and June 10 at 1pm (Children’s Matinee)
Page Auditorium
The acclaimed work Nuttin’ But A Word by Rennie Harris pushes the boundaries of street dance vocabulary and forces its audience to view street dance through a different lens. Challenging the viewer’s perspective of street dance or Hip-hop dance and its culture, Nuttin’ But A Word takes you on a dramatic and abstract journey while twisting, matching, juxtaposing, and pulling vocabulary and music in ways unimaginable. Harris chooses to end this work in a traditional Hip-hop celebration which Africanists may refer to as the Bantaba. Prior to the June 9 performance, Robert Battle will present the 2023 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement to Rennie Harris.

Mark Haim
June 13 & 14 at 6:30pm & 9pm
Nasher Museum of Art
This year’s rendition of This Land Is Your Land by Mark Haim will mark ten years since it was last performed at ADF and the beginning of a second decade of collaboration between ADF and the Nasher Museum of Art. The piece is based on a simple, continuously-mutating walking pattern and will be performed by 14 North Carolina artists using culturally-identifiable props such as Starbucks cups and cell phones. The work plays with perception of time and touches upon contemporary issues such as consumerism, destruction of the environment, and body image.

June 15 & 16 at 7:30pm
Page Auditorium
With SW!NG OUT, choreographer and ADF first-timer Caleb Teicher brings the best of the swing dance world to Durham, with live music by Eyal Vilner Big Band. What The New York Times celebrated in “Best of 2021” as “…the contemporary swing-dance show that… gave me the most joy of any dance production in 2021” was conceived by Caleb Teicher alongside their brain trust of collaborators Evita Arce, LaTasha Barnes, Nathan Bugh, and Eyal Vilner. SW!NG OUT features exciting Lindy Hop choreography and improvisation and each performance concludes with an on-stage jam session, inviting audiences to join in the fun!

Made in NC
June 17 at 7:30pm
Reynolds Industries Theater
ADF-Commissioned World Premieres
The Made in NC program features the world premiere of five ADF-commissioned works by North Carolina artists. Renay Aumiller will present a work integrating ideologies and practices from Adrienne Marie Brown’s Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds into a choreographic process to explore its effects on inclusion and belonging within the cast and collaborators. Caroline Calouche is known for blending a variety of dance and circus arts disciplines in her choreography. Michelle Pearson, the artistic director of Black Box Dance Theatre, will be presenting a work about loss, love, and life. Kristin Taylor Duncan, a native of Durham will be presenting the light beyond the forest. This new work stems from the idea of building community through energy, healing, and trust in the connections we gain as movers. For her ADF debut, Nicole Vaughan-Diaz will present The Space Between Us, an exploration of human connection and our instincts to build both physical and emotional foundation as a means of preserving togetherness.

Joanna Kotze
June 20, 21, & 22 at 7:30pm
von der Heyden Studio Theater
For her ADF season debut, Joanna Kotze, who has been described as a “ruthlessly elegant dancer and choreographer” by Time Out New York, brings to ADF ‘lectric Eye. The hour-long dance performance responds to collective and personal loss and isolation and draws attention to the human body’s potential for persistence, resistance, and power. ‘lectric Eye uses the connection between music and movement to push physical and sonic limits, both as a collective and as individuals. Ten North Carolina artists who appeared in Joanna’s staging of BIG BEATS for ADF this past fall will perform in ‘lectric Eye.

June 23 at 7:30pm and June 24 at 1pm (Children’s Matinee) and 7:30pm
Page Auditorium
Pilobolus, an ADF favorite and regular, returns to Page Auditorium this summer with a repertory program which includes Branches, Sweet Purgatory, and two new works Solo from the Empty Suitor and Such Stuff made in collaboration with alumni of the company. Students from ADF’s Pilobolus Shadow Camp will kick off the program with a short shadow performance. In addition to the evening showings, Pilobolus will perform at a children’s matinee geared to entertain the imagination of the entire family.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company
June 29 & 30 at 7:30pm
Reynolds Industries Theater
ADF Commission
For over 40 years, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company has shaped the evolution of contemporary dance through creation and performance of over 140 works. ADF-commissioned work Curriculum II, which premiered in June 2022, applies the ideas of Cameroonian historian and political theorist Achille Mbembe, Nigerian-born writer and scholar Louis Chude-Sokei, and Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter. Curriculum II explores the historical and persistent connection between race and technology and the pursuit of what is human. This is part of a series of works entitled Curriculum through which Bill T. Jones juxtaposes formal exploration with a range of today’s urgent topics as expansive as Jones’s artistry.

July 1 at 7:30pm and July 2 at 5pm
von der Heyden Studio Theater
Founded in 2007, staibdance is an Atlanta-based contemporary dance company that values the provocative power of movement. staibdance is presenting fence at its ADF debut, a work which is a journey into a messy world of power struggles and dismissed histories and an examination of how “otherness” can rob our power or become its source. Founded upon dramatic, life-changing events Staib encountered as a child in Iran, fence is staibdance’s most political and socially driven work to date. Staib’s intensely physical movement vocabulary bonds with traditional Iranian dance to explore unrest felt personally and globally.

Kyle Marshall Choreography
July 6 & 7 at 7:30pm
von der Heyden Studio Theater
ADF Commission
At their ADF debut, Kyle Marshall Choreography is presenting ADF-commissioned Onyx and Alice. Onyx digs into the origins of rock and roll revealing the Black and Brown people whose sounds, performances, and personalities created this revolutionary genre. Through the setting of improvisational scores, character embodiment, and flowing phrase work, Onyx reflects on the fame, influence, appropriation, and erasure that riddles the legacy of so many Black and Brown artists. Through this embodiment of history, Onyx serves to recognize and celebrate these groundbreaking musicians while widening our perspective of the Black American cultural experience. Performed by Bree Breeden, Alice depicts a spiritual journey to love and self-acceptance guided by the transcendent music of Alice Coltrane. This solo is dedicated to all who are on the verge of transformation. It is in darkness that we see the light.

July 8 at 7:30pm and July 9 at 3pm
Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham
ADF-Commissioned World Premieres
The Footprints program, which bridges ADF’s performance series and education programs, delivers an outstanding presentation of three ADF-commissioned world premieres, performed with impeccable technique and infectious energy by ADF students. This season’s choreographers include Brian Brooks, who attended ADF as a student in 1992 and whose New York City based group, the Moving Company, has performed at ADF multiple times. Tatiana Desardouin, director and choreographer of Passion Fruit Dance Company, will make her ADF debut this season. Abdel R. Salaam, the executive artistic director and co-founder of Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, will be returning to ADF as part of the Footprints program.

Sean Dorsey Dance
July 13 at 7:30pm
Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham
ADF Commission
Sean Dorsey Dance’s multi-year project The Lost Art Of Dreaming is an invitation to embrace expansive imagination, reconnect with longing, connect with joy and pleasure, and propel ourselves toward loving futures. This new full-evening work is a fusion of full-throttle dance, intimate storytelling, intricate costuming, and exquisite queer partnering … all performed with Sean Dorsey Dance’s signature technical precision, guts, and deep humanity. The Lost Art Of Dreaming is performed by a powerhouse ensemble of five trans, queer, and gender-non-conforming dancers (Sean Dorsey, Brandon Graham, Héctor Jaime, David Le, Nol Simonse) with a rich, layered soundscore featuring original and commissioned music.

Paul Taylor Dance Company
July 14 at 7:30pm and July 15 at 5pm
Page Auditorium
In addition to the repertory pieces Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal) and Brandenburgs, the Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to ADF this season with a new piece, Somewhere in the Middle, by Amy Hall Garner which premiered in 2022. Somewhere in the Middle is an adrenaline-fueled dance highlighting the athleticism and beauty of the Taylor Company, all to music of Wynton Marsalis, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Duke Ellington, and other Big Band favorites. Garner marries the Taylor movement DNA to the inherent qualities of the jazz idiom with dizzying effect, reflecting the power, interdisciplinary collaboration, and inherent multi-culturalism in American dance. The 1980 work Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal) shows a dance rehearsal and a Hollywood noir whodunit which ultimately merge in a clever reimagining of the Stravinsky/Nijinsky masterpiece. Brandenburgs (1988) is elegant and virtuosic. It is choreographic grandeur at its finest married flawlessly within the joyous atmosphere of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.

Resident Island Dance Theatre
July 18 & 20 at 7pm
von der Heyden Studio Theater
Resident Island Dance Theatre will make its U.S. and ADF debut with Ice Age, an emotionally thrilling, physically integrated quartet co-choreographed by RIDT’s Artistic Director Chung-An Chang and French dance maker Maylis Arrabit. The 55-minute piece is performed by two dancers in wheelchairs and two standing dancers. As the world locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic, the work took shape—to explore the different ways that people navigate and connect in their own cultural environments. It evokes the coexistence between parallel realities, separated by space-time and at the same time, united by it. Ice Age challenges external forces and shows us the potential of a physically, mentally, and emotionally integrated world. “All the things that make up daily life and relationships are changing. That’s the main concept,” says Chang. Ice Age is “a choreographic experiment to uncover, recognize, and relate to this new moment of change in motion not just for some, but for us all.”

July 18 & 20 at 9pm
von der Heyden Studio Theater
ZviDance presents Migrations, a dance performance collaboration between Zvi Gotheiner, composer Scott Killian, lighting designer Mark London, and seven dancers. Migrations is in line with Gotheiner’s previous works that reflect on the collision of humanity with nature. The company focused its creative attention on bird migration imagery and tendencies as a poetic mirroring for the current acceleration of human migration as a result of wars and the diminishing of life-sustaining resources. These concepts serve as a point of departure for the creation of Migrations. The choreography utilizes bird flocking imagery in the design of large group work, and flight imagery for the creation of trios and duets. Killian’s cinematic electronic score supports a sense of heroic struggle when traveling through the elements, while London’s lighting design creates landscapes that give the work a transitory sense of place.

Ballet Hispánico
July 21 at 7:30pm and July 22 at 1pm (Children’s Matinee) and 7:30pm
Reynolds Industries Theater
ADF Commission
In the ADF-commissioned Papagayos, Omar Roman De Jesús allows us to enter the upside-down forest, where paradise comes ready laden with wings, and psychedelic stories write themselves out of order. A three-second love ritual between two birds transforms into a movement poem celebrating the pleasure of human physicality. We can be both as we want and as we are here where the colors cry out at their maximum volume. Sometimes all we want to be is part of someone else. In her new work Sor Juana, Michelle Manzanales takes on the powerful Mexican visionary Sor Juana, who was a 17th century nun, self-taught scholar, and acclaimed writer of the Latin American colonial period and the Hispanic Baroque. Club Havana is Latin dancing at its best. The intoxicating rhythms of the conga, rumba, mambo, and cha cha are brought to life by choreographer Pedro Ruiz, himself a native of Cuba, as he imagined his very own “Club Havana.” The show will also include William Forsythe’s New Sleep which first premiered in 1987 by the San Francisco Ballet. 

Cara Hagan
August 22 at 7pm & 9pm
Nasher Museum of Art
ADF-Commissioned World Premiere
Cara Hagan will present the world premiere of a new ADF-commissioned site-specific work at the Nasher Museum of Art. Her new work were we birds?  explores experiences of upheaval, prolonged states of limbo, and the subsequent reorganization of one’s life following the disorientation of migration. Whether by choice or circumstance, movement on a large scale is often paired with discombobulation. When we manage to pull ourselves back together, what remains out of place? What was never in place to begin with? Audiences will listen to the sound score on their cell phones.

Additional performances and events
The 2023 Fête will take place at Parizäde immediately following the opening night performance on June 8. Tickets for the event are $150 and are available April 25. The fête will kick off the 90th anniversary season and is a not-to-be-missed dance party with company members from BODYTRAFFIC.

A celebration of Tony Johnson, dancer, choreographer, teacher, mentor, and ADF ambassador will take place on Juneteenth, Monday, June 19, at 7:30pm in Reynolds Industries Theatre. The public is invited to this free event and is encouraged to contribute to the Tony Johnson Scholarship Fund which will benefit future ADF students.

Join us on Sunday, June 25, at 5pm in the Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University for the Faculty & Musicians Concert. The ADF school faculty and musicians will take center stage and share their remarkable talent with the community.

ADF’s Movies by Movers will screen films at the Chelsea Theater starting at the end of April. ADF’s Movies by Movers is an annual festival dedicated to celebrating the conversation between the body and the camera. All screenings are FREE!

The Children’s Saturday Matinee series presents one-hour performances that are specially curated to ignite and inspire the imaginations of children. The 2023 Children’s Matinees include Rennie Harris Puremovement (June 10, 1 pm) and Pilobolus (June 24, 1 pm) at Page Auditorium and Ballet Hispánico (July 22, 1 pm) at Reynolds Industries Theater. Each matinee is followed by a FREE Kids’ Party in the Landing of the Bryan Center, complete with live music, face-painting, and more. Tickets for the Children’s Saturday Matinee series are $12 each.

Dedication to Education
Each year, dance students and artists from around the world converge on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC, to discover endless possibilities at the American Dance Festival. Under the leadership of Director of Education Nile H. Russell, the ADF School hosts the Summer Dance Intensive (SDI), the Pre-Professional Dance Intensive (PDI), and the Dance Professional Workshops (DPW) each summer.

ADF’s Samuel H. Scripps Studios
ADF will offer dance camps this summer for young dancers aged 6-17 years including Dance Adventures, Summer Dance Days, and Teen Dance Camp Additionally, ADF is partnering with three of the performing companies to offer specialized camps: Passion Fruit Seeds (street and club dance as well as knowledge and an appreciation for the House and Hip-hop cultures,), Ballet Hispánico (Latin dances and their cultural origins), and Pilobolus (shadow story telling through movement and props.)

2023 Ticket Information

Single tickets and subscriptions to ADF performances will go on sale to the general public April 25, 2023. Tickets range in price from $12 to $60. Tickets will be available for purchase online at americandancefestival.org or through the Duke University Box Office. If you need further assistance, you can contact the Duke University Box Office at 919-684-4444 from Tuesdays through Fridays, 11am–4pm.

ADF Ticket Programs
ADF Go is designed to make modern dance more accessible and affordable for young art enthusiasts in our community. Audience members between the ages of 18 to 30 have the opportunity to purchase a $15 ticket to most ADF performances. Tickets may be purchased on the day of performance at the box office. Patrons must present a valid ID when picking up tickets.

ADF will also continue its Kids’ Night Out program, where all youth ages 6 to 17 receive one complimentary ticket to any evening performance with the purchase of an adult single ticket or subscription.

ADF’s Golden Ticket allows dance educators from colleges and universities, K-12 schools, and studios to purchase a mini-subscription of 6 performances for $90.

Groups of 10 or more people receive 25% off single tickets (purchased at the same time). Select the “Group 10+” price when purchasing tickets. Service fees may apply.

Experience Dance is an effort to make the performing art accessible to as many groups as possible. ADF distributes complimentary performance tickets to nonprofit organizations that work with individuals, families, youth, and seniors in need who otherwise could not attend performances.

Performances during ADF’s 90th season will be presented June, July, and August in venues in Durham.

Promotional photographs and press reviews of performing companies available upon request.

Thank you to all our major sponsors!

Katrin Deil

About ADF:
Throughout its 90-year history, the American Dance Festival (ADF) has been the home of an art form, attracting artists, audiences, and thousands of students from around the world. By preserving our modern dance heritage, promoting the creation of new works and collaborations, educating generations of dancers through intensive training programs, supporting artists at all stages of their careers, presenting live and screen dance to the public, and developing humanities and international exchange programs, ADF has served as a laboratory for experimentation and innovation. ADF was founded at Bennington College and moved to Connecticut College in 1948. For the past 46 years, ADF has taken pride in calling Duke University and Durham home. ADF also manages its first ever year-round facilities, the Samuel H. Scripps Studios, offering movement classes for students of all ages and abilities as well as choreographic residencies and outreach programs throughout the community.