Durham, NC, May 10, 2024 — The American Dance Festival (ADF) is dedicating its 2024 season to Annie Dwyer and Gene Medler, two extraordinary dance educators from the Triangle whose passion and dedication have helped nurture the next generations of artists who continue to break boundaries in dance. “When I have the opportunity to experience dance performances by some of the talented choreographers and dancers who have studied with our honorees, I am reminded how impactful Annie and Gene have been to the North Carolina dance community and the dance field at large,” stated ADF Executive Director Jodee Nimerichter.

Annie Dwyer has always been fascinated by the potential for communication through the body in motion. She has taught dance for over 45 years and trained generations of dancers ages 4-18 in public and private schools throughout North Carolina. During her 32-year tenure at Carolina Friends School, she shaped and facilitated a dance curriculum progressing from preschool through upper school – inspiring students to have a deeper understanding of the form and many to pursue dance professionally in their own careers. To Annie, teaching dance is an art form in and of itself. She taught her students that dance mattered, that they mattered, and that what they created could make a difference. Her career has been guided by countless mentors, including Caryn McHose, Andrea Olsen, Sue Stinson, and Bill Evans. She continues to be deeply involved in the dance community as a collaborator with projects such as Moving Through and The Parkinson’s Performance Project with Culture Mill. Annie has previously received the Beverly and Laramie Hitchings Award for Service to the Art of Dance from the Durham Arts Council, and the Ethel Martus Lawther Alumni Award in Dance from UNC Greensboro.

Gene Medler started dancing at 28 and quickly fell in love with tap dance, its combination of movement, rhythm, and sounds. In 1983, he founded the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble to offer his students more performance opportunities, which allowed him to expand his work as a choreographer and educator. For over forty years, his teaching philosophy has been “to teach them everything I know, open all the doors that I can, and get out of their way.” Medler has taught at schools and festivals worldwide and locally at Elon and Duke University, Meredith College, and The Ballet School of Chapel Hill. He directs The North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and continues to mentor young dancers. Among the many honors Medler has received are “Tar Heel of the Week” from The News and Observer, an Indy Arts Award from The Independent, the North Carolina Dance Alliance Annual Award, and the JUBA Award
from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project.

This year’s season dedication will take place at the top of the Made in NC program on Sunday, July 7, at 7:30 pm at Reynolds Industries Theater.