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, Sundays, and weekday evenings.  

Classes are delivered in English. 

special performance opportunities

Special this summer at the 2020 Summer Dance Intensive, dance with Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater and Monica Bill Barnes & Company during their ADF performances, or work with Charles O. Anderson, Kimberly Bartosik, or Shen Wei to create a new piece as part of ADF’s Footprints performances. Other performance opportunities include repertory from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Christian Von Howard, and Monique Haley (read more about those below under “REPERTORY”). 


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 March 2nd 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 $1,990, but all students must initially submit this deposit in order to register for classes as soon as registration opens on March 2.

class schedule

2020 class schedule  – check back regularly for the 2020 schedule


Afro American Social Dance Technique Quilan “Cue” Arnold
Ballet Ramón Flowers
Contemporary Jazz: The Diasporic Encounter Method Monique Haley
Afro-Fusion: From Barefoot to Sneakers Momar Ndiaye
Gaga Navarra Novy-Williams
Shen Wei’s Natural Body Development Technique Sara Procopio
Contact Improvisation Ray Schwartz
Countertechnique Rosanna Tavarez/Joy Davis


Afro-Contemporary Technique Charles O. Anderson
Hip hop Groove Foundations Quilan “Cue” Arnold
Modern Roots Nia Love
Creative Process Navarra Novy-Williams
Devising Kinetic Connections Jenna Riegel
SpArk! Embodiment as resource for imagination Ray Schwartz
Practicing Serious PLAY Rosanna Tavarez/Joy Davis
Contemporary Technique Christian Von Howard


Footprints (ends at 5:00pm)* Charles O. Anderson
Footprints (ends at 5:00pm)* Kimberly Bartosik
Footprints (ends at 5:00pm)* Shen Wei
Repertory* Monique Haley
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company Repertory* Jenna Riegel
Exploring Moving Pathways using Contemporary Partnering – Repertory Workshop* Christian Von Howard
Contemporary West African Repertory Stafford Berry/Sherone Price
Musical Theater Jazz Ramón Flowers
Mixed Makers Zachery/Pearson/AXIS/Clark/Geiger
The Happening: An investigatory course on site-specific art/environmental art Nia Love
Alt Comp: approaches for a more expansive dancemaking practice Momar Ndiaye/Justin Tornow

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

Class Descriptions–check back regularly for updates!

movement forms

Charles O. Anderson

Afro-Contemporary 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 serves as a laboratory for exploring the kinesthetic and aesthetic imperatives that inform his choreography. 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. 

Quilan “Cue” Arnold

Afro-American Social Dance Technique
This contemporary practice emphasizes Africanist aesthetics through the techniques of African-American dance forms such as jazz, funk, club, and hip-hop styles. Students will embody these traditional US social dances to gain a deeper understanding of how repetition, relationship, and rigor can unlock the mind-body-spirit delimiters we place upon ourselves. Class involves call-and-response movement flow, using elements of the ring shout and the cypher to foster a sense of groove, isolation, and rhythm. Continuing these concepts through a variety of structures, students will explore the manipulation of sequentiality, bounce, polyrhythm, and proximal-distal awareness. Finally, improvisation will be a key practice used to challenge students’ technique, creativity, and intention-to-movement articulation.

Hip-hop Groove Foundations
“Hip-hop Groove Foundations” focuses on essential hip-hop dance techniques (i.e., isolations, polyrhythm, footwork, groove) that deepen the understanding of students’ kinesthetic, creative, and cultural knowledge with the intent to broaden their tools for individual expression. The class ebbs and flows between rigorous technical content through drills and combinations and improvisatory cypher explorations. Students should expect to leave class with a sweaty shirt, an empty water bottle, and a thirst for more.

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.

Musical Theater Jazz
A jazz class that includes strength, flexibility, conditioning techniques, and progressions including turns, kicks, and leaps. In this class, the dancers also learn many fun and trendy dance steps that are used for all forms of dance. It is a wonderful class to get a well-rounded variety of genres. Dancers will learn choreography to popular music of today along with vintage styles of jazz hits from the last decades and popular Broadway musicals. This is a perfect class to start your dance training, but it’s challenging enough to satisfy a dancer at any level.

monique haley

Contemporary Jazz: The Diasporic Encounter Method

African cultural values and principals are the frameworks inside of a contemporary jazz dance space, creating a unique ethos within a dancing community. This contemporary jazz class consists of grounded and athletic movement that inspires the dancer physically and taps naturally into the emotional nature of the artist. Expect syncopated rhythms, undulation, isolations, and active use of plié, weight shifting, and stylized/technical movement within the jazz aesthetic. The dancer will be encouraged to achieve not only a strong focus on style and embodying jazz technique but also to investigate and celebrate the freedom of expression through the body.

Nia Love

Modern Roots
This class continues the study of practices and principles of contemporary dance, as informed by my particular experience and performance history. A general focus is to help students find a connection to the floor from which they can stretch and move out into space. Attention is given to educating the body to move with specificity; to sharpening each student’s rhythmic, spatial, and energetic acuities; and to augmenting each student’s range of qualitative possibilities. This class can help students experience longer center floor sequences, while also fostering students’ ability to self-direct as movers. Love’s Contemporary Modern class, also called “Modern Roots,” focuses on the ever-expanding power of the Africanist presence in modern movement. The engine of the class is the syncopated and poly-rhythmic body. Exhilarating crisp and sharp release, rounded drop-n-stack gestures, and agrarian movement sensibilities powered by polycentrism and initiated by core and distal sensibilities. Afro-Beat, Blues, Butoh, and Funk landscapes are harvested and become identifiers that contextualize the power and force of the urban gait, the grounded pulsations, the flick, ‘wack,’ and head-bobbing gestures that underscore the notion of trans-global movement. This class will equip the 21st century dance artist’s tool box into a more equitable conversation about the lineages of contemporary modern postmodern dance, improvisation, and the avant-garde.

Navarra Novy-williams

Gaga classes are based on a deep listening to and awareness of the scope of physical sensations. While class instructions are often imbued with rich imagery that stimulates the imagination, the layering of information builds into a multisensory, physically challenging experience. Gaga offers a workout that develops flexibility, stamina, agility, coordination, and efficiency of movement. The exploration of form, speed, and effort is accompanied by the playful investigation of soft and thick textures, delicacy and explosive power, and understatement and exaggeration. Ohad Naharin continues to develop and research his movement language, and the classes evolve and vary accordingly. We invite you to join us in the studio and connect to your passion to move.


Afro-fusion: From barefoot to sneakers
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.

Sara Procopio

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.

The first 50 seconds of this video features Shen Wei’s Map, a work highlighting the elements that are the basis for his Natural Body Development technique.

Ray Schwartz

SpArk! Embodiment as resource for imagination
In this class we will explore embodiment practices as a support for creative impulse in dancing and dancemaking. Body-Mind Centering®, the Feldenkrais Method®, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Contact Improvisation, and other practices informed by Somatic Movement Education will shape the foundations of the approach. Through the use of movement, touch, imagination, and collective engagement, we will explore dancing and creative investigation as inspired by experiential anatomy principles, embodied metaphor, and functional geography, as well as evocative states, physical qualities, and expression. There will be breath, rhythm, space, sweat, energetic modulation, improvisational inquiry, phrase work, and moreall of it engaged through our dynamic moving selves.

jenna riegel

Devising Kinetic Connections
Class will begin with floor work, yoga and pilates stretching and strengthening, and improvisation to build warmth, ease us into motion, find agility, and help us arrive more fully present in our bodies. Introductions to one another will be made with a name circle, contact improvisation exercises, or interactive warm-up exercises in order to build a sense of trust and community together. Center standing work will draw upon a combination of release technique and ballet and align, balance and increase awareness of energetic efficiency and ease. Head/tail exploration and spinal articulation will be integrated into more traditional foot and leg exercises. Across the floor phrase-work will oscillate between imagery and task-based veracious improvisational scores and rigorous locomotion, athletic inversions, and ambitious lofting. A culminating phrase will challenge the polarities of movement and investigate both off-balance and centered movement, bound and released, sustained and staccato, momentum driven and spatially controlled, on the floor and in the air, and sensation-based and shape-based movement. A friendly, uplifting, non- judgmental class culture will be attended to by steering clear of the binary of right and wrong and instead directing attention to cause and effect, the action and results of our choices. Personal findings will be encouraged to be shared to expedite learning within our community. Individualism will be honored and upheld even as profound body awareness and ability to replicate outside material is practiced. Enjoyment and fun will be contagious and inevitable!

Rosanna Tavarez/joy davis

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!

Christian von howard

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.


monique haley

This course is designed to provide opportunities for ADF participants to work with faculty member Monique Haley in the creation or the restaging of a performance piece for the festival. An emphasis is placed on developing performance skills and engaging in Monique’s self-devised process method, the Diasporic Encounter Method (DEM). DEM is an approach used during the creative process to engage an environment in the dance space that inspires an authentic ethos and connection between the artists. African cultural values and perspectives are used as a foundation for nurturing the artist’s mind/body, self-agency, and human connectivity in a creative environment.

sherone price

Contemporary West African Repertory 


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 the work of influential choreographers 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 2020 Footprints choreographers include: 

  • Charles O. Anderson
  • Kimberly Bartosik
  • Shen Wei

jenna riegel

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company Repertory
For 38 years, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company has been on the leading edge of contemporary art, moving audiences around the world with the athleticism, intelligence, and human resonance of its work. The BTJ/AZ repertory class offers a concentrated opportunity to delve into the company’s thoughtful and vigorous movement training and the provocative world of ideas that inform the company’s works. During ADF 2020, participants will get a chance to learn Ravel: Landscape or Portrait? (2012). This work responds to Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major (1903), reflecting the wistful and melancholic sentiment of the score as well as its precision and restraint. Similar to the music’s complicated internal logic, one of two choreographic variations for the third movement (either landscape or portrait) is selected by chance procedure before each performance. Participants will be challenged to know the material so deeply that they are able to make spontaneous decisions amongst the ever-changing topography of the choreography. Through both physical and intellectual rigor, this class will cultivate refined attention to detail, keen responsiveness, and imaginative choice-making. It will be filled with exhilarating dancing and dialogue. 

Christian von howard

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.


Nia Love

The Happening: An investigatory course on site-specific art/environmental art 
This course attempts to destabilize and dismantle “dance,” redressing it as gesture–the memory of movement and geographies held in the body. In an attempt to wring the body and all its “properly” held ideas of flesh and voice, and re-examine how we redress unruliness as a method for building up new scores of space, alternate routes of escape, and engining melancholy as a viable vehicle that impacts new narratives-we take to the othered space-the outdoors. Every day is devoted to a 40-minute cypher to house music as we push to sweat our truths and rampage through silenced spaces in our flesh to activate and forward new narratives. Then we take off into the outdoors and work daily on crafting in the otherwhere: parking lots, hidden streams, rivers, churches, trees, and/or fire escapes. Be ready to get dirty! In the largest sense, this course applies work/rest etiquettes, found methodologies, activism, and investigatory partnership with landscaping. We will look at several approaches: either by radically manipulating the terrain in a remote area to produce an “earthwork” or by creating ephemeral or removable tableaux along particular pathways so that the terrain and our bodies are not permanently altered but affected. No matter which approach you might be inclined to study this summer, The Happening as a site-specific art is meant to become part of a locale and to restructure the viewer’s conceptual and perceptual experience of that locale through you, the artist’s, intervention. 

momar ndiaye/justin tornow

Alt Comp: approaches for a more expansive dancemaking practice
The scope of this course is designed to explore a variety of practices that can surprise us with their boundless options for use in the creative process. Over the first two weeks, we will explore strategies and methods for spontaneous composition. We will philosophically and physically explore the concepts of spontaneity, freedom, control, attachment and detachment. Liberties, playfulness, and an imaginative environment will be utilized as essential creative tools. In the three weeks that follow, we will bring more methods and processes into the fold: Using chance procedures, prompts, performance scores, indeterminate structures, workshopping, and inter- and cross-disciplinary collaborative methods, we will experiment with what happens when we release ourselves from some of the expectations and conventions that might take precedent over our own interests. 

Together, we will create a creative, laboratory-like context to approach dancemaking from radically different perspectives as compared to traditional models of choreographing. Participants will be invited to identify their tendencies and biases, to physically and conceptually identify new possibilities, and consider what might come when we open ourselves and our practices up to the yet-unknown. When we let go, we can delight in the wealth of possibilities available to us. 

navarra novy-williams

Creative Process
Creative process is a lab for exploring our individual and collective physical fantasies. We are in this present moment a collection of histories that will reveal themselves in movement through play, repetition, memory, and trust. Each class will explore these moments through different choreographic lenses, adding and subtracting as the process evolves.

mixed makers

The Mixed Makers class allows dancers to experience five different makers. Each maker will use their week of class in ways that are meaningful for them. This experience may involve exploring how to create a technique class that reflects their values, investigating creative processes and methods, teaching repertory, engaging in performance practices, or any other practice that yields insight and meaning. At the end of the week, makers have the option to share any work created with the class through an informal showing for the ADF community. We’re excited to offer this course, which allows dancers to sharpen their ability to further a new skill set each week with a different dance artist.  

André M. Zachery

Physical Propulsion 
Physical Propulsion is a training method of engaging the body through space using floor, standing and aerial techniques rooted in sacro-cranial alignment and awareness. The training method is built to functionally and tactically use physicality as an artistic conduit while testing the limits of movement across dimensions, especially across the usually forgotten transverse plane – the “z-axis”. The aim is to achieve greater dynamic range across many levels while maintaining maximum efficiency in the body. Movement is generated and activated through the pulsating spine like a coiling bedspring. The class works from the ground-up to align the body to connect phrases with energy that coils and recoils akin to the spring. The movement variations are based on modalities from Flying Low technique – codified by David Zambrano, Laban, Límon and Capoeira. The growth and development of the Physical Propulsion is facilitated dually by personal inquiry as well as the exchange and input of movement practitioners from around the globe. The goal of each class is to gain more comfort and courage using the body into and out of the floor with dynamic range of motion, a sense of togetherness with class takers and musicality throughout the space.

Michelle Pearson

The making of PATRIOT
PATRIOT…traveling museum, multi media performance, deeply human dance, transformative art. PATRIOT moves personal stories of service, sacrifice, and soul-searching. Michelle Pearson, along with founding members of Black Box Dance Theatre invite veterans, dance artists, and the military community to explore complex challenges facing our military and those they serve. America’s longest war is happening now. What part do you play? The Mixed Maker week at ADF invites ADF students into the process of research, movement development, and choreographic discovery. Outcomes from the Mixed Makers week include take away methods for engaging community in the dance making process, powerful solo and group work, and possible performance opportunities. PATRIOT is scheduled to premiere and tour spring of 2021 and will include the artistry of all who participate along the way. 

Responses the making of PATRIOT:
Words cannot describe or do justice to last night. I had the privilege to see Army veteran, and dear friend, Alfredo Hurtado, perform with Black Box Dance Theatre in Boston,… the show was emotional, powerful and was an excellent Veteran’s Day weekend tribute. -Helder Cerqueira (Audience)

“I’m still in a daze over the wonderful experience of being a part of the For Those Who Served experience with Black Box Dance. Wounds that have been festering for 50 years have begun to heal. I have found self respect and a meaning that had been missing from my life for many years.  When you come back to Cambridge, I will support you in any way I can.” Richard Sliney (Veteran, Participant)

AXIS Dance Company

AXIS Dance Company will introduce choreographic tools for disabled and non-disabled dancers. Using creative movement, improvisation, and modern dance techniques we will explore solo, duet, and ensemble material. Participants will explore how to adapt or translate choreography to suit each individual body. Tasks introduced will give insight into some of the techniques and creative tools involved in the creation of AXIS repertory. 

Hilary Clark

Making from the Middle or Dancer as Maker
Dancers working presently in the contemporary, experimental dance world are in relation to the historical definitions of “the dancer,” all while deconstructing and recontextualizing its meaning. Dancers are “makers” in their own right inside choreographic structures. With an emphasis on making and creating from the middle, we will focus on scores that bring us closer to our own personal source material. This class aims to get us connected to our poetic bodiesto our physical autobiographies and somatic particularities as source material for making and dancing. I encourage bodies towards pleasure and wildness, bodies that are full and ready to connect and see each other. We will work with somatic practices and improvised scores and learn some set choreography as a means to uncover how our histories may interact with how we “see” and participate in dance making. I am presently asking a lot of questions about dance training and the value systems created through these practices and their effects on our choices. If we are interested in truly creating a more inclusive dance space, how can we look at training models and ask, what bodies and what ideas were prioritized, and what values and paradigms for success were formed and how do we situate ourselves in relation? How does this reflection of how we engage with these dance values systems shape our choices? As dancers we are our cultivating and crafting movement choices through so many processes, embodied experiences, dance practices, memories, etc., and I am interested in how we can include more in our dancing.

Eric Geiger

Can how we’re moving be what we’re making?
Can we organize, reorganize, and disorganize ourselves in order to arrive in our dancing? We’ll wildly move through space, mess with time, destabilize our habitual patterns and make room for risk taking and aliveness. We’ll shake and shake it up. Let’s value being in it together while simultaneously listening to our responsive/responsible selves. Let’s make something and give it away simultaneously. Let’s experiment, like children playing scientist, who mix ingredients together just to see what will happen. Or, like alchemists, making something common into something magnificent. Let’s practice generosity. I like to imagine the dance class as a space of negotiations. In these negotiations, we attempt to be honest about the divergent ways that we experience and imagine time, space, energy, motivation, intention, relationship, and propriety. As elusive as the concept is, I imagine the dance class as a place in which we can practice embodiment together and let that generate a beauty that we may not understand right away, and that we will consistently need to reevaluate. We will share, we will be together, we will make mistakes and offenses, we will apologize earnestly, we will check ourselves, we will keep going.

Ray Schwartz

Contact Improvisation: Foundational Practices. Deep Listening.
Initiated 47 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, and to the ways in which an attitude of deep listening can generate supported choice-making and movement proposals while developing strategies for dynamic dancing. We will look closely at 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.

Rosanna Tavarez/Joy Davis

Practicing rigorous PLAY for action, composition and performance 
What does it mean to work hard and play hard?

Taught by Countertechnique Teachers Rosanna Tavarez (first half SDI) and Joy Davis (second half SDI), this course is designed to tap into rigorous playfulness. Through lighthearted movement generation, dialogue through observation, and cultivating performance presence, we will practice allowing for levity and depth in the creative process.  We will utilize tools from various creative mediums such as Countertechnique, Authentic Movement, improvisation, visual inspiration, and singing to deepen availability in the body, develop agility in making choices on stage, and refine awareness for performance. While being less concerned with the mental cacophony of self-criticism, we will create conscious opportunities to connect, create cooperative ensemble work, and investigate our abilities to connect hard work with playfulness.

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!