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 March 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


Ballet Ramon Flowers
Modern Technique Shayla-Vie Jenkins

Shen Wei’s Natural Body Development Technique

Kate Jewett/Sara Procopio
Modern Technique Paul Matteson
Afro-Fusion: From Barefoot to Sneakers Momar Ndiaye
Contact Improvisation Ray Schwartz
Countertechnique Charles Slender-White/Rosanna Tavarez
Cunningham Technique Andrea Weber


Afro-Contemporary Technique Charles Anderson
Hip hop Groove Foundations Quilan “Cue” Arnold
Ballet Ramon Flowers
Partnering Paul Matteson
Somatics and Dancing Ray Schwartz
Improvisation for Group Performance  Charles Slender-White/Rosanna Tavarez
Modern Root(ed) Technique Samantha Speis/Nia Love
Gaga Maayan Sheinfeld/Noa Zuk & Ohad Fishof


Footprints (ends at 5:00pm)* Paul Taylor/Set by Michael Trusnovec
Footprints (ends at 5:00pm)* Martha Graham/Set by Masha Maddux/Blakeley White-McGuire
Footprints (ends at 5:00pm)* Merce Cunningham/Set by Andrea Weber
Street Dance Repertory* Quilan “Cue” Arnold
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company Repertory* Shayla-Vie Jenkins
Shen Wei Dance Art Repertory* Kate Jewett/Sara Procopio
Contemporary West African Repertory Stafford Berry/Sherone Price
Composition (Kinetic Storytelling) Charles Anderson

Mixed Makers

Kyle Marshall/AXIS Dance Company/Ni’Ja Whitson/Netta Yerushalmy/Johnnie Cruise Mercer

Site-Specific Composition Samantha Speis/Nia Love
Creative Process Maayan Sheinfeld/Noa Zuk & Ohad Fishof

*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 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

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 ebb-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.

Samantha speis/Nia Love

Modern Roots

Nia Love
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. 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.

Samantha Speis
The body holds memories the mind cannot fully process. We will seep ourselves in developing a practice that explores pelvic mobility as the root of powerful locomotion and as a point of connection to the stories, experiences, memories and lineages that reside in each of us. We will explore concepts of full bodied movement with a dynamic blend of athleticism and fluidness, integrating breath and musicality, core stability, centering, grounding and shifting the pelvis. Emphasis is placed on developing a foundation that supports a greater expansion through space with clarity and efficiency. You will be encouraged and challenged to work from within to cultivate deeper physical connections.

shayla-vie jenkins

Modern Technique
This class aims to maximize each student’s movement possibilities in a safe, yet rigorous, container. We will hone our kinesthetic awareness particularly focusing on the power of attending to the perception of weight, gravity, space, and directions in our body-world relationship. Class begins with a warming practice that draws from meditation, yoga, qi gong, and somatic practices that generate internal fire while awakening our inner sensibility. We will set a tone of comfort and wakeful sensitivity as we find “floors” of support in the body, space, and sonic environment. Using set and improvised center and traveling exercises, class will progress into movement ideas that attend to weight and momentum shifts, dynamic stability, specific body part initiations, resiliency, rebound, and sequential thinking. We will further these investigations through detailed phrase work and improvisation scores. Our practice of experiential knowing, observation, discussion, writing, and reflection will transform our presence in movement.

Paul Matteson

Modern Technique
An investigation of off-balanced yet precise multi-focused movement. Classes begin with mindful walking and body rolling practices to gather attention and set a tone of tender touch. From there, dancers progress through a series of spiraling sequences that establish a buoyant relationship with the floor, harness forces of momentum, and demand intricate expression of the limbs. Sequences eventually combine into dynamic performance phrases. Interplay with live music offers an exchange of texture, rhythmic challenge, and nuance.


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.

kate jewett/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. 

Ray Schwartz

Somatics and Dancing: Sensory Stamina, Dynamic Movement, and the Athletics of Attention
A contemporary movement class in which we will integrate somatic explorations drawn from Body-Mind Centering®, the Feldenkrais Method®, Bartenieff Fundamentals, and other embodiment practices with dancing. Somatics views the individual as an integrated whole expressed as an embodied intelligence. Through the use of movement, touch, imagination, and collective engagement, learning and change is evoked. Working alone and in solidarity with others and the environment, somatics can provide access to deep insight into our embodied patterns of being. During the class we will explore dancing as inspired by experiential anatomy principles 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.

mayaan sheinfeld/noa zuk & ohad fishof

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

Charles Slender-White/Rosanna Tavarez

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!


quilan “cue” arnold

Street Dance Repertory
Quilan’s work uses street dance as a tool to better understand the existence of Africanism within American culture. The dynamics within the afro-centric dance styles of house, popping, and hip-hop are used to construct kinesthetic conversations in order to reveal the often untold ideologies that shape our American narrative. Dancers are challenged to consistently interchange between the social and performative foundations of street dance culture in order to establish genuine relationships amongst themselves and with the audience while on stage.

stafford berry/sherone price

West African Dance Flow (Week 1) with Stafford Berry
In this West African Dance Flow class, students are led through a series of isolations, progressions, and phrases that demonstrate various neo-traditional African dance styles. The basic goal is to gain a working knowledge of fundamental movement vocabulary and dynamics. Emphasis is placed on groundedness, polyrhythms, and foot, arm, torso, head, and leg positions, as well as isolatory articulation of the body. This technique is high impact yet embodies flow, and it provides a foundation for further diasporic dance exploration.

Contemporary West African Repertory (Weeks 2-5) with Sherone Price

mark dendy

ADF will commission award-winning choreographer Mark Dendy to create 15 minutes of site-adaptable dance choreography for 10 Summer Dance Intensive (SDI) scholarship students. The choreography will be performed in excerpts or in its entirety at various sites including business centers, parks, malls, retirement homes, baseball games, and beyond throughout Durham and the NC Triangle during ADF’s 2019 season. Students will perform on the weekends, evenings, and days when their regularly scheduled classes are not taking place. We anticipate 10-15 performance venues per week. 

Selected students will receive full-tuition scholarships to attend SDI. During the five-day creative process with Dendy, students will also be provided dormitory housing and up to $200 towards meals. Students selected will be limited from participating in other performance opportunities, such as the Footprints program. To apply visit the Leadership Scholarship page for details!


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 2019 Footprints choreographers include: 

  • Merce Cunningham (staged by Andrea Weber)
  • Martha Graham (staged by Blakeley White-McGuire)
  • Paul Taylor (staged by Michael Trusnovec)

Shayla-Vie Jenkins

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company Repertory

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company repertory will reconstruct Spent Days Out Yonder, a work in the company’s current touring Play and Play program. Spent Days Out Yonder is a pure musical exploration, rare in the Bill T. Jones canon, set to the second movement of Mozart’s String Quartet No. 23 in F Major. The movement is firmly rooted in Mr. Jones’s elegant, weighted movement vocabulary, challenging dancers to move with ease, efficiency, and physical honesty through the sublime score.

Kate jewett/sara procopio

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.


Charles O. Anderson

Kinetic Storytelling Rep Workshop
What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?”

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 Repertory Workshop is 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 and a metaphor for testimony.

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.  

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. This residency will end with an informal sharing of work developed throughout the week.

Kyle Marshall

I teach from an embodied history of black and postmodern dancing. We will exercise our body’s strength and agility in order to find new ways of taking risk and developing self-care. Play with rhythm, footwork, and the voice will deepen our sense of musicality. We will build phrasework to challenge our body’s coordination, use of weight, and retention of detail. Acts of unison and improvisation will heighten our connection to the group and allow us to harness the personal power of choice-making. I see dance as an act of joy and a way to uplift the spirit. Class is a space for personal growth, creative challenge, and community.

Ni’Ja Whitson

Dark Black: The Vaporous Body
We grip inside dark corners to find spaces of expanse and rebellion. Darkness will be our architecture, landscape, cosmological map into interiority, a site of Black Queer magnificence. Participants will rigorously improvise as a wailing where we’ll conjure the residence time of trauma in the blood of our bodies, deep, to its liberatory trails. There will be poetry. Trap music. Profuse sweat. Healing technologies. Ancestral hollers.  Whitson’s studies in dark[black]ness, shapeshifting, and refusing to become inform our chases of the invisible.

Netta Yerushalmy
Deconstructing Dance History: A Studio Practice
This workshop follows in the footsteps of my Paramodernities project. It is about meeting ourselves a new, through re-embodying what I refer to as the “geological” layers that comprise our trained dancing bodies. In the first half of the week we’ll spend time studying and dancing movements that we in some sense know, that we take for granted, or that we deem “old school” and naive. Like trying on a period-costume and allowing it to change our behavior, we’ll reverently (if temporarily) commit ourselves to the physicality, meaning, and ideologies that these movements hold. The second half of the workshop will be about manipulating that information with a variety of irreverent methods. These deconstructive methods aim at generating new perspectives for workshop-participants about our individual and shared past-present-future moving bodies.

Johnnie Cruise Mercer

The process will launch first from personal self-history. The artists will be asked to engage phrase material (objectively), collectively pushing toward a self-guided embodiment of both conscious and subconscious thought. Within this practice the artists will study and embrace each of their personal kinesthetic make ups to find nuance, risk, and purpose within communicated physicalized material. During the construction of the material the artists will also be facilitated through multiple conversations and workshops based on philosophers, music and its tie to “movement”, and other historical (or current) cultural cycles. The material from the lab will then be used to construct glimpses into “Process memoir 8: the mime, the witch, and those warlocks,” a process-oriented work/performance that focuses on the acknowledgment and legacy. The artists can expect to take a fantastical trip, an odyssey that materializes into what seems to be the future. The overall process will act as a surreal happening that quotes the music of rebels, hears the history of American staged performance, and ties composition to cultural/generational possibility.

maayan sheinfeld/Noa Zuk & Ohad Fishof

Creative Process

Maayan Sheinfeld
We will invest in researching the things that inspire us, open a dialogue and invite them to find expression in physical form. We will try to create a supportive playground in which we will free ourselves into experimenting and collaborating with each other. Only later will we refine and articulate our intentions.

Noa Zuk &  Ohad Fishof
Sound and dance are equally important in our work. The space between the seen and the heard, that vast poetic territory of relationships, is where a lot of our creative work is taking place. It is within this space, that we wish to spend time during our creative research workshop at ADF, and into which we would like to invite the participants. We would explore ideas from previous pieces as well as new ideas, fresh out of our current creation process, of a new piece in the making.


Nia Love/Samantha Speis

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 viable vehicle that impact 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, 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. 

Paul Matteson

A toolbox of methods for partnering. We move and are moved by each other. We explore negative space, interdependent support, responses to touch, and various ways of harnessing forces of momentum. By a quick bridging of improvisation into set work—followed by imaginative reconstruction steps—we develop intertwining dances that both honor and challenge personal and interpersonal range.

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.

Charles Slender-White/Rosanna Tavarez

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.

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!