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Dr. Kariamu Welsh To Be Honored With The 2022 ADF Distinguished Teaching Award

A ceremony honoring her and her contributions to the dance field will take place on Sunday, June 19, 2022, at 3:00 pm in Duke University's Page Auditorium.

The American Dance Festival will posthumously award the 2022 Balasaraswati/Joy Anne Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching to Dr. Kariamu Welsh. A ceremony honoring her and her contributions to the dance field will take place on Sunday, June 19, 2022, at 3:00 pm in Duke University's Page Auditorium.

"Honoring Dr. Kariamu Welsh this year is bittersweet. We began planning for a summer 2020 celebration of her in the fall of 2019. When the pandemic shut everything down, she and I decided to wait until ADF could be in-person again, as the essence of her work is rooted in community, in dancing together. Her passing in fall 2021 has left us without her presence, but the ceremony will reflect her wishes, and it will reveal the beautiful legacy that survives her," said ADF School Dean, Leah Cox.

Dr. C. Kemal Nance will accept the award on Dr. Welsh's behalf. He met Welsh as a student at Swarthmore College and continued to work with her as a principal dancer in her professional company, her Assistant Artistic Director, and her "dance son." He reflected on her vast contributions, "Dr. Welsh created a theoretical scaffolding that empowered American Black artists to articulate our movement traditions on our terms. Both her artistic and academic scholarship centralized aesthetic values that have emerged from the African aesthetic. She helped dismantle the notion that any single movement system, regardless of its cultural origin, is foundational. With reliance on 'essence,' Dr. Welsh made her students feel 'seen' and valued in her movement practice."

Kariamu Welsh was born in Thomasville, North Carolina, and moved to Brooklyn, New York, when she was young. As a child, she played Double Dutch jump rope and later connected it to her studies of African dance and traditional African culture. She created the Umfundalai dance technique, based on African artistic practices and African diasporic dance vocabulary. Dr. Welsh trained others in the technique, which was utilized by her company, Kariamu & Company: Traditions.

Indoor and outdoor performances during ADF's 89th season will be presented June, July, and September in venues in and around the Raleigh-Durham area. Check out the full schedule here.

Since 1934, ADF has been a recognized leader in America's homegrown art form, modern dance. ADF is committed to serving the needs of dance, dancers, choreographers, and professionals in dance-related fields.

The best companies in the world premiere work as part of the festival held each year in Durham, North Carolina. The festival has commissioned 442 works and premiered over 700 pieces including dances by Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Taylor.

ADF trains dancers both with its summer intensive programs for pre-professional and professional dance artists and year-round classes for movers of all levels and ages. Choreographic residencies provide artists with the necessary space and time to create. ADF shares the benefits of dance with free workshops like ADF Project Dance, in-school and after-school outreach programs, and the Parkinson's Movement Initiative, movement classes for people with Parkinson's and their care partners.

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