The American Dance Festival Has Announced its 2020 Season

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The American Dance Festival Has Announced its 2020 Season

The American Dance Festival (ADF) today announced the schedule for its 87th season, running June 18-July 25, 2020. The season includes performances by both new and established companies, highlighting the breadth and excellence of today's modern dance field.

"ADF's 87th season honors modern dance's past while looking forward to the art form's future. Along with the ADF debuts of choreograhers such as Milka Djordevich and Janis Brenner, the Limón Dance Company and Paul Taylor Dance companies, both longstanding modern dance powerhouses, will present programs of classic work alongside the new work of contemporary choreographers. We are thrilled to present a season that encompasses the unbelievable breadth of the modern dance field. There is undoubtedly something for everyone this season" said ADF Executive Director, Jodee Nimerichter.

ADF 2020 will honor Giorgios Bakatsias, longtime ADF supporter and the Southeast's most prolific and visionary restaurateur, with a dedication ceremony prior to the opening night performance on June 18. Also on opening night, ADF's Opening Night Fête at The Rickhouse will follow the performance of Renne Harris Puremovement. The 2020 Balasaraswati/Joy Anne Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching will be awarded to noted author and scholar of cultural studies Dr. Kariamu Welsh in a ceremony on July 11. ADF will award the 2020 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement to acclaimed choreographer Shen Wei. Shen Wei, whose company is celebrating is 20th year since its founding at ADF, will be in residence all season as a part of the Footprints program where he will set a new ADF-commissioned work on
students. The award will be presented prior to the Footprints program on July 23.

Additional season highlights include the return of the Limón Dance Company with revered works and a new ADF commission by ADF alumni Chafin Seymour. 2018 Footprints choreographer Abby Zbikowski brings her company Abby Z and the New Utility with an ADF-commissioned powerhouse evening-length work, Radioactive Practice. Also making their ADF debut, Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group presents POWER based on Wilson's investigations related to the early evolution of African American spiritual worship.

ADF has teamed up with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Duke Performances, Duke Arts, and Duke Dance to co-present Made in NC. Made in NC will present four ADF-commissioned world premieres by five North Carolina choreographers at the von der Heyden Studio Theater in the Rubenstein Arts Center and the new Sculpture Garden at the Nasher Museum of Art. Works will be presented by Chris Yon & Taryn Griggs, Justin Tornow, Ramya Sundaresam Kapadia, and Jose Valesquez.

ADF fan favorite Pilobolus returns with Shadowland: The New Adventure, and Monica Bill Barnes & Company is back with The Running Show, documenting the life of a dancer through movement, interviews, and stories. The show features a large cast of local performers. A.I.M by Kyle Abraham is back for the third consecutive year with the ADF-commissioned An Untitled Love, an evening-length work that celebrates culture, family, and community.

After rave reviews at ADF in 2019, Rennie Harris Puremovement returns with Rennie Harris LIFTED, an evening-length gospel House work featuring a local, live choir. Also returning is Sara Juli with her one-woman show Burnt-Out Wife, a solo that takes on topics such as intimacy, loneliness, monogamy, and other marital taboos.

The 2020 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, and the Durham Performing Arts Center. Single tickets and subscriptions go on sale Tuesday, April 28th, and prices range from $12 to $64 with many savings options available. Tickets can be purchased through the ADF website at More detailed information about ticket prices and performing companies, including photos, videos, and press reviews, are also available on the website.

Rennie Harris Puremovement

American Street Dance Theater
Reynolds Industries Theater
June 18-19 at 7:30pm | Children's Matinee: June 20 at 1pm
Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater, who wowed ADF audiences last summer with their joyous performance of Rennie Harris FUNKEDIFIED, returns to ADF with Rennie Harris LIFTED, an evening-length gospel House work featuring a live choir. Harris addresses the topic of morality, spirituality, and community through his newest work. Rennie Harris LIFTED is based on the organic spiritual tapestry of House music and dance which is often referred to as going to "church." Evening performances will include ADF students and local gospel singers.

Charlotte Ballet

Page Auditorium
June 20 at 7:30pm | June 21 at 3pm
Celebrating 50 Years!
Under the artistic direction of Hope Muir, Charlotte Ballet offers a powerhouse repertoire that is unmatched in its boldness and creativity. The company, celebrating its 50th anniversary, will perform an evening of mixed repertory including Journey Home by Chelsea Dumas, A Picture of you Falling by Crystal Pite, and Petite Cérémonie by Medhi Walerski.

Abby Z and the New Utility

von der Heyden Studio Theater
June 24-27 at 7:30pm
ADF Commission! ADF Debut!
"Bessie" award-winning choreographer Abby Zbikowski and her company Abby Z and the New Utility present the ADF-commissioned Radioactive Practice, a mosaic group of movers versed in forms including hip-hop, modern dance, postmodern dance, West African, tap, synchronized swimming, and ice skating to cut through assumptions that surround these traditions while testing their own physical and mental limits. Working with Senegalese dance artist Momar Ndiaye as dramaturge, Zbikowski and crew have created a genre-bending performance that asks audiences to consider their relationships to traditions surrounding moving bodies differently.

Limón Dance Company

Page Auditorium
June 26-27 at 7:30pm | Children's Matinee: June 27 at 1pm
ADF Commission!
In performances of musicality, athleticism, and drama, the contemporary emerges out of the classics with the Limón Dance Company. With the company's classic works and collaborations with contemporary choreographers, we see how powerful dance of the past and present can invigorate each other and us. The company, celebrating its 75th anniversary, will perform Limón's classics Psalm and The Moor's Pavane, an acclaimed work by Kate Weare, and a new work co-commissioned by ADF and the Limón Dance Company by ADF alumni Chafin Seymour.

Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group

Reynolds Industries Theater
June 30-July 1 at 7:30pm
Reggie Wilson's new evening-length work POWER reimagines compelling core Shaker values, contributions, practices, and histories through a postmodern American lens. This work builds on Wilson's investigations related to the early evolution of African American spiritual worship in the pantheon of American Christian religions and expands on his research into ring shouts and African American worship.

Made in NC

von der Heyden Studio Theater and the Sculpture Garden at the Nasher Museum of Art
July 2-3 at 7:30pm | July 4 at 2pm
ADF-Commissioned World Premieres! ADF Debuts!
Co-presented by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Duke Performances, Duke Arts, and Duke Dance
An evening of new ADF-commissioned dance works by five North Carolina artists celebrating dance being created right here, at home.The artists chosen include Chris Yon and Taryn Griggs presenting a darkly humorous ensemble piece, Durham-based Justin Tornow with a collaborative, interdisciplinary work, Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, instructor, and Carnatic vocalist Ramya Sundaresam Kapadia, and hip-hop and street dance performer Jose Velasquez who will begin the program with a performance in the Sculpture Garden at the Nasher Museum of Art.

Monica Bill Barnes & Company

Reynolds Industries Theater
July 7-8 at 7:30pm
World Premiere!
A 7-year-old falls in love with dance at her first recital. 40 years later, she works every day to stay in the game. At 70 she keeps moving. The Running Show documents the life of a dancer through movement, interviews, and stories. The show features a large cast of local performers at each performance. Dancers from each community, ranging in age from 12 years old to 84, join Monica Bill Barnes on stage, learning their parts over the course of one week. Robbie Saenz de Viteri interviews each cast, incorporating their voices and stories into the show, giving the audience an unprecedented look into the life of a dancer as a new kind of sports hero who keeps moving against all odds.

Milka Djordjevich

von der Heyden Studio Theater
July 9-11 at 7:30pm
ADF Debut!
Questioning contemporary dance's predisposition towards neutrality, authenticity, and the de-sexualization of the female body, ANTHEM embraces theatricality, virtuosity, and sass. The work weaves together existing and imagined vernacular dance styles to explore labor, play, and feminine-posturing. Four women execute a repetitive yet complex movement vocabulary that evolves as they rotate hypnotically within the confines of a square. Over time, the meditative rigor of their steps dissolves into a tangle of commotion, blurring the distinction between the mundane and the glamorous.


Page Auditorium
July 10-11 at 7:30pm | Children's Matinee: July 11 at 1pm
The internationally renowned movement company Pilobolus brings Shadowland: The New Adventure to ADF 2020. This new work uses Pilobolus' exploration of mixed media to tell a love story about two people and their quest to save a magical bird. Employing animation, video, and live shadow theater, this madcap adventure dips its toe into the genres of science fiction, film noir, and romantic comedy. The Children's Matinee program will present Pilobolus is a Fungus.

A.I.M by Kyle Abraham

Reynolds Industries Theater
July 14-16 at 7:30pm
ADF Commission!
An Untitled Love is MacArthur "Genius" Kyle Abraham's newest evening-length work. With music from the catalog of Grammy Award-winning R&B legend D'Angelo, this creative exaltation serves as a thumping mixtape celebrating culture, family, and community.

Janis Brenner

von der Heyden Studio Theater
July 15 at 7pm | July 16 at 9pm | July 17 at 7pm | July 18 at 9 pm
ADF Debut!
Inheritance: A Litany is a journey into the myriad ways a daughter "became" her late parents. She inherited her father's nose, her mother's singing voice, father's sarcasm, mother's fragile bones... as well as a lifetime of objects, lessons, and even thoughts and ways of being in the world. This poetic narrative, dance-opera-play, and comic drama by internationally acclaimed artist Janis Brenner reveals aspects of a family's story as well as the nature of how we become who we are and uncovers what makes us each unique, complicated, and fragile human beings. Inheritance: A Litany won the 2018 United Solo Awards for Best Production, Best Composer, and Best Lighting Design and was the winner of the 2019 Critics' Award from All About SOLO in NYC.

Sara Juli

von der Heyden Studio Theater
July 15 at 9pm | July 16 at 7pm | July 17 at 9pm | July 18 at 7pm
ADF Commission!
Sara Juli's Burnt-Out Wife takes on topics such as intimacy, loneliness, monogamy, and other marital taboos. Juli employs her comedic text-driven dance style to explore the decay and detritus of marriage with equal parts wit and vulnerability. Taking place in a Pepto-Bismol pink bathroom, this evening length dance-theater-comedy will spark intimate conversations while blowing up the institution with humor, reflection, and a complete re-imagining.

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Page Auditorium
July 17-18 at 7:30pm
Co-presented by DANCECleveland
One of modern dance's most esteemed companies returns to ADF with classic Taylor works, Arden Court, a beautiful and utterly joyful dance that depicts the many facets of romantic and platonic love, and the definitive Paul Taylor work, Esplanade, a work at once playful, somber, romantic, and explosive. The company will also perform Kyle Abraham's Only the Lonely, an eight-dancer suite set to recordings of pop songs by jazz-singer Shirley Horn that visualizes themes of loneliness and despair from multiple viewpoints. ADF and DANCECleveland will pay tribute to Lillian Weisberg, co-founder of DANCECleveland, who turned 100 years old this year and who has been a champion of dance for both organizations.

Vertigo Dance Company

Durham Performing Arts Center
July 21-22 at 7:30pm
One, One & One is a new original dance piece by choreographer Noa Wertheim that revolves around the individual's inner wish to be whole while being challenged constantly by a fragmented reality within the personal, existential, and spiritual realms of one's being. This work develops the metaphoric relationship between far and near and self and the other and despair from multiple viewpoints.


Reynolds Industries Theater
July 23-25 at 7:30pm
ADF-Commissioned World Premieres! ADF Debut!
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 are Charles O. Anderson, artistic director of Charles O. Anderson Dance Projects, an Afro-contemporary dance theater company, and head of the dance program at UT Austin, Kimberly Bartosik, choreographer, performer, educator, and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, and Shen Wei, choreographer, visual artist, Artistic Director of Shen Wei Dance Arts, MacArthur "Genius" awardee, and the 2020 recipient of ADF's Samuel H. Scripps Award for lifetime achievement.

Additional performances and events

Join the stellar musicians from the ADF School as they share their remarkable talent with the entire community at the ADF Musicians Concert on Monday, June 22 at 7:30pm in Reynolds Industries Theater.

Each year, the remarkable and talented ADF faculty present a concert of their own choreography, performed by ADF students and faculty. The ADF Faculty Concert will take place on Saturday, July 4 at 7:30pm in Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University.

ADF's Movies by Movers will screen films at the Nasher Museum of Art on June 14, June 28, July 5, and July 12. All screenings begin at 2:00pm. ADF's Movies by Movers is a bi-annual festival dedicated to the celebration of the conversation between the body and the camera. All screenings are FREE!

A photo exhibit from ADF's archives honoring dance students and dance educators will hang in Gallery 235 in Duke University's Rubenstein Arts Center May 21-July 17.

ADF will continue to host panel discussions with visiting choreographers and companies, provide free creative movement classes for youth, offer free tours of the ADF school, and hold post-performance discussions moderated by Tina Vasquez throughout the course of the summer.

Kids' Activities
The Children's Saturday Matinee series presents performances by three of the acclaimed professional dance companies that perform during the season. These one-hour performances are specially curated to ignite and inspire the imaginations of children, and each one is followed by a FREE Kids' Party in the theater lobby, complete with live music, face-painting, snacks, and additional activities. Tickets for the Children's Saturday Matinee series are $10 each. The 2020 Children's Matinee series includes Rennie Harris Puremovement (June 20, 1:00pm, Reynolds Industries Theater), Limón Dance Company (June 27, 1:00pm, Page Auditorium) and Pilobolus (July 11, 1:00pm, Page Auditorium). 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.

Dedication to Education
Each year, over 300 dance students and artists from around the world arrive on the campus of Duke University to discover a world of dance at the ADF school. Under the direction of Dean Leah Cox, the school hosts the Summer Dance Intensive (June 18-July 25), the Pre-Professional Dance Intensive for dancers ages 13-17 (July 5-July 25), and the Dance Professional Workshops (various dates available).

ADF's Samuel H. Scripps Studios
ADF will offer twelve dance camps this summer for young dancers aged 6-17 years including Dance Adventures, Summer Dance Days, Teen Dance Camp, and Shadow Camps with Pilobolus.

The ADF Go program is designed to make modern dance more accessible and affordable for young arts lovers in our community. Audience members between the ages of 18 to 30 have the opportunity to purchase a $12 ticket to most ADF performances. Tickets may be purchased on the day of performance either online or at the box office. Patrons must present a valid ID when picking up tickets.

Ticket Information

Single tickets and subscriptions to ADF performances will go on sale to the general public April 28, 2020 and may be purchased via one of the methods listed below. Tickets range in price from $12 to $64.

Tickets for Reynolds Industries Theater, Page Auditorium, and von der Heyden Studio Theater
Duke University Box Office
Bryan University Center
Duke University West Campus
Durham, NC
Monday-Friday 11am-6pm

Tickets for DPAC
Durham Performing Arts Center Ticket Center, The American Tobacco District
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC
Monday-Saturday 10am-2pm

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