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American Dance Festival

Durham, NC            

ADF’s mission is to encourage and support the creation and presentation of new modern dance work by established and emerging choreographers, preserve our modern dance heritage with the presentation of classic works and through archival efforts, build wider audiences for modern dance, enhance public understanding and appreciation of the art form and its cultural and historical significance, to provide a sound scientific and aesthetic base for professional education and training of young dancers.

Heralded as “One of the nation’s most important institutions” by the New York Times and as “The world’s greatest dance festival” by the New York Post, the American Dance Festival’s sustained record of creative achievement is indivisible from the history of modern dance. Since 1934, ADF has been committed to serving the needs of dance, dancers, choreographers, and professionals in dance-related fields. Our main concern in implementing this complex ongoing mission is to 1) preserve an awareness of the modern dance tradition, begun in late 19th century America, while 2) supporting current choreographic innovations that carry this tradition forward. While continuing to commission and present established modern dances and their companies in tandem with emerging ones, we never define what modern dance is but hold to the premise that since its inception the art form has been a revolutionary one, continually breaking the boundaries.

ADF plays a critical role in increasing the repertoires of our country’s modern dance companies. ADF has supported 689 premieres, 427 commissions, and more than 50 reconstructions and helped develop modern dance in more than 20 countries. ADF also introduced French, English, Russian, and Chinese modern dance and Japanese Butoh to the US.

ADF 2017 Performance Reel

In 2017, ADF celebrated it’s 40th year in Durham, NC and 84th annual season, presenting 71 performances with 8 world premieres in 11 venues across 3 cities. 2017 ADF commissions included new works by Beth Gill, Carolina Ballet, Sara Juli & Claire Porter, Pilobolus in collaboration with Abigail Washburn & Bela Fleck, dendy/donovan projects, Gregory Dolbashian, Shay Kuebler, and Gesel Mason.

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Footprints 2015 Sneak Peek

Celebrating the most talented emerging choreographers and dancers, Footprints delivers an outstanding presentation of three ADF-commissioned world premieres by groundbreaking artists, performed with impeccable technique and infectious energy by talented ADF students.

2015 Footprints artists: Wynn Fricke in collaboration with composer Peter O’Gorman, Gregory Maqoma, and Anna Sperber.

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ADF Musicians

The musicians at ADF play a variety of instruments and represent a broad range of musical styles and genres. Congas, drums & other percussion join pianos, trumpets, vocals and synthesizers to create a rich tapestry of sound for our dancers. Live music accompanies every class at ADF and is an invaluable resource in creating and punctuating movement. The process of creating live musical accompaniment during a dance class becomes a conversation, a “duet… between the audio and the visual,” remarks Andy Hasenpflug, ADF Director of Musicians.

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