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Coordinates: 36°00′31″N 78°55′12″W / 36.0086°N 78.9199°W / 36.0086; -78.9199

The American Dance Festival is an eight-week summer festival of modern dance performances, and a six and four-week school for dance currently held at Duke University and the Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham, North Carolina.[1]

The precursor to today’s American Dance Festival began at Bennington College in the summer of 1935 as the Bennington Festival where modern dance pioneers Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman came together to teach dance technique and perform new works. For one year, in 1939, Bennington moved its dance program to Mills College in Oakland, California. But it was back in Vermont by 1940.

In 1948, a program based on the Bennington model was established at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut and called the New York University – Connecticut College School of Dance / American Dance Festival. In 1969, newly appointed director Charles Reinhart shortened the name to, simply, the American Dance Festival. After 30 years at the Connecticut College campus, the festival moved, in 1978, to the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Modern dance choreographers and companies including José Limón, Pearl Lang, Bella Lewitzky, Sophie Maslow, Alwin Nikolais, Merce Cunningham, Ruth Currier, Erick Hawkins, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Eiko & Koma, Seán Curran and Pilobolus have all given performances there.

Countless dance works have been premiered at the American Dance Festival, many of those commissioned by ADF. ADF has scaled back its usual eight-week run to seven weeks, in response to the stalled national economy. The largest theater in the Carolinas, the Durham Performing Arts Center, was built partly as a showcase for the festival.[1]

Further reading

  • Anderson, Jack: The American Dance Festival. Duke University Press, Durham 1987.(ISBN 0-8223-0683-2).


External links



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