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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dance review: This American Life meets dance-theater in a worthy experiment at ADF

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 11:57 AM

Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham Saturday, July 18 As the lights dim at DPAC, the disembodied voices of radio host Ira Glass and choreographer Monica Bill Barnes ponder how to begin: with an idea or with movement? “Perhaps the idea is movement,” Glass suggests. The lights come back up on a miniature proscenium arch with a tiny red curtain and flashing lights. Barnes and dancer Anna Bass enter through the stage within a stage, beginning a jazzy dance routine to the sound of recorded applause. Though Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ADF Journal: Searching for dance amid all the dance-theater

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 9:07 AM

As the American Dance Festival nears its end, you feel as though you’ve been running a marathon. But when you stop to catch your breath, you realize this year’s festival has been a substantial look at the current dance scene, with few disappointments. One exception was Dynamic Duos (Reynolds Theater, July 1). Its four duets seemed too academic, and dance took a secondary role to theater—something that has been true of much of the festival. It makes you wonder whether dance in its purest form can survive. The funkiest offering so far was Awkward Magic (June 30, Motorco Music Hall),...

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dance review: The articulate passion of Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca's Antigona

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 2:47 PM

Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca Durham Performing Arts Center Saturday, June 27 The Spanish colloquialism tener duende means to have a certain magic; to have soul. But these are just words doing their best to capture what the body can say in a single step or look. Soledad Barrio, star of Noche Flamenca’s Antigona, has duende—so much of it that it’s difficult to tear your eyes from her. In front of an American Dance Festival crowd at DPAC, Barrio’s steps escaped uncensored from her heart—from the eye of the storm.  Barrio plays the title role in this production, directed by...

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ADF Journal: Worlds collide in shows by Pilobolus, BODYTRAFFIC, Heidi Latsky Dance and N.C. choreographers

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 11:18 AM

The American Dance Festival is in full swing, with performances across Durham, outdoor yoga on Duke’s East Campus, young students riding the psychedelic ADF bus and audience members showing the festival spirit. At the Pilobolus performance at DPAC on June 19, I spotted one man with a shaved head in a beautiful, flowing, flowered skirt and combat boots, and another dressed in a Hawaiian shirt with binoculars held to his eyes. You’d have thought it was a rock concert. This was appropriate, as an emerging theme of the festival is how other worlds, such as film, video and television—the virtual...

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ADF Journal: A look back at Shen Wei's "delicious" American Dance Festival opening

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 10:05 AM

Shen Wei Dance Arts Thursday, June 11 Durham Performing Arts Center In this case, we're not talking about food or sex when we say “delicious.” We're describing the dance works of Chinese-born choreographer Shen Wei. He presented Untitled No. 12-2 and the reconstructed Map for the kick-off of the American Dance Festival on Thursday, June 11, at the Durham Performing Arts Center, and both works were not only highly pleasing to the senses but also delightful. This deliciousness is why the choreographer and painter has risen to such heights: Shen Wei Dance Arts has garnered enough awards to impress even the...

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

American Dance Festival's 2015 season: Familiar faces and a few big surprises (Ira Glass?)

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 3:28 PM

Some new names, but mostly new combinations of familiar ones: That’s the quick take on the American Dance Festival’s 2015 season, which was announced Tuesday. The season is dedicated to African American Dance Ensemble founder Chuck Davis, an ADF institution, with a ceremony at the Durham Performing Arts Center June 11. At the same time, another ADF fixture goes missing this summer: For the first time since 2002, ADF will not confer its Samuel H. Scripps award for Lifetime Achievement in Choreography (or its $50,000 honorarium, one of if not the largest in modern dance) to anyone, for reasons not...

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

American Dance Festival 2014: The Takeaway

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 4:27 PM

AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL June 12-July 26 americandancefestival.org In a good year, the American Dance Festival changes at least some part of our thinking about modern and contemporary dance. That’s a tall—and standing—order, each season: to find and present artists whose works are exploring and redefining the boundaries of the art form, as well as the masters who have brought us to this point. The takeaway from 2014? Mission largely accomplished. After Emanuel Gat’s recent work seemed a sociological experiment in overcrowding set to specific protocols, the choreographer announced a potentially significant divorce following the perplexing world premiere of Ida? with...

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dance reviews: Tere O’Connor at the American Dance Festival

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 10:34 AM

As the lights came up at the American Dance Festival on July 16, we encountered a slight woman in a green dress. She fluidly walked subtle floor patterns, her hips punctuating spatial shifts. This was the opening statement of Tere O’Connor’s BLEED. For those who’d attended ADF performances that week of the choreographer’s other three works, Sister, Secret Mary and poem, this woman’s presence was infused with a spark of recognition. Every cast member of BLEED had performed in at least one of the prior programs, so that with each new arrival on stage, there was a ping of familiarity. This sense of...

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Exclusive video preview: Renay Aumiller’s Acquiring Dawn at the American Dance Festival

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 4:59 PM

The American Dance Festival brings choreographers and dancers from all over the world to Durham (see our preview), but tonight at Reynolds Theater, it turns our attention to North Carolina natives in “Here and Now: NC Dances.”  A co-presentation with the NC Dance Festival, “Here and Now” features the work of four choreographers and companies: Renay Aumiller Dances, Gaspard & Dancers, Diego Carrasco Schoch and Leah Wilks’ Vector. Today, the INDY visited Aumiller’s tech rehearsal to create this exclusive video preview of Acquiring Dawn, which was inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road and finds beauty in a post-apocalyptic setting. “Here and Now: NC Dances” is at 7...

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

ADF Critical Remix: Human Digital Editing with 605 Collective

Posted By on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Grant Halverson605 Collective's AUDIBLEAUDIBLE605 COLLECTIVEAMERICAN DANCE FESTIVALREYNOLDS THEATRE Painter Robert Longo, motion picture special effects designer John Gaeta, UNC defensive line coach Keith Gilmore, martial arts choreographer 袁和平 (Yuán Hépíng) and cyberpunk novelist William Gibson got thrown out of a tec bar the other night... In its past, even among its most refined practitioners, hip hop choreography has been a signifier set that frequently has pointed back to little more than itself. Stipulate that such is an inevitable stage in the evolution of any human behavior that emerges from pastime to trick to technique to style to substance as an...

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Friday, June 28, 2013

ADF Critical Remix: COLLECTIVE MEASURES shows LIMITED progress

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 12:49 PM

COLLECTIVE MEASURES SHEN WEI DANCE ARTS AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL DURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER As mentioned in our previous Critical Remix, Shen Wei regularly revises earlier works. Less regularly, however, does he change their titles while keeping much of their content the same. That gives us pause about the putative world premiere of COLLECTIVE MEASURES. By my reckoning, at least half of its contents were viewed, more or less verbatim, in a lengthier world premiere at the 2011 ADF called Limited States. Shen references the work in the playbill. No doubt he should. Sequences in which dyads made exaggerated fingertip...

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ADF Critical Remix: Shen Wei Returns to Forever in NEAR THE TERRACE

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM

NEAR THE TERRACESHEN WEI DANCE ARTSAMERICAN DANCE FESTIVALDURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER By now, we’ve come to expect choreographer Shen Wei to revise earlier works when he restages them, as the prerogative of an artistic intellect that is never still. Those changes have ranged from the subliminal tweaks we’ve witnessed in versions of Folding to the overt makeover which suggested that, in the first section of his famous trilogy, the incomplete title Re— actually stood for rewriting. (Or, possibly, redaction, when the shattered floor-length mandala which clearly symbolized the Tibetan Buddhist diaspora in the first version of that work was...

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Exclusive video preview: Shen Wei's "Collective Measures" world premiere at 2013 ADF (NSFW)

Posted By on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Video clip contains partial nudity and is not safe for work. Viewer discretion is advised. Exclusive video footage from the world premiere of choreographer Shen Wei's Collective Measures at the 2013 American Dance Festival. The company performs at the Durham Performing Arts Center, Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14, 2013. Video preview produced by Byron Woods....

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

ADF 2012: Mark Morris offers fitting finale to this summer's festival, which closes Saturday

Posted By on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM

MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUPAmerican Dance Festival@ DPACJuly 27-28 The American Dance Festival closes its 2012 performance season this weekend at the Durham Performing Arts Center, with two nights of the Mark Morris Dance Group, accompanied by the fine trio of the MMDG Music Ensemble. Compared to some of the ferocious, rowdy and ridiculous programs preceding it, this one is a rather mild-mannered—but it is such a treat to have live music for the dancing that one simply revels in the pleasurable experience. The evening opens with the highly amusing 1982 dance, Canonic 3/4 Studies, set to “Piano Waltzes” by...

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

ADF 2012: Paul Taylor's flawed program

Posted By on Sat, Jul 21, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Photo by Paul B. GoodeBig BerthaPAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANYAmerican Dance Festival@ DPACThrough July 21 The Paul Taylor Dance Company took the stage at the Durham Performing Arts Center last night for their annual visit to the American Dance Festival, which concludes this evening. The mainstay company brought out a crowd expecting to see virtuosic performances from the principal dancers, and Michael Trusnovec, Amy Young and Michelle Fleet didn’t disappoint them. The real star, however, was the flawed program. A bit long with four pieces and two intermissions—and lengthened more by a curtain mishap that required repairs—the program spanned a half-century...

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

ADF 2012: Shen Wei paints himself out of a corner

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Photo by Grant Halverson/ American Dance FestivalShen Wei Dance Arts' "Undivided Divided," as performed at the North Carolina Museum of Art UNDIVIDED DIVIDEDShen Wei Dance Arts@ North Carolina Museum of ArtThrough July 19 "In the end, you deliver some of your energy to another human being." —Shen Wei Our eyes met for half a moment. Smeared in pink from eyes to toenails, she turned her head aside. That panning motion continued into a casual tumble onto her back, sliding through the tempera paint that covered the floor of the Plexiglas box that contained her. Twirling upon shoulder blades and spine...

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ADF 2012: Brian Brooks Moving Company

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Rosalie O'Connor Brian Brooks Moving CompanyJuly 16-18American Dance FestivalReynolds Industries Theater Brian Brooks makes a big production out of very little material. He choreographs all of the dances, which initially give the impression of being big and glitzy, for the aptly named Brian Brooks Moving Company. And he does it with a limited vocabulary that depends on virtuosic physical expression for what interest it arouses. The dancers are supremely fit body-machines, capable of many rapid repetitions without pause. The body and certain aspects of its capabilities (such as, how close can one get to perpetual motion?) seem to be the...

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

ADF 2012: Vertigo Dance and the clarification of presence

Posted By on Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Vertigo Dance Company - Images by Independent WeeklyVERTIGO DANCEAmerican Dance Festival@ DPACJuly 13-14 You can tell it’s an election year because of the dualities in the air. “I’m for doing this, but that guy is for doing that.” It’s obvious why political discourse is so full of these statements of polar opposition. Opposites are simple. Even babies get “either/or.” This is why there are nearly as many “opposites” books in the toddler section of the bookstore as there are those listing colors or letters of the alphabet. Something is either in or out, black or white. It’s either day or...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ADF 2012: Ragamala Dance's intense, hypnotic ritual

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Photo courtesy of Ragamala DanceSacred EarthRAGAMALA DANCEAmerican Dance Festival@Reynolds Industries TheaterThrough July 12 I just saw something beautiful, although I had to forget myself to see it. Ragamala Dance, a company of six women under the artistic direction of mother-daughter team Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy, opened a three-night run of their evening-length work Sacred Earth at the American Dance Festival in Duke’s Reynolds Industries Theater. Thematically, Ragamala portrays man’s inextricable connection to nature through a rich combination of traditions such as Indian classical dance and music, Tamil Sangam poetry, Warli mural painting and Kolam floor painting. OK. That’s the straight...

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Friday, July 6, 2012

ADF 2012: Perennial favorite Pilobolus falls flat

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Photo by Sam TrullSkyscrapersPilobolusADF at DPACThrough July 7www.dpacnc.com I know there is supposed to be a first time for everything—but a disappointing Pilobolus performance? Before last night I hadn’t thought it possible. Life constantly assures us that everything changes and that is all that can be depended upon, and after 40 years, surely Pilobolus’ current members must be interested in experimenting outside their well-known style. But, but, but … it is a shame that the company is messing around with simulacra when they have those electrifying bodies. American Dance Festival hosts Pilobolus each year, making happy audiences and making money...

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Monday, July 2, 2012

ADF 2012: The sincere artifice of Monica Bill Barnes and Company

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Photo by Grant HalversonThe opening of "Luster," which premiered this weekend at ADFREYNOLDS INDUSTRIES THEATER/ DURHAM—I figured out the reason for all the weird, prescient meteorology of the last week. It was Monica Bill Barnes and Company blowing into town. There’s no other way to put it: Barnes bedazzled Reynolds Industries Theater Sunday night at the American Dance Festival. They brought glitz; they brought glam. Batons twirled and confetti fluttered. The dancers gripped chairs in their teeth. If you need your corporeal form recharged, get to their show tonight or Tuesday. Sounds like a lot of fluff? It wasn’t. The...

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

ADF 2012: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's machineries of memory and fantasy

Posted By on Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago : Quintett - Images by Independent Weekly DURHAM/ DPAC—Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performed a long program in the Durham Performing Arts Center last night for the American Dance Festival: three pieces and two full intermissions, which they’ll reprise tonight. Each of the dances—created by 2012 Scripps/ADF Awardee William Forsythe, Hubbard Street resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo and Israeli choreographers Sharon Eyal and Gaï Behar—could have stood alone on its own. Each certainly contains an evening’s worth of content, but the evening doesn’t suffer in the least from that. Rather, it demonstrates the central characteristic of this repertory...

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

2012 ADF Season Honoree Mary Regan: The Independent Interview

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM

NC Arts Council2012 ADF Season Honoree Mary ReganThe American Dance Festival is dedicating its 2012 season to long-time supporter Mary Regan. At its opening gala on June 14, ADF Director Jodee Nimerichter noted, "Her incredible leadership of the North Carolina Arts Council transformed North Carolina into a place where art matters and thrives. Her years of innovative programming enriched North Carolina’s diverse and dynamic arts community and touched lives throughout the state and beyond." In February of this year, Regan retired after 39 years with the North Carolina Arts Council—36 of them as its executive director. On March 2, just...

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Friday, July 29, 2011

ADF 2011 Season Wrap II (Extended Dance Remix):
When the Music Takes Control. And Then Doesn't Give It Back.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 6:26 PM

NOTE: As happens every year, we had a lot more to say about the AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL than we could ever fit into the print version of the INDEPENDENT. Thus these expanded essays, which delve more in depth into some of the issues that came up—plus one or two that didn't—during the season: our extended dance mixes for the 2011 ADF. IN THIS REMIX:THE ALTERNATIVE HERSTORY OF ANNE TERESA DE KEERSMAKER CRASH-COURSE BUTOH CRASHES ONCE AGAINMUSIC TO, THROUGH, AND AT TIMES IN LIEU OF DANCING: HUBBARD STREET, SHEN WEI, EMANUEL GAT, DOUG VARONE, RON K. BROWN, PILOBOLUS & OK GO...

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

ADF 2011 Season Wrap I (Extended Dance Remix):
Dear Science

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 5:19 AM

NOTE: As happens every year, we had a lot more to say about the AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL than we could ever fit into the print version of the INDEPENDENT. Thus these expanded essays, which delve more in depth into some of the issues that came up—plus one or two that didn't—during the season: our extended dance mixes for the 2011 ADF. THE YEAR IN SCIENCE, GAME (AND CHOREOGRAPHY): SHEN WEI, EMANUEL GAT, THOMAS DEFRANTZ, PILOBOLUS What has taken the place of conventional (or even unconventional) narrative, so devalued among some contemporary dance artists? One answer: the scientific and mathematical frames...

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