One reason the American Dance Festival is so comfortable in the Triangle is that the dance programs at area universities are so strong.
In Raleigh, Meredith's DanceWorks is a mini festival unto itself, kicking off with Emerging Artists concerts Friday night and Saturday afternoon featuring 10 student works and a piece for freshman dancers choreographed by program director Carol Finley. It continues with Mainstage Artists concerts Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, including a tap solo by Finley recently selected for the National American College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center, pieces by alumni M.K. Cranford and Natasha Randolph, and works by 15 students. The event concludes Sunday night with a gala performance of juried works. All performances are at Jones Auditorium; show times are 8 p.m. Friday, and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10, or $5 for students and seniors; visit meredith.edu/dance-theatre.
In Durham Saturday and Sunday at Reynolds Industries Theater in Duke's Bryan Center, Duke faculty members Julie Walters, Andrea Woods and Nina Wheeler show choreography ranging from contemporary ballet to jazz dance. Woods offers "Quimbara," based on Cuban casino dance; a salsa after-party on Saturday night allows audience members onstage to meet the performers. Students also take part, with Monica Hogan performing a solo and Alison Kibbe setting a site-specific work in the lobby. Jeffrey Page, a guest choreographer for African repertory whose Emmy-nominated work has been prominent on TV as well as on Beyonce's recent tour, also shows new work. Choreolab performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15, or $10 for seniors and $5 for students; visit danceprogram.duke.edu. —Chris Vitiello