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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 yet disclosed.

Unsurprisingly, festival perennials are well represented, with Shen Wei Dance Arts opening ADF’s 82nd season with an ADF commission (June 11–13, DPAC), followed by DPAC stands from Pilobolus Dance Theatre, in a commissioned world-premiere collaboration with Javier de Frutos (June 18–20), and Paul Taylor (July 2–4).

Famous, if less frequent, ADF flyers include Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company with Janet Wong (July 10–11, DPAC) and Doug Varone, performing an ADF/Nasher Gallery co-commission (July 24–25). In a potential programming masterstroke, the festival pairs seasoned and emerging choreographers—Larry Keigwin and Rosie Herrera; Mark Haim and Jesse Zaritt; Chris Yon and Taryn Griggs; and Claire Porter and Sara Juli—to make duets they’ll dance themselves in Dynamic Duos (June 29–July 1, Reynolds Theater).

We’ll catch up with a handful of artists we haven’t seen in awhile: Monica Bill Barnes, last seen in 2012, shows up with This American Life’s Ira Glass for an evening of story and dance (July 18, DPAC). Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenco bring back the duende after a six-year absence (June 26–27, Reynolds), and ZviDance returns after an eight-year festival hiatus (July 12–14, Reynolds). And while Heidi Latsky is no stranger to ADF, this year marks her 15-year-old company’s festival debut (June 21–23, Reynolds).

We’ll also meet some new faces. First-timers BODYTRAFFIC perform material by recent ADF choreographers Barak Marshall and Rubberbanddance’s Victor Quijada, as well as the festival’s first showing of work by Richard Siegal (June 14–16, Reynolds). Newcomers Gergory Dolbashian, Jordan Isadore and Deborah Lohse reprise their Awkward Magic triptych from Joe’s Pub last fall (June 27–July 1, Motorco Music Hall). Other first-sightings include France’s Company Wang Ramirez (July 7–9, Reynolds) and Cuba’s Ballet Folklorico Cutumba (July 15–16, Carolina Theatre).

In ADF’s third annual showcase devoted to North Carolina choreographers, Anna Barker, Shaleigh Comerford, Kristen Jeppsen Groves and Karola Luttringhaus make their mainstage debuts in Here and Now: NC Dances (June 25, Reynolds). After his searing solo last season, Gregory Maqomba returns with festival first-timers Wynn Fricke and Anna Sperber to choreograph new work for ADF School students in this year’s FOOTPRINTS showcase (July 21–23, Reynolds).

Of special note: What is Butoh-influenced choreographer and performer Eiko's work without her long-term partner, Koma? ADF audiences find out this summer when she performs solo at Cordoba Center for the Arts (July 7–12).

The entire 2015 ADF season is listed at www.americandancefestival.org.

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