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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

ADF Review: Dance Is an Expression of Its Era in the ADF-Commissioned Footprints

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 4:19 PM

Footprints ★★★½ Tuesday, July 25 & Wednesday, July 26, 8 p.m. Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham In many ways, last night's Footprints program was classic ADF. Packed with an uber-stylish crowd consisting largely of young dancers, Reynolds Theater trilled with excitement when legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones stood up from his seat and gave an artsy wave to the crowd. And when Lucinda Childs, who received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award that night, mentioned that she’d once been a student at ADF, a hushed flurry ran through the hall. There was a feeling of community, of coming together in a timeless...

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

ADF Review: Life in a Perpetual State of War in Yossi Berg and Oded Graf Dance Theatre’s Come Jump with Me

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 1:10 PM

Yossi Berg and Oded Graf Dance Theatre: Come Jump with Me ★★★ Monday, July 10–Wednesday, July 12, 7 p.m. Nasher Museum of Art, Durham By the end of Yossi Berg and Oded Graf’s Come Jump with Me, the performance space at Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art is littered with spent props, giving it the air of a site where some kind of hard living—an acid trip, a raging party, or maybe a war—has recently taken place. And in a way, it has. Over the course of an hour, performers Berg and Olivia Court Mesa have moved through an incredible range...

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Friday, July 7, 2017

ADF Review: Pilobolus's Enigmatic Echo in the Valley Portrays a Murder Mystery in Reverse in a Kentucky Cave—Maybe

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 12:42 PM

Pilobolus★★★ Friday, June 30 & Saturday, July 1 Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham Pilobolus Dance Theater has visited many worlds in forty-six years of producing some of the most accessible works in modern dance. In its latest collaborative work, Echo in the Valley, which premiered at the American Dance Festival last Friday, the veritable first family of the banjo, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, guided choreographers Renée Jaworski and Matt Kent into the Appalachian dark. Choreographers have visited these hills before. Decades after Martha Graham’s improbably bucolic Appalachian Spring, Doug Varone choreographed The Bottomland to a suite of Patty Loveless...

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

ADF Review: In Beth Gill's Brand New Sidewalk, Clothes Become Otherworldly Architecture

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 5:26 PM

Beth Gill: Brand New Sidewalk ★★★ Wednesday, June 28 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham Beth Gill creates choreographic moments that slip away from easy categorization. She’s known for minimalist structures that foreground form; her dances resemble moving sculptures. She won a prestigious Bessie Award for her 2011 work, Electric Midwife, a piece performed by two trios of women who mirror one another’s movements, creating a symmetrical image. Gill's ADF-commissioned Brand New Sidewalk also plays with threes. The triptych begins with Danielle Goldman, alone onstage and seriously bundled. The dance proceeds as Goldman gradually removes layers of wintry clothing. (Frequent collaborator Baille...

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

ADF Preview: An Oral History of the Early AIDS Crisis Becomes Dance in Sean Dorsey's The Missing Generation

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 11:54 AM

Sean Dorsey Dance: The Missing Generation Wednesday, July 5 & Thursday, July 6, 8 p.m., $10–$27 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham What drives someone to devote well over a thousand hours of research, editing, and rehearsal to a single dance? For trans choreographer Sean Dorsey, who makes his American Dance Festival debut this week with The Missing Generation, part of it was the realization of how much even he, a longtime activist and a self-avowed “history nerd”, didn’t know about the time when the LGBTQ community faced its most existential threat. Dorsey had based an earlier dance, Lou, on the diaries...

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Friday, June 30, 2017

ADF Review: Queering Objects and Decoding the Body in Cherdonna's Clock that Mug or Dusted

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 4:41 PM

Cherdonna: Clock that Mug or Dusted ★★★ Monday, June 26 Living Arts Collective, Durham One statement recurred throughout Cherdonna Shinatra’s Clock that Mug or Dusted: “I’m not trying to be mean.” Early on, Cherdonna, the femme drag alias of Seattle-based performer Jody Kuehner, sweetly plied the audience with it. At the end, she was screaming it, having violently smashed a larger-than-life-size doll and bashed its face with the spike of a high heel. What happened in between? You could interpret the piece along a rough narrative arc. But Cherdonna’s world, presented within a bounded square in the Living Arts Collective, gets...

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ADF Review: Bill Young and Colleen Thomas & Co.'s Interleaving Is a Book We Want to Read Again and Again

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 2:21 PM

Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Co.: Interleaving | ★★★★ Natalie Marrone & The Dance Cure: Thresh | ★★ ½ Saturday, June 24 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham A dance can look like a book, but it doesn’t have to. Dances proceed from their own artistic logics and create their own forms. To “read” a dance like a written text—to equate their material forms in a single interpretive approach—risks flattening embodied gestures to glyphs. But some of the most interesting movement-based work borrows from neighboring genres, incorporating other idioms in its technical foundation and playing with disciplinary categories. Bill Young’s Interleaving is one...

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Friday, June 16, 2017

ADF Review: Hillel Kogan's We Love Arabs Lags Behind a Cultural Conversation Already Well Underway in Our Region's Performing Arts Scene

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 4:48 PM

Hillel Kogan: We Love Arabs ★★★ ½ Through Saturday, June 17 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham Perhaps it’s a matter of timing, but it’s hard not to consider Hillel Kogan’s dance-theater farce, We Love Arabs, as something of a step backward in the region’s performing-arts conversation about the presence of Arab people, their cultures, and their concerns. The American Dance Festival presented the work earlier this week at the Cary Theater before tonight and Saturday’s performances in Reynolds Industries Theater. It appears here at the conclusion of Carolina Performing Arts’ probing "Sacred/Secular," a yearlong exploration of Arab cultures around the world, which...

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dance Review: John Jasperse Somehow Stops Time While Moving It Forward in Remains

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 2:42 PM

John Jasperse Projects: Remains ★★★★ Wednesday, July 6, 2016 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham When the curtain rises—only slightly—on John Jasperse Projects’ Remains, dancer Maggie Cloud is prostrate on the stage, her limbs arranged like a classical Greek statue. Later she will return to a similar position, albeit shifted downstage, in an embrace with dancer Claire Westby. This reprisal of the work’s opening image seems, suddenly, like an ending, but it's a tease—the picture would be too perfectly circular. Cloud exits the scene, leaving Westby with her legs suspended in the air. Westby gets up and the dance goes on....

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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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...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

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