American Dance Festival 2021 organized by NCMA: Tickets, dates

The American Dance Festival, a Triangle favorite, will return this fall with a post-COVID facelift and a temporary new name, Together We Dance.

Together We Dance, produced in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Art, will be held September 9-16 at the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Open Air Theater in Museum Park. It will feature eight dance companies with hour-long performances.

“By reimagining a dance festival in a post-COVID-19 world, ADF has sought to bring performances to the outdoors, so the audience can stretch out in the fresh air,” organizers said. ADF in a press release.

The unique outdoor location will provide a very different feel to dance festivals of the past, which were typically held at multiple venues across Durham. The festival will also be the largest to date at the NCMA, which has hosted several small dance and music concerts at the Museum Park Theater.

In the past, ADF has presented selected performances by dance companies such as Shen Wei Dance Arts, Monica Bill Barnes & Company and Dana Ruttenberg Group at NCMA.

“While this event came about because of the pandemic, we loved working with the museum,” Sarah Tondu, director of communications and marketing said in an email to The News & Observer.

“Who knows what will happen in the future, but normally our events take place indoors, but due to COVID we had to pivot,” she said.

The festival, which usually offers classes and opportunities for young artists, will be more limited this year. The ADF has run limited in-person classes at their studios in which participants are required to show proof of vaccination.

AIM by Kyle Abraham in “Big Rings” by Keerati Jinakunwiphat. Christophe Duggan

8 companies to perform

The eight companies featured at the festival will be AIM by Kyle Abraham, Pilobolus, State of Darkness, Reggie Wilson / Fist and Heel Performance Group, BODYTRAFFIC and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

AIM is a black-led contemporary dance company founded by choreographer Kyle Abraham in 2006, which will present five pieces focusing on intimacy, dialogue and teamwork. The group is known for its use of music, text, video and visual art to “create works galvanized by black culture and history,” according to an ADF statement. Their performance will take place on September 9 at 7:30 p.m.

The two performances of Pilobolus on September 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. will feature four plays on the themes of the pursuit of love, role reversal, humor and the natural world. The company has been performing since the early 1970s.

Although Stravinsky’s “Right of Spring” was originally choreographed and performed as a ballet, State of Darkness will reinvent the work as an intense solo. Performances will take place on September 12 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. with Annique Roberts and Michael Trusnovec. Each performance will be followed by a question-and-answer session with choreographer Molissa Fenley and performer.

Coming from Brooklyn, Reggie Wilson / Fist and Heel Performance Group will present three pieces, including a series of solos asking questions about belonging; an experimental theatrical performance and a solo sharing Wilson’s personal religious narrative; as well as a duo studying the nature of duets. The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. on September 14.

BODYTRAFFIC will return to ADF to highlight the choreography of Brian Brooks, Matthew Neenan and Micaela Taylor. The performance will take place on September 15 at 7:30 p.m.

The final performance, on September 16 at 7:30 p.m., will be a three-piece presentation by the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The company was founded in 1954 and will feature various themes of love, drugs, rebellion, simplicity, beauty and purity.

“After a difficult year and a half, we are delighted to bring the community together again at our first-ever outdoor festival for eight performances from some of the best dance companies that are wowing audiences today,” said Jodee Nimerichter, Executive Director of ADF, in the press release.


What: Together we dance

When: 9-16 Sep

Or: Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Theater in Museum Park at the NC Museum of Art, 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh

Tickets: Available to ADF and NCMA members on August 4th. General public tickets will be available on August 5th.

Info: or

This story was originally published July 29, 2021 8.45 am.

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Aubrey Gulick is a rising student at Hillsdale College and currently an intern at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and The News & Observer. She has covered a variety of topics ranging from company profiles to electoral integrity. Aubrey is originally from Dayton, OH and is excited to discover and explore the Triangle region.

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