American Dance Festival (Durham, NC)


Three dancers on stage dressed in street clothes, leaning to the right, one on the other.  The dancer in the middle holds a microphone.  the scene takes places in front of a garage door

The Argentinian dance company Grupo Krapp presents the U.S. premiere of Mendiolaza at the 2004 American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina. Photo by Bruce R. Feeley

The New York Times has called American Dance Festival (ADF) in Durham, North Carolina “the country's foremost and enduring organization devoted to creativity in American modern dance." Founded in 1934, ADF's mission is to support the creation and presentation of new dance works, preserve the modern dance heritage of the United States, and build wider audiences for dance. The organization also provides professional education and training for dancers, including youth programs for young dancers. ADF is committed to enhancing public understanding of the art form through outreach programs such as Community Crossover classes, special children's performances, access to its video collection, and tours.

In FY 2004, American Dance Festival received an NEA Creativity grant of $60,000 to support Mapping Modern Dance, a program of major works by renowned choreographers from the U.S. and abroad including Ronald K. Brown (U.S.), Alexandre Pepelyaev (Russia), Nacho Duato (Spain), and Ohad Naharin (Israel). Three international choreographers from Russia, Argentina, and Japan were also commissioned to create new works for ADF dancers during a six-week residency.

In addition to public performances, Mapping Modern Dance included a program of related educational activities. These efforts included a series of panel discussions exploring the influences and roots of modern dance in the United States; post-performance talks for audiences with choreographers, dancers, critics, and scholars; an archival photo exhibit; docent tours of ADF classes and workshops; dance demonstrations; and master classes. More than 30,000 people attended performances during the Mapping Modern Dance series and more than 3,000 people participated in outreach activities.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)