Bates College (Lewiston, ME)

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The sillouetes of students adopting different poses is seen against the backdrop of the atrium window panes.

Students at the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine, perform in Stephen Koplowitz’s The Atrium Project, one of the eight unique performances utilizing the 8,000-square-foot Perry Atrium, in 2003. Photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen

For more than 20 years, the Bates Dance Festival (BDF) at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine has brought together professional dancers, talented students, and audience members from throughout the Northeast to appreciate contemporary dance. It offers classes for adult dancers as well as a Youth Dancers Workshop for adolescents. The festival provides a supportive environment for emerging talents to learn and for choreographers to premiere unusual works.

In FY 2003, the festival included four residencies supported by an NEA Creativity grant of $20,000. Doug Varone and Dancers, AXIS Dance Company, Greer Reed, and Mark Bamuthi Joseph each conducted three-week residencies as part of the New Voices/New Works program. These residencies allow students to gain insight into the process of a master choreographer and improved their technical and creative skills. Participants included adult dance students as well as 70 children, ages 6-17, who participated in BDF’s Youth Arts Program. The program allows festival members to work with professional artists and to help them develop, perform, and create new works.

In addition, the festival sponsored the creation of a unique series of dances as part of The Atrium Project, a multidisciplinary, site-specific event. Choreographer Stephan Koplowitz, composer Robert Een, and lighting designer David Covey created the work with the help of festival participants and faculty. Using 30 dancer and 20 musicians, they created eight unique performances for the 8,000-square-foot Perry Atrium.

(From the 2003 NEA Annual Report)