American Dance Festival Celebrates 80 Years

A tour group watches an ADF summer class in action

When dance legends Martha Graham, Hanya Holm, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman founded the American Dance Festival in 1934, they could not have anticipated how it would shape modern dance in the 21st century. Today, ADF offers classes and intensives, year-round outreach programs, scholarships for choreographers and teachers and a dance MFA program through Hollins University.

This is all in addition to the festival’s renowned summer performance series, the details of which have just been released for the 80th anniversary season. Scheduled for June 13–July 27 at and venues in Durham, North Carolina, and NYC, the lineup features works by Paul Taylor Dance Company, Twyla Tharp, Pilobolus, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Camille A. Brown & Dancers and Faye Driscoll. International companies including Argentina’s Brenda Angiel Ariel Dance Company, The 605 Collective from Canada and Ireland’s ponydance will also perform. The season’s nearly 50 performances comprise 11 ADF debuts, nine world premieres, two reconstructions and a US premiere. Tickets go on sale May 13 for as little as $15.

Photo by Grant Halverson, ©ADF 2012

Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.