Photo by Adam Reign, courtesy of Herrera

Rosie Herrera's path from Miami performer to American Dance Festival darling sounds more than a little like a fairy tale. When the Miami Light Project asked her to create a work for a program of emerging South Florida–based artists, Herrera assembled a crew of performers on the fly. "I bartered with all of my friends: 'If you're in my dance show, I'll choreograph your gay pride performance.' Or, 'If you do this, I'll choreograph your quinceañera,'" she says. It so happened that then-ADF director Charles Reinhart was in the audience. He was impressed with Herrera's gut-wrenching and skillful blend of dance, theater, film and cabaret and invited her company to perform at the festival that summer. "He gave me his brand of approval, and it opened all these doors," says Herrera. "It was as if my company formed against my will—but much to my delighted surprise." Since then, she's been back to ADF nearly every year, whether to create a work on the students or her own troupe. This month, Herrera will bring her new piece, Carne Viva, as part of ADF's season at The Joyce Theater in New York City.

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Burr Johnson in John Jasperse's Within between

John Jasperse Projects dancer Burr Johnson had only been dancing for two years when he took Brenda Daniels’ Cunningham technique class at the American Dance Festival. Because Daniels taught a different phrase every day, he learned how to pick up movement quickly.

“Going from one day to the next, I had to wipe the slate clean and just focus on picking up the material, which was something that I was absolutely horrible at. It would take me a long time because I would get so attached to what I thought it was. But because she would alter the phrases day to day, I couldn’t get attached to them. I never got a chance to rest on my laurels.”

See Johnson perform in John Jasperse Projects’ world premiere of Remains at the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina, July 5–7.

Photo by Yi-Chun Wu, courtesy of John Jasperse Projects

Don’t miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

Next month, the American Dance Festival will honor modern dance choreographer Lar Lubovitch with the 2016 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement. The $50,000 prize is awarded annually.

Lar Lubovitch with Alexander Sergeyev and Svetlana Ivanova of the Mariinsky Ballet

Lubovitch founded the New York City–based Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in 1968. He has choreographed more than 110 dances for his company, as well as work for Broadway, film and ice dancing. He also established the Chicago Dancing Festival, an annual gathering of American dance companies to perform in Chicago.

Photo courtesy of ADF

Don't miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

Dowd on Dance Teacher's March 2008 cover

The American Dance Festival recently announced Irene Dowd (DT March 2008) as the 2014 recipient of the Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching.

A Juilliard faculty member and anatomy expert, Dowd teaches movement-based anatomy/kinesiology classes to help dancers use their bodies safely and efficiently. She recently shared her knowledge with our readers on topics like core strength and outward rotation. Dowd told DT, “I hope [my students] will go out with a lot more anatomical knowledge. I want them to become their own best teachers, so if they run into difficulties later, they will be able to figure out what to do on their own.”

ADF will present the award on June 15 at Duke University.

 

Watch the anatomy guru at work:

Tickets for the American Dance Festival’s 80th season go on sale Monday, May 13, but for those who can't wait, the organization's brand new "80 Faces" blog premieres today.

Fans can visit americandancefestival.org daily for new stories and memories from notable artists who have been part of the festival’s rich history. The blog’s inaugural post features a video and write-up on choreographer Shen Wei and why he feels like ADF is his second home.

Watch Shen Wei’s video here, and visit americandancefestival.org/category/2013/80-faces/ for more:

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

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