Each year it seems like a miracle, with this year being no exception–this difficult year of budget cuts and grant shrinkages. The American Dance Festival, one of the world’s great ones, continues to beat the odds and will once again open its performance season here in Durham–its 81st year of presenting great modern and contemporary dance. Beginning Thursday, June 12, 49 performances will occur over a six-week span in venues at Duke and in downtown Durham. There’s a very fresh feeling to this year’s schedule, with assorted new and experimental works by a wide variety of artists from around the world. But some of the freshest will come from Durham itself. On June 18, the ADF will present Here and Now: NC Dances–but check this out! All four choreographers–Renay Aumiller, Gaspard Louis, Diego Carrasco Schoch and Leah Wilks–chosen for this program are based right here in the Bull City. The Here and Now performances will begin at 7 pm and 9 pm in Reynolds Theater, for the one night only. Seats are cheap at $16.25. House is heavily sold for both shows–advance purchase recommended.
But ADF’s not the only dance game in town this year. Nicola Bullock, a dancer whose compelling stage presence and choreographic talent graced the recent Little Green Pig production of Tarantino’s Yellow Speedo, has been working for a year with six dancers on a project called UNDONE. Billed as an evening-length dance-theatre work on race, power and identity, UNDONE will open its three-day run in an un-airconditioned warehouse space at 305 S. Dillard Street at precisely the time the gracious opening-night speeches will begin in the well-chilled Durham Performing Arts Center a few blocks away.
“This piece developed from a desire to better understand how systems of domination, specifically racism, affect our relationships, worldview, dreams, and bodies,” says Bullock. A great deal of artwork, maybe more than is strictly necessary, explores questions of self-identity and otherness, but Bullock’s sensitivity and kinetic expressiveness make me expect real honest exploration of Durham’s favorite topic. The dance will include Leah Wilks, whose own work will be seen the following week. Go here for more on UNDONE. Tickets $15 at the door or online.
On June 14 at 7:30 pm, the Carrboro ArtsCenter will present something really special, for one night only. The Best Tap Show Ever will be danced by the tap stars who will be in town teaching at the North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival. These include Chapel Hill native Michelle Dorrance, fresh from her highly-praised appearance at Charleston, SC’s Spoleto Festival with her company Dorrance Dance. Musicians Robbie Link (bass), John Hanks (drums), and Jim Crew (piano) will augment the song of the shoes. Tickets $15 advance, $17 at the door, if there are any.
Yet another one-night-only performance will take place the following week, when multi-disciplinary artist Kaitlin June premieres her solo work Lightyear in the PSI Theater of the Durham Arts Council at 7:30, June 20. The artist will probe at the workings of memory and time with a fusion of dance, acrobatics, live music and spoken word. Tickets $10 at the door.