The American Dance festival kicks off its 86th season



Durham, NC (June 7, 2019) —The American Dance Festival (ADF) kicks off its 86th season on Thursday, June 13 at 8 p.m. at Reynolds Industries Theater with ICONS, highlighting the classic works of Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Taylor.

The season will be dedicated to the late, great choreographer Paul Taylor at the top of the ICONS program on opening night. Mark Morris Dance Group returns to DPAC on Wednesday, June 19 and 20 with the ADF co-commissioned Pepperland. The 2019 Season Fête will take place immediately following the June 19 performance of Pepperland at American Tobacco's Bay 7.

Chapel Hill native Michelle Dorrance's company, Dorrance Dance, makes its ADF debut June 21-23 with their presentation of SOUNDspace. The much-loved ADF musicians will take the stage on June 17 in their annual evening performance.

ADF’s hOt sUmMeR pOP uPs! with choreography by Mark Dendy, ADF's Samuel H. Scripps Studios summer camps and classes, and FREE tours of the ADF school will continue throughout the season.


Reynolds Industries Theater
Thursday, June 13, 8 p.m.
Friday, June 14, 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 15, 7 p.m.
Three Timeless Works By Three Master Artists!
Three giants of American modern dance, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Taylor,
will share a program of works, two of which originally premiered at ADF (Diversion of Angels and Piazolla Caldera). Graham 2 will perform Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels (1948) with a romantic score by Norman Dello Joio and themes from the infinite aspects of love. Stephen Petronio Company will appear in Merce Cunningham’s Tread (1970). With decor designed by Bruce Nauman, Tread is a playful dance filled with unexpected partnering, human entanglements, and all the choreographic complexity that defines Cunningham’s work. Lastly, Taylor 2 will dance Paul Taylor’s Piazzolla Caldera (1997), Taylor’s exploration of the sizzling, sultry culture of tango. Post-performance discussion is Friday, June 14.
Mark Morris Dance Group
Durham Performing Arts Center
Wednesday, June 19, 7 p.m.
Thursday, June 20, 8 p.m.
ADF Co-Commission!
Mark Morris returns to Durham with Pepperland, a unique tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, accompanied live by an unprecedented chamber music ensemble of voice, soprano saxophone, two keyboards, theremin, and percussion. Ethan Iverson’s original score intermingles arrangements of the songs “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With a Little Help From My Friends,” “A Day in the Life,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Within You Without You,” and “Penny Lane” with six Pepper-inspired original pieces intended especially for Morris’ profound understanding of classical forms: Allegro, Scherzo, Adagio, and the blues. This is a must-see for dance and Beatles fans alike. Post-performance discussion, led by Mark Morris, is Thursday, June 20.
Dorrance Dance
Reynolds Industries Theater
Friday, June 21, 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 22, 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 23, 3 p.m.
ADF Debut!
Chapel Hill native Michelle Dorrance brings her troupe to ADF with SOUNDspace. Originally a site-specific work that explored the unique acoustics of New York City’s St. Mark’s Church through the myriad sounds and textures of the feet, SOUNDspace has been adapted and continues to explore what is most beautiful and exceptional about tap dancing–movement as music. “Ms. Dorrance makes full use of tone, timbre, volume, tempo and, of course, rhythm, constructing patterns that lock together thrillingly… The main emotion that SOUNDspace produced was excitement: excitement about sounds, and about the development of this talented choreographer, the most promising one in tap right now.”– The New York Times. Post-performance discussion is Saturday, June 22.



The 86th ADF season will be dedicated to Paul Taylor. A brief ceremony honoring Mr. Taylor will be held Thursday, June 13th at 8 p.m. at Reynolds Industries Theater prior to the season opening performance. The 2019 Season Fête will follow Mark Morris Dance Group's performance on June 19 at Bay 7 at the American Tobacco Campus. Spend a magical evening with ADF! Heavy hors d'oeuvres provided by Angus Barn, complimentary wine and beer, and lots of dancing with the members of Mark Morris Dance Group. Tickets available at

ADF’s hOt sUmMeR pOP uPs!
Choreography by Mark Dendy
Various Locations Throughout the Season
Join us for a BIG DANCE wild ride radio show mash up of summer hits that is a celebration of everything summer. Featuring all-time hits, Martha and the Vandella’s “Dancing in the Street,” Janis Joplin’s “Summertime,” and the quintessential classic “Wipeout!” in a sound score composed by Ken Ray Wilemon. All set to Rock Star Choreographer Mark Dendy’s kinetic, physically explosive and always socially relevant style. The ADF commissioned work will be performed by a young company of 10 dancers handpicked by Dendy for their unique talents. The dancers will receive full scholarships for the summer as part of ADF’s long standing mission to help dancers make the transition into the professional dance world. How do you think Dendy got his start? Check out up-to-date locations, dates, and times here
Reynolds Industries Theater
Monday, June 17, 8 p.m.
Join the stellar staff of musicians from the ADF school as they share their considerable talent with the entire community.
Paul Taylor Photo Exhibit
June 13-July 20
Reynolds Industries Theater
A photo exhibit highlighting the life of the master choreographer Paul Taylor and his long relationship with ADF will hang in the lobby of Reynolds Industries Theater throughout the 2019 season.
ADF Ruby Fridays
Fridays, June 7, 21, and 28, 12 p.m.
Ruby Lounge
Saturday, July 6, 2 p.m.
Nasher Museum of Art
Ruby Fridays are casual talks featuring a variety of artists who offer behind-the-scenes perspectives on their work and careers. Hear from ADF artists over complimentary lunch, no registration required. On June 7 hear from Murielle Elizéon and Tommy Noonan, dancers, choreographers, and founders of Culture Mill, Saxapahaw, NC, in advance of their performances. On June 21, meet 2015 MacArthur Genius Michelle Dorrance and hear how she honors the uniquely beautiful history of tap dance in new and compelling contexts. Michael Novak of the Paul Taylor Dance Company joins dance writer and scholar Suzanne Carbonneau in conversation on June 28 on the second day of the Paul Taylor Dance Company's performance. Finally, join Eiko Otake and Beverly McIver in conversation at the Nasher Museum of Art on Saturday, July 6 as they discuss their project "Eiko Otake The Duet Project: Distance is Malleable," which premieres in the Ruby the following week.
ADF School Tours
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays
9 to 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
June 24 to July 16
FREE and open to the public
Throughout the summer, ADF school tours offer individuals, families, and community groups an insider’s perspective where you can experience the world-renowned ADF faculty, students, and musicians hard at work. These tours increase your understanding of modern dance and ADF, highlighting the history of the festival up to the present day. Schedule your tour today to observe art in action as well as obtain details about the 2019 season. For more information about tours contact Caitlyn Swett at or 919-684-6402.
Summer Classes and Dance Camps
June 3 to July 28
ADF's Samuel H. Scripps Studios
ADF’s Samuel H. Scripps Studios are dedicated to providing a sound scientific and aesthetic base for all ages and all levels of dance training, from beginning to professional. Our studios serve as a center for creative activity in which students learn in a welcoming and non-competitive environment from faculty who are experts in their fields. Our programs offer a variety of classes for the dancer and non-dancer alike, designed to strengthen the body, increase flexibility of movement, and foster an appreciation of dance.
Tickets for DPAC
Durham Performing Arts Center Ticket Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC 27701
Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The DPAC box office will open three hours prior to event time.
Tickets for Reynolds Industries Theater, Page Auditorium, and the von der Heyden Studio Theater
Duke University Box Office
Bryan University Center
Duke University West Campus
Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Duke box office will open one hour prior to event time.
Tickets for The Carolina Theater of Durham
309 West Morgan Street
Durham, NC 27701
Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Promotional photographs and press reviews of performing companies
available upon request.
About ADF:
Throughout its 86-year history, ADF has been a nationally recognized leader in our indigenous art form of modern dance. Generations of dancers and choreographers have come to ADF as students, taught as faculty, and created and performed work as professional artists. Each summer, ADF has been the beating heart of the dance world. The best companies in the world premiere work on ADF’s stage, much of it commissioned by the festival. Other festivals and season programs are measured against ADF. Over 25,000 people see performances by more than 30 companies each season. The festival has commissioned 427 works and premiered 689 pieces including dances by Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Taylor. Each summer at ADF, more than 300 students from some 25 countries and 42 states study with ADF’s 50 faculty members. They come as kids in leotards with as many doubts as dreams. They leave as dancers and artists—and sometimes even new members of companies. Lives change in those 5½ sweaty weeks. Beyond the summer, ADF maintains year-round dance studios offering movement classes to over 650 participants, provides over 180 free classes to almost 4,000 local dancers, and offers choreographic residencies providing artists with the necessary space and time to create.
The North Carolina Arts Council invests in ADF through its grant program.