Apologies for being M.I.A., I spent 10 days in North Carolina for the American Dance Festival’s (ADF) Dance Professionals Workshop (DPW) Sampler! Back in November, I posted about the American Dance Festival and my application to the program, so you can click on this link and read more about the festival to see what it is all about! (Planning Post-Graduation: American Dance Festival!). ADF is usually held at Duke University, and offers a six week professional training program for dancers ages 18+, and a three week pre-professional training program for dancers ages 13-17. This year, the festival this year is celebrating it’s 40th year in Durham, NC, and the festival itself is over 80 years old!
Let me tell y’all, this experience was life-changing!! The festival exposed me to so many amazing people and dance artists, and I was surrounded by like-minded, focused individuals who all had something special and positive to add to the energy and the art being created in the room. Being a DPW Sampler participant, I was able to drop-in to any classes I wanted! Since this was the first DPW of the summer, it was the second week of classes for the six week school students. For this reason, we were lucky we were able to drop into classes and be in somewhat the same boat as the six week school students in regard to learning new movement material and phrase progressions.
Our sampler involved seven participants (including myself) , plus the workshop leader Nia Love, and her daughter who is also a professional dancer. After a full-day of classes and dancing, our sampler cohort would get together and explore the Duke University Gardens, have lunch together, or have conversations discussing current events and issues followed by structured improvisations. One of the benefits of having a sampler cohort is that it allows you to make friends with students like you who are only there for one week. It helps to have friends to eat meals with, go see the performances with, and go exploring with!
Every night there was a new performance to see, and some performances I saw included Cherdonna Shinatra, Beth Gill, and Pilobolus! The show tickets are complimentary for ADF students (which is amazing), and all of the shows I saw were fantastic in their own way. I think my favorite performance was Pilobolus! Y’all definitely need to go see them if you’re new to the modern dance scene and want a good introduction into concert dance.
I cannot forget to mention Durham is an ADORABLE city!! It has a young vibe, and street artwork is everywhere. As you probably saw on my Instagram, I was enjoying all of the aesthetics the city of Durham offered. These murals are just some of the gorgeous murals I saw during my stay. Local businesses in Durham wave the ADF flag and have ADF posters and postcards hanging in their shop windows. It is amazing that this city supports the arts (and dance!) as much as they do. You don’t really find this kind of culture in many places.
During my stay, I took classes such as Gaga, West African, Afro-contemporary modern technique, improvisation, ballet, yoga, contemporary, modern technique, and Feldenkrais. I met dancers from all over the country and all over the world, and shared thoughtful moments and memories with everyone I met. I sweat my ass off, and walked about 23,000 steps each day (according to my FitBit). The memories and art shared and created at ADF will resonate with me for the rest of my life, and I plan on attending the six week school next summer! ❤
If you are looking for an affordable summer training program and are serious about improving yourself and pushing your limits, go check out the ADF website for more information. http://www.americandancefestival.org/. The DPW Sampler was an amazing and cost-effective way to train over the summer and gain exposure to new teachers and techniques to help me grow as an artist and a dancer. The six week school is also a great price for the amount of training and time you spend in the studio, in addition to all of the amazing shows and opportunities to perform that are offered to you through the festival.
It is bittersweet my dancing adventure in NC is over, but it has me so motivated to improve myself and focus on the dance projects and companies I am involved with now! More news is to come, and I can’t wait to show y’all what I have been working on! ❤
xoxo until next time