Read Watch Listen - 2019

American Dance Festival 2019 Preview

By Dilip Barman

The 86th annual American Dance Festival (ADF), the oldest and largest festival dedicated to modern dance in the country, runs June 13-July 20, 2019 in Durham, NC. There will be 38 performances in five venues by 25 companies and choreographers from around the world.

Those who follow dance, and many who don't, know about the passing in 2018 of one of the most important exponents of modern dance, Paul Taylor. Quite appropriately, ADF is dedicating the 2019 season to him. His company is a regular; this year, as well, Taylor 2, a smaller troupe of Paul Taylor dancers, will be opening the season; veteran dancer Michael Trusnovec will be an artist-in-residence, working with ADF students; rehearsal director Bettie de Jong will receive the 2019 Balasaraswati / Joy Anne Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching award; and a photo exhibit of Paul Taylor will be exhibited.

The ADF website has the details of the season, and I will be covering it this summer. I'm particularly excited about Paul Taylor and Taylor 2; Pilobolus' return to the once cramped and now remodeled Page Auditorium on Duke University's campus; avant-garde minimalist Eiko's return to an intimate space that I love in Duke's Rubenstein Arts Center; and the Malpaso Dance Company from Cuba, also performing in Page. I'm a Beatles fan (and have been listening to a lot of their music leading up to Paul McCartney's tour opening concert this Memorial Day in Raleigh!), and am excited about Mark Morris' Pepperland, a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the group's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and including mixed in arrangements of songs from the album.

ADF and Full Frame are two gems of culture both right in Durham, NC. One of my indicators that it is summer is the ADF season; though we are only getting hints of spring now, it's not too early to start planning to catch some, many, or all of the upcoming ADF season! It offers something for all tastes and ages, including children and has some excellent value choices in ticketing.

ADF tickets go on sale on April 30, 2019. Full details at:

Malpaso Dance Company image by Rose Eichenbaum.