The North Carolina Dance Festival (NCDF) is returning to the UNCG Dance Theater this weekend to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
The two-day event will include evening performances by some of the best modern dance choreographers in the state. From the merging of technology and dance to the exploration of the body as home, the works will explore a wide range of themes and styles.
“One of the most exciting things about this festival is that we have a variety of different types of dance and approaches,” said Anne Morris ‘11 MFA, co-director of Dance Project, the nonprofit organization that runs the annual festival. “It’s a really wonderful opportunity to see professional-level dance and choreography right here in Greensboro.”
Friday night’s performance at 7:30 will feature some of NCDF’s most beloved “veterans,” including the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre and Martha Connerton. These choreographers have been invited back to present premieres and older works, including the late Dance Project Founder Jan Van Dyke’s last choreographed work, “And Back Again.”
This year’s touring artists – Anna Barker (Durham), Amy Love Beasley (Winston-Salem), Thomas DeFrantz (Durham), Karola Lüttringhaus (Wilmington/Winston-Salem) and the Van Dyke Dance Group (Greensboro) – will take the stage Saturday night at 7:30. All artists were chosen in a blind adjudication process.
In addition to the performances, the festival will hold an afternoon film screening of four new dance films that reimagine Van Dyke’s 25-year-old duet, “The Life and Times.” Video footage of the original duet will be shown along with new dance films by Carol Finley, Cara Hagan, Jen Guy Metcalf and Melissa Pihos. The screening will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
This year’s festival, which has already made stops in Boone and Raleigh, is dedicated to Van Dyke, who founded Dance Project and NCDF and served as the festival’s artistic director until her death in July. Van Dyke was a professor in UNCG’s dance department for 23 years and served as department head from 2006-11.
“Jan was a well-loved faculty member at UNCG and a very influential choreographer, educator and visionary in the dance community,” Morris said. “She was a real force not only in Greensboro, but across the state and the nation.”
Janet Lilly, professor and head of UNCG’s dance department, echoed Morris’ sentiments.
“Jan understood that for dance to take root outside of larger urban centers, there needs to be a community of dancers and dance lovers,” she said. “She recognized the importance of building a community of dance artists to support emerging choreographers and performers.”
In addition to the performances at UNCG, the choreographers will participate in local outreach, working with schools and community centers to teach dance and perform.
NCDF is an annual production of Dance Project, a Greensboro-based nonprofit and community resource that is comprised of the festival, the School at City Arts and the Van Dyke Dance Group. The two-day event at UNCG is the last stop of the festival’s statewide tour. The project is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council and Arts Greensboro.
All performances take place in the UNCG Dance Theater at 1408 Walker Ave., and parking is available in the Walker Deck. Tickets for evening performances are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $9 for UNCG and non-UNCG students. Group tickets can also be purchased for $8 per ticket with a group of 10 or more. The Saturday matinee film screening is $5 at the door with no reservations required. To purchase tickets, visit the Triad Stage Box Office or call 866-579-TIXX. For more information, visit danceproject.org/festival.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Relations