The American Dance Festival (ADF) is an internationally known program in the Triangle that seeks to promote modern dance through educational programs and performances. The American Dance Festival hosts summer dance courses, including the Summer Dance Intensive and Dance Professional Workshops. Two Meredith Dance students attended the Summer Dance Intensive in Durham this year. The Herald spoke to Madelyn James, Class of 2023, and Annabel Ines Lopez, Class of 2022, to touch on their experiences working with ADF.
James began this summer by working as a Production Apprentice. Over the two-month intensive, James explained, “I was able to advance from an apprentice to an intern and work in Duke University’s theaters.” James is now working with the ADF production team on their fall performances that will be held at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA).
When asked about her experience working with the production team during the festival, James replied, “I was a part of the amazing eleven-person production crew that was putting together all of the performance concerts that the festival students were seeing and were a part of.” James also said, “Throughout this summer, I was able to gain knowledge and have hands-on experiences that bettered me as a human, dancer and stage technician.” James strongly recommends this program for any Meredith student: “If you have the opportunity to ever attend an ADF performance or their annual summer festival intensive, I encourage you to do so. It is no less than life-changing.”
Lopez was a full-time student at ADF. “I took technique classes where we focused on building a unique jazz ethos and supporting each artist’s individual practice,” Lopez explained. “I was also cast to be in Monique Haley’s repertory piece, which consisted of learning choreography and performing that piece for the community.”
For both Lopez and James, dance is an essential and vulnerable mode of creative expression. “[Dance] simply makes me feel good,” James said. “Dance is such a vulnerable art form, and having the facilities to create and perform the movement is a blessing that I cherish every day.” Lopez said that dance allows her to “learn something new about [herself].” Lopez also wants to find her own “authentic expressions” through dance.
Lopez shared that working with ADF was a fantastic experience and that she was able to “grow as an artist and expand [her] connections.” Lopez concluded, “I am so thankful for being able to experience the American Dance Festival. It has made me a better dancer and a better person.”
By Evelyn Summers, Senior Copy Editor