Our students learn in a welcoming and non-competitive environment from faculty and musicians who are experts in their fields. Glenna Batson is an independent movement educator with nearly four decades of teaching experience in somatically informed dance education.
Suzanne Beahrs is a modern dancer, teacher and choreographer, who recently moved to Durham, NC. Aaron Hawkins is a chemical engineer who missed his calling for dance and is making up for lost time. Gerri Houlihan began her professional training at the Juilliard School, studying with Antony Tudor, Alfredo Corvino, and members of the Martha Graham and Jose Limon dance companies.
Stephanie Leathers is an educator, choreographer and performing artist based in Durham, NC. Heather Pike is a lifelong dancer who received her BFA in Dance Education from East Carolina University, receiving the Outstanding Senior Award in Dance Education.  Heather has studied with BalletMet in Columbus, OH, the Charlotte City Ballet in Charlotte, NC, Arts Together in Raleigh, NC, and the American Dance Festival. Bashir Shakur is a percussionist, composer, performer, educator, and recording artist whose unique blend of improvisational and traditional percussion can be found on his latest release entitled “Visible”, with acclaimed Zimbabwean dancer and singer Nora Chipoumare.
Marsha Thomas has a BFA in Dance Performance from East Carolina University and a Professional Diploma in Dance Studies from Laban Centre London.
A native of Barcelona, Spain, Alicia Vila-Geis Tornero is a Spanish and French teacher by calling. Ronald West began studying dance in 2005 under Kirstie Spadie of the North Carolina Dance Institute, while attending the North Carolina State University. Leah Wilks is a Durham-based dancer, teacher and choreographer. Leah has studied Ballet, Rhythm Tap, Modern, West African, and Contact Improv.
The American Dance Festival Archives serves as the repository for records of enduring historical value created and collected by ADF.
The Archives encourages research and scholarship on the historical, cultural, and international significance of modern dance through the ongoing development of its resources, providing access to its collections, and participating in the dance archives community. ADF is a member of the Dance Heritage Coalition, an alliance of major dance collections founded in 1992 that promotes national dance documentation and preservation, making accessible the materials that document dance of the past, present, and future. In addition to Festival materials, the Archives collects videos, photos, audiotapes, and personal papers created by other individuals and institutions that document the development and history of modern dance and its relationship to American culture and society. Approximately 2,000 films and videos from 1930 to the present, capturing dance performances, classes, panel discussions, showings, interviews, and special events at the American Dance Festival. Includes photographic materials created and collected by the American Dance Festival, including negatives, contact sheets, prints, and transparencies. Includes materials collected by the American Dance Festival pertaining to choreographers, dance companies, and others involved in modern dance, including printed materials, newspaper and magazine clippings, press kits, programs, and correspondence.
Dance Pages (circa 1983-1997), a quarterly magazine, presented its readers with articles about a wide range of dance genres, performances, companies, and individual dancers.
The collection includes publicity information, magazines, drafts of articles and advertisements, paste-ups for advertisements and magazine features, newspaper clippings, press kits, programs, flyers, brochures, catalogs, invoices, personal and professional correspondence, photographs, contact sheets, negatives, 35 mm slides, and transparencies. The collection includes newspaper clippings and photocopies, magazines, programs, flyers, large-scale posters, publicity materials, project files, notes and notebooks, financial documentation, and correspondence. Free to Dance: The African-American Presence in Modern Dance was a three-part television documentary co-produced by the American Dance Festival and the John F. The Harper Theater Dance Festival (1965-1975) presented Chicago audiences with a decade of annual performance seasons from a variety of celebrated touring dance companies. Joe Nash (1919-2005) was a self-taught dancer and prominent historian of African-American dance history. Pearl Primus (1919-1994) was an African-American dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, and teacher. A self-service copier is available in the Rubenstein Library Reading Room, and the copying of documents and photographs is permitted. Aumiller’s education includes earning a BA in Dance Studies from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, an MFA in Choreography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
With her company, Suzanne Beahrs Dance, she has shown work and performed at venues throughout New York City, including Danspace Project, Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 92nd St Y, Judson Church, Gibney Dance, as well as The Paramount Center in Boston and ODC Theater in San Francisco. These classes are offered through the sponsorship of the American Dance Festival and Durham Arts Council. She has worked in dance and performance since 1995 and with various choreographers and theater directors throughout Europe and the US.
His early movement training in martial arts and yoga provided the foundation, but dancing is now his primary love and gateway for transcendence. She holds an MA in Dance Theories and Practices and BA in Dance from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His performance experience includes touring with the cutting-edge and internationally-renowned Pilobolus Dance Theater. She has over ten years of experience teaching dance to young children and is passionate about the power of learning through movement.
After graduating, Marsha danced and choreographed for the Queen City Jazz Company and Blank Slate Dance Company.
She has been teaching for over 25 years in private and public schools in NC, and most recently homeschoolers.
She earned an MFA in Choreography (2010,) as well as a BA in Choreography and a BA in Political Science (2001) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
As a member of Abada?-Capoeira, one of the largest capoeira organizations in the world, she has trained with top ranking Brazilian instructors in Brazil, New York, and California. In 2007, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Design from the College of Design at the School of Architecture.
She lived in Chicago for 10 years and co-founded the modern company The Space Movement Project. The Archives preserves its collections for use by the dance community, including students, scholars, and the general public.
In all its activities, the Archives supports and furthers ADF’s commitment to the creation and preservation of the art form. ADF does not sell copies of its moving images, but viewing copies of many of these films and videos can be seen at viewing stations in Duke University’s Lilly Library. Anderson (1956-2013) was the photographer for the American Dance Festival from 1978 to 1994. From childhood on, she took dance classes with a variety of instructors and, as a college student, studied dance at Louisiana State University, New York University, the University of Maryland, and Bennington College. The magazine also contained studio listings, book and video reviews, and information about dance history and health. Other materials include photographs, negatives, 35 mm slides, DVDs, and VHS, U-matic, Betacam, Betacam-SP, and DVCPRO tapes.


Judith and Bruce Sagan, local newspaper publishers and dance impresarios, founded the festival in 1965 at the Harper Theater in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. Myers (1923-2009) was a professor of philosophy and the philosopher-in-residence at the American Dance Festival. Growing up in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, Nash was inspired by the black arts movement. However, all documents, photographs, moving images, and other materials in the ADF collections are the property of the American Dance Festival, and further reproduction or distribution in any form is forbidden without the express written consent of ADF. She is currently working towards her Level 1 teaching certification in The Franklin Method. She attended Durham School of the Arts high school and spent many summers at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the American Dance Festival. She was the first person to be trained by Irene Dowd (protege of Lulu Sweigard) in Ideokinesis in 1977, an apprenticeship that lasted four years.
She teaches both amateurs and professionals in various dance companies, schools, and institutions internationally. Stephanie previously studied dance at Columbia College Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, Lou Conte Dance, and the Paul Taylor School. In addition to performing, touring, and teaching globally with Pilobolus, he collaborated on nine major dance works during this formative decade with the company. While teaching in the Triangle area, Heather continues to train and perform locally. Photo by Steve Clarke. Shakur is the recipient of the Tony Bennett: Exploring the Arts Grant, Capezio Grant, and Arts Achieve Grant. She also works as a Pilates instructor for the National Humanities Center and a preschool ballet and movement teacher at Beth Meyer Synagogue where she taught preschool for 7 years. Her other passion and dedication is dance. Alicia is part of Flamenco Carolina Dance, a group with whom she performs at festivals and private parties throughout NC. Justin is the artistic director and choreographer of COMPANY, a dance company based in Durham, NC and produces the PROMPTS series at The Carrack Modern Art. She has performed in various venues including the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, and has been teaching capoeira to adults and children since 2005. Other performance and choreography credits include David Dorfman Dance, MotivityDance, Lucy Vurusic Riner, Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Chicago Cutural Center, Erin Carlisle Norton, Ayako Kato, Maggie Koller, and most recently Renay Aumiller Dances. Born in Utica, New York, Anderson graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in history from Duke University in 1978. Instructors included John Martin (former dance critic at the New York Times), Charles Weidman (Humphrey-Weidman Technique), Ethel Butler (Martha Graham Technique), and Nina Fornoff (Hanya Holm Technique).
Kenneth Romo and Donna Gianell, both professional dancers, created Dance Pages as a hobby, and they continued to serve as the publishers and editors of the magazine as it grew in size and scope.
In 1972, she established her company, Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians, where she created the choreography for forty works, and in most instances, created the music as well.
His career spans experimental dance theater, grand scale site specific work, pure movement dance pieces, opera, improvisation, Broadway, off-Broadway, and regional theater. She founded the San Francisco Dancer’s Workshop in 1955 as a center for movement training, artistic experimentation, and public participatory events open to the local community. After returning from his World War II military service, he immersed himself in a self-directed study of dance literature and photography. After completing degrees in Dance and Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, Anna joined the mass of starving artists in New York City, where she lived as a freelance dancer and supported herself working in restaurants and wine shops. She is the author of Body and Mind in Motion: Dance and Neuroscience in Conversation (University of Chicago Press 2014).
Suzanne has performed with Mare Nostrum Elements, Dana Boll, Clare Cook Dance Theater, and others (NY) and Ishika Seth and Dancers, Dance Ceres, Mo Miner, Christine Cali, and others (CA).
Her choreographic work has been presented in France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, and Germany.
Stephanie is a former member of Elojes Dance Theater (NYC) and John Gamble Dance Theater (Greensboro, NC). He has also choreographed for Freespace Dance Company in New Jersey and Kentucky University Dance Ensemble.
Alicia continues teaching flamenco throughout schools in the state of NC, especially in Durham schools through the CAPS program, and at her studio in Chapel Hill, NC. She is also a co-founder and co-organizer of DIDA (Durham Independent Dance Artists,) and is currently serving as Board President for the NC Dance Alliance. Wesolowski also has a PhD in Anthropology and currently teaches in the Cultural Anthropology Department and Dance Program at Duke University. She is also a certified Pilates instructor, owns Bull City Pilates and Massage with her husband, and is a mama of two little girls. At Duke, he acted as photo editor for the student daily newspaper, The Chronicle and eventually became editor of Duke’s yearbook, The Chanticleer. In 1995, the magazine changed names, becoming Dance & the Arts, and moved to a bimonthly publication schedule.
Dendy also founded and served as Artistic Director of two dance companies: Mark Dendy Dance and Theater and Dendy Dancetheater. It chronicled the role of African-American choreographers and dancers in the development of modern dance as an American art form. Halprin has created 150 full-length dance theater works and is the recipient of numerous awards including the 1997 Samuel H.
In 1971 the festival was moved to the larger Civic Theater downtown because of increased audience demand.
A dance enthusiast, he directed projects based in humanities and dance at the American Dance Festival.
In the late 1940s and ’50s, Nash performed on Broadway and toured with influential modern dance artists such as Pearl Primus and Donald McKayle. Collection includes materials created or collected by Primus and by others dating from circa 1920 to 1994, including correspondence, writings, legal documents, research and teaching materials, clippings, programs, printed materials, photographs, sound recordings, films, videos, and artifacts. Anna relocated to her hometown two years ago, and fell in love with the budding dance community. At 67 years young, she remains inspired by many inroads to embodied knowledge – contemplative to expressive, artistic to scientific. She has taught at Dance New Amsterdam, Gibney Dance Center, Mark Morris Dance Center, Dancewave, and others in New York City, and has guest taught at North Carolina State University. After performing and teaching tango for 10 years, she furthered her education in 2010 in Buenos Aires. Y.’s High School of the Performing Arts, the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, the Bates Dance Festival, the Boston Ballet, the Harvard Summer Dance Center, Meredith College, the University of South Florida, North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Richmond, the University of North Carolina- Greensboro and Virginia Commonwealth University.


She has also had the pleasure of performing with Mark Dendy, David Dorfman Dance (in underground), Gerri Houlihan, Kirby Reed and B.J. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Gaspard&Dancers and currently directs the American Dance Festival’s year-round creative movement outreach program, ADF Project Dance, which provides free dance classes to Triangle-area youth. Alicia also organizes local workshops with renowned flamenco artists from Spain and the US. Alicia began studying the art of flamenco under Carlota Santana Flamenco Vivo a decade ago, and taught dance and rhythm for Project Ole as a part of Arts in Education in NC during Spring 2007. Justin is part-time studio dance faculty at UNCG, an adjunct at Elon University, and a member of Black Box Dance Theater in Raleigh, NC.
A natural study, Ronald began assisting six months into his training and went on to teach by the end of his first year. Anderson photographed many Duke athletic events including basketball games and rugby matches. His work often responds to societal issues, examining diverse themes such as fame, gender, religion, heritage, violence, politics, the media, and values in society. The collection includes film, video, sound recordings, oral histories, interview transcripts, business records, photographs, clippings, and research materials created or collected during the production of the three-part television documentary Free to Dance. This collection contains documents pertaining to Gerald Myers’ participation in American Dance Festival programs funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities between 1979 and 1988. Reinhart was the National Coordinator of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Dance Touring Program from 1967 to 1978. Jody also provides movement for well-being workshops in retirement communities and memory care facilities.
This adventurous quartet of musicians has been described as Be-bop Jazz, meets Afro-Beat, meets trance-inducing Urban Music.
Alicia performed as a gypsy flamenco dancer in Carmen at the Raleigh Opera in December 2011.
He continues to explore a vast range of dance movement in his classes, in which cutting edge contemporary hip hop and jazz styles are explored. Anderson’s interest in dance developed when the American Dance Festival began its residency at Duke University in the summer of 1978.
The collection contains the personal papers and dance-related memorabilia (circa 1930-1993) of Ethel Tison Chaffin. Her students include Meredith Monk, Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, Ruth Emmerson, Sally Gross, and many others. The early seasons featured a diverse array of dance performances, while later years focused more specifically on bringing the country’s most contemporary and experimental modern dance to Chicago audiences.
Nash was a consultant and lecturer at the American Dance Festival from the 1990s until his death in 2005.
He also developed the dance component of the NEA’s Artists-in-Schools Program (later the Artists-in-Education Program) and served as its National Coordinator from 1970 to 1981.
This solo about physical boundaries, obstacles and constraints developed into a duet with collaborator Leah Wilks about emotional boundaries, obstacles and constraints.
Bashir Shakur would like to thank Allah for all of his creative visions, and for keeping music a spiritual and motivating force in his life.
Her passion and experience in teaching has enabled her to train students at schools including the Dance Theatre of Harlem, The New Freedom Theater and Alvin Ailey Arts in Education. To add, he has danced professionally in Modern Dance works, both locally and nationally, under choreographers Courtney Greer, Killian Manning and Michelle Pearson in association with Dance Exchange and Black Box Dance. This collection contains documents, slides, negatives, and prints pertaining to ADF performances and student classes during Jay Anderson’s tenure as photographer for the American Dance Festival. Materials include photographic prints, newspaper clippings, programs, and correspondence, which are housed within a scrapbook and one Hollinger box.
Collection includes photographic prints, contact sheets, negatives, slides, clippings, programs, printed materials, posters, VHS videotapes, and an audiocassette.
Collection includes books, magazines, photographic prints, clippings, flyers, written correspondence, programs, essays, and other printed materials. He was widely considered one of the leading experts on the role of African-Americans in the development of modern dance. Collection includes correspondence, printed material, and business and financial records created by Charles L.
Cassell has been teaching in served as a Master Artist with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts from 2003-2013. Photo by Catharine Carter. As a performing artist, Stephanie collaborates with dance artists in the community and is a member of Renay Aumiller Dances.
She also taught dance and dance education in the New York City Public School System for over ten years and is currently working in the Wake County School System.
He has become one of the triangle’s most sought after choreographers and master teachers within the dance studio circuit, public and private school systems, dance organizations, such as Kodachrome, and he continues to broaden his palette by branching into the commercial music video scene, including choreography for the videos and tour of the premiere album ‘Beauty in the Breakdown’ for upcoming edgy lyricist and vocalist Jean Morisson of Nerv Records. The festival and foundation became dormant after 1975, although they were briefly revived in 1979 to stage a performance of the Paul Taylor Dancers at Civic Theater. During his life, Nash donated materials from his vast archival collection to the New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, The Arthur Hall Collection in Philadelphia, Florida A&M University, the American Dance Festival, and the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Ohio.
Anna also performs with dance companies VECTOR (Leah Wilks, Jon Haas) and RAD (Renay Aumiller).
Shakur is certified in the Umfundalai African dance technique and is a member of both the National Dance Education Organization and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Beyond choreographing for the previously mentioned, in 2011, Ronald founded the BLACK IRISH contemporary hip hop company which is focused on the generation of strong and creative movement, with the simultaneous intent of bringing the dance and greater community together through the love of dance, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. Collection includes photographic prints, negatives, slides, posters, press clippings, tickets, company publicity, and other printed materials.
Collection includes photographic prints, programs, clippings, fliers, and other printed materials. Ronald West continues to grow both as a student and teacher and is excited for his future movement research. She is a member of the board of directors for the Florida Dance Association and also for the American College Dance Association.
Houlihan has been on the faculty of the American Dance Festival from 1981-1983, and from 1987 to the present.



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