Dance

The American Dance Festival is an annual series that celebrates modern dance with performances from a wide range of styles and companies. This year’s lineup of diverse performances include Paul Taylor, the Vertigo Dance Company, and Ragamala Dance.

The ADF also coordinates the Black Tradition in American Modern Dance project. In 2007, the project worked with PBS to create a documentary, Free to Dance, chronicling the history of African American contributions to modern dance. (The program’s website also has a great timeline on the subject.)

If you want to learn more about African American dance history, check out some of the books the Stone Center has to offer.

These books all focus on groundbreaking African American ballerinas:

A biography of Pearl Primus, a modern dancer who brought African dance to American audiences.

Pearl Primus appeared at the American Dance Festival several times, and in 1987 she participated in an event for African American choreographers. In 2000, the ADF was given a collection of Primus’ work and notes. (Find out more here.)

Primus’ choreography continues to influence the modern dance scene, and her company performed at ADF as recently as 2008:

The American Dance Festival will continue into next week, with the final performance on July 28.

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