On the cusp of 80, the American Dance Festival continues to be the largest and most influential modern dance festival in the world. Jodee Nimerichter, ADF's new director, is filling the shoes of Director Emeritus Charles Reinhart after his retirement from a 43-year tenure at the festival.
"The transition has gone quite naturally, probably a credit to the the great mentorship of Charles," Jodee says. "When I came back in 2003, [after a hiatus to work for public television], he kept giving me more and more things to work on, so even though the work is the same, at the end of the day, it’s all me, and that’s very different."
(Learn about Jodee's undertaking and more in her discussion with Durham Magazine Editor Matt Dees here.)
This year's ADF season features 46 performances, seven world premieres, two U.S. premieres and eight ADF company debuts, and it all begins tomorrow at the Durham Performing Arts Center with the one-night-only opening night performance of Doug Elkins and Friends' Fräulein Maria, a rendition of the musical The Sound of Music, at 7pm.
Typically, Jodee is not one to try to match folks with particular performances.
"Trying to choose performances for people is very difficult, since everyone has such varying tastes," she says. "I would just say to somebody, "You have to see everything, they are all great!'"
For Fräulein Maria, however, Jodee had this to say: "I’m absolutely thrilled at this opportunity to bring back Fraulein Maria, and for only $30. If you haven’t experienced modern dance, definitely consider coming out Friday night. It’s hard to not be totally engrossed by the deconstruction of the musical."
For a resonating ADF experience, attend the opening night fête after the performance at Parizäde, 220 W. Main St., at 8:30pm and meet the dancers of Doug Elkins and Friends. Enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres and raise a glass to toast the season. Tickets to both the performance and fête are $80, or $150 per couple. Proceeds benefit ADF educational programs. Call (919) 680-2787 or click here for tickets solely to the performance. Call (919) 684-6402 for tickets to the performance and fête, or for more information.
Curious as to what other performances you might be interested in? Jodee suggests visiting ADF's Inside Insights page on their website, which provides an in-depth look into each company and what they are performing. Or check out the organization's May We Have This CyberDance? blog, which highlights events that take place during the American Dance Festival, in addition to interviews with artists, students and community members on dance-related topics.