NCDF/ADF Choreographer: Cara Hagan

May 29, 2013 § 1 Comment

The NC Dance Festival (NCDF) and the American Dance Festival (ADF) will co-present a celebration of NC dance in two concerts on the ADF @ Duke main stage on June 19 at 7pm and 9pm.  Selected by a panel of nationally recognized choreographers, four works were chosen from among the top performances on the NCDF tour in the past ten years.  Follow along as we meet the choreographers of each dance!

Meet the Artist: Cara Hagan


Cara and Mackenzie Hagan in “Words Apart”
Photo by Benita VanWinkle

She whips around, freezing sharply with arm outstretched—and then melts, body relaxing, as elegant and languid as a Southern drawl.  Dancing to interviews collected by The Storyline Project of Winston Salem, Hagan’s movements echo the themes of friendship, love, grief, and hardship in these stories–and tell their own story, as well.  From the personal to the universal, Hagan draws these stories together, finding common ground.

Cara’s Story


Cara Hagan: dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, musician, community artist and educator.  She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the 2009 NC Dance Alliance Fellowship Award, a Best Dance for Camera Award at the 2010 Foursite Film Festival, a Short Grit Award (best short) at the 2010 Indie Grits Film Festival, a 2011 Graduate Scholar Award at the 6th Annual Arts in Society Conference, a 2012 Cultural Enrichment Grant and a 2012 Silverstein/Gutenstein Family Faculty Development Grant, both from High Point University.

Mackenzie Hagan: Cara’s twin, and a dancer herself.  Mackenzie and Cara have been dancing together since before they were born!

Early years:  Originally from Syracuse, NY, Cara attended UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, graduating in 2005.

After graduating from UNCSA, Cara worked administratively and artistically with the NC Dance Festival for a short period.  She says, “that experience really helped me to get acclimated to the dance community in NC…Prior to that, I did not know much about the dance community outside of UNCSA.”  Cara has performed with the NCDF twice:  once during the 2007-2008 season and again with this duet, “Words Apart,” in the 2010-2011 season.

The plot thickens:

Currently, Cara is building a dance program at High Point University, with a focus on service learning and community involvement. Apart from the University, she curates a small film festival called Movies By Movers, which will enjoy its fourth installation this fall. The call for short films will go up June 1st. Cara is the founder and facilitator for The Wedding Dress Project, a community engaged art project that is aimed at raising awareness and inspiring dialogue around issues of relationship violence, gender relations and gender stereotypes. The second Annual Big Event is scheduled for October, and more information will appear on the website shortly.

The next chapter:

ADF!  Cara says, “Mackenzie and I are really looking forward to being a part of the excitement of the ADF summer experience–sharing the stage with artists whose work we have admired and being around so many other people who have a passion for dance.”  This is not Cara’s first experience with ADF, however.  In 2006, Cara and her sister performed at ADF as part of the ADF Acts to Follow series (which sadly no longer exists) and the amount and depth of talent in NC became more evident to Cara as an artist.

How does Cara #dancelocal?

Cara’s work is deeply rooted in the NC community.  She says, “I love bringing art to members of my community. I work with many different kinds of people, hoping to transform common spaces into spaces for creative expression where diverse voices can be heard and validated. I work with homeless communities, special needs communities, mental health communities, youth and many other types of people on a regular basis through movement and other artistic forms. This past year, I was able to invite some of my students to work with me out in the community, which was a great experience. I love being able to share my passion for community-engaged art with my students in an experiential way, while sharing my love for teaching with the communities in which I work.”

Coming to the show?  Catch our updates via Facebook and Twitter!

Buy tickets here.

Dance Local.


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