What is the NC Dance Festival?

What is the NC Dance Festival?

The NC Dance Festival is an annual showcase of North Carolina dance artists that travels to communities statewide. Unique in the country and now a North Carolina institution, the event was founded in 1991 by Jan Van Dyke and John Gamble.  It is one activity of Dance Project, Inc., a non-profit organization located in Greensboro, NC directed by Jan Van Dyke.  The Festival has operated for the past twenty-three years with a few goals in mind.  First of all, the Festival aims to increase the audience in NC for dance, by increasing awareness of the wide variety of dance artists we have in the state. Secondly, a purpose of the festival is to provide an opportunity for artists to show their work and be viewed as valuable professionals. It gives up-and-coming choreographers a prestigious venue to be seen, and provides established choreographers the exposure they need to keep their vision alive. Finally, the Festival creates a sense of community between the state’s choreographers and performers, enabling the state’s dance artists to see each other’s work, and perform together.

What is the structure of the Festival?
The NC Dance Festival touring roster consists of five to eight artists/companies that apply in the winter and are chosen in mid-March. Sometimes, one or two additional artists will be invited to perform so that the final product is a well-rounded Festival encompassing different points of view, ethnicities, and varying career stages. Each site chooses their own local artists to perform alongside those on tour. Over the past twenty-three years, the Festival has contracted almost 100 different groups, along with many other local artists. Approximately 3,000 North Carolina residents come to see the shows each year.

Outreach is a big part of the festival, with touring and local artists going out to schools and community centers to teach and perform at each site.

Festival History
In the first years, the Festival was held in the UNCG Dance Theater, and the dances featured were from out-of town artists; the dance faculty at Duke was the first. Three years after its start, the Festival added a third evening to showcase work from just the Greensboro/Triad area.  The Festival’s greatest expansion came in 1997 when the local artists’ evening ran twice, making it a four-night event in the Dance Theater at UNCG. The Festival also expanded to three sites that year, including Boone and Durham. In 1998, Asheville was added to the tour, followed by Wilmington in 1999.

The Festival Today
Today, the Festival makes stops in Charlotte, Raleigh, Boone, and Greensboro. In 2014-15, NCDF will open on September 20 in Raleigh. The tour will then make its way to Boone for two shows on October 24-26.  Greensboro will welcome the Festival on November 1st.  The tour concludes in Charlotte January 24, 2015.  Five different companies will tour, performing alongside artists local to the host communities, making the actual concerts a mix of local and statewide artists.

Outreach activities are organized to send Festival artists into public schools, museums, libraries and community centers for classes and performances. Additionally, at each site we offer approximately 20 free tickets to interested children and teens.

Interested in attending?
Visit our website for more info on tickets and venues and join our mailing list for all the latest news!

The NC Dance Festival is an activity of the Dance Project, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Greensboro, NC.  Visit our website for more information about the other two components of the Dance Project: The School at City Arts, and the Jan Van Dyke Dance Group.


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