Austin Dance Festival heads outside, to Pioneer Farms

At the living history museum, dance companies will perform on porches of the historic buildings and in the site's wide open fields


After cancelling last year, the Austin Dance Festival heads outside this year. Organizers have re-imagined the celebration of independent modern dance and will stage live dance performances and a film screening at Pioneer Farms, a living history museum in Northeast Austin.

Among the charmingly unexpected things that happened during the pandemic is that the 90-acre Pioneer Farms, with its clusters of historic buildings, has emerged as a viable performing arts venue.

Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company, which organizes the festival, used the sit last fall for one of its popular “Dance on Film” screenings.

At the Austin Dance Festival, local dance companies will perform short dances on porches, behind picket fences, and in the site’s wide open fields. Guest Artist Sarah Starkweather will stage a  site-specific improvisation-performance for youth. And everyone can participate in a community dance-along procession around the Sprinkle Corner town square, a 19th-century rural town recreated from historic buildings.

Among the dance groups are Body Shift, Austin’s mixed ability dance company, who will perform “Three of a Kind.” Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company will perform “Entr’acte” with five dancers rotating on and off 8-foot-by-8-foot platforms. Michealle Nance & Catherine Solaas, will perform their work, “toMAYto/toMAHto,” to live music.

Finally, the festival will close with another curated international “Dance on Film” showing on Rocket Cinema’s 40-foot screen. In the growing genre known as ‘dance for camera,’ directors combine choreography and cinematography to create films in which dance is central to the film’s narrative or structure.

Austin Dance Festival events start at 6:30 p.m. May 29. Guests are invited to bring a picnic and blanket or chair. For ticket information and Covid protocols see

Related articles