Though it began in 2015, Austin Dance Festival can claim most unusual ‘first’ this year.
For many of the modern dance companies coming from around the country to participate, it is the first time they’ll perform in a theater for live audiences in over two years.
The pandemic was particularly hard on dance artists which left few workarounds for the body-intimate art form.
“It’s a long-awaited homecoming for my own dance company as well as for many others,” says festival founder and executive director Kathy Dunn Hamrick, whose KDH Dance Company will perform “The Magnificent Conjuring of You and Me,” a slow ramping up from dormancy to a regeneration of being.
From July 14 to July 17, some 22 different dance companies from across the country, including Texas, Utah, North Carolina, California, New York, and Ohio, will perform.
Three showcases — 8 p.m. on July 15 and 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. July 16 — will feature short 15-minute performances, providing a kaleidoscopic overview of indie choreography. Each showcase features different artists and dancers.
In “Copper,” North Carolina-based Eli Motley manipulates the perception of time by using repetition, effort, and energy modulations from the movement research of funk dance forms and breaking. Boston-based Margot Gelber’s intimate work, “Only What You Take With You,” is about addiction, rejection, loss, and return. “The Visitors,” a collaboration by Kent De Spain and Leslie Dworkin, shows what happens when two mysterious and possibly magical strangers appear uninvited in an empty home.
Artist interviews will follow each showcase. This year’s moderators are Sightlines editor Jeanne Claire van Ryzin (July 15), Neil Ellis Orts (5 p.m. July 16), and Marlo Harris (8 p.m. July 16).
Two different dance on film screenings will highlight 23 indie film shorts from six countries, including Cuba, Hungary, Australia, and Denmark. Dance on film delivers new ways to see and experience choreography.
“The melding of choreography and filmmaking in this relatively new genre known as dance for camera is breathtaking,” says Hamrick. “You don’t have to be a dance aficionado to enjoy these dynamic films.”
Indeed dance on film is a niche but increasingly important element of the international contemporary dance landscape as choreographers and dancemakers look to share their work via video or create dances specifically for the medium.
For tickets and the festival complete line-up performances, visit www.austindancefestival.com.