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The Ruby is a catalyst for creativity and a home for making art at Duke.

American Dance Festival Returns to the Ruby

Published By Duke Arts
Published on: May 25, 2019

A round-up of the American Dance Festival in the Ruby—talks, film screenings, performances, and more!

Colorful ADF bus parked in front of the Ruby

American Dance Festival in the Ruby

Students are arriving at Duke for the American Dance Festival’s annual Summer Dance Intensive, and for the second year, they’ll spend the bulk of their class time in the Rubenstein Arts Center.

Last summer, ADF Dean of Faculty Leah Cox reflected on the festival’s first year in the arts center. “All of the studios have access to natural light and natural elements. You’re always seeing the trees,” Cox said. “And it matters. It matters what your home looks like. It matters that it’s made of materials that are stimulating and pleasing. Most dance programs in this country started out in PE buildings, in renovated gyms with no natural light. Moving into a space like this changes the way you treat yourself, your colleagues, and your work.”

Dance class standing in rows behind their teacher doing an exercise
Limón Technique class. Photo by Megan Mendenhall.

ADF Ruby Fridays

New in 2019!

Free and open to the public, with lunch provided, these are exceptional opportunities to engage with dancers and directors at the heart of three ADF festival performances.

ADF Ruby Fridays: Murielle Elizéon & Tommy Noonan
Hear from Murielle Elizéon and Tommy Noonan—the dancer/choreographers who co-director Culture Mill, in Saxapahaw, NC—about their upcoming American Dance Festival performances in the Ruby.

JUN 21
ADF Ruby Fridays: Michelle Dorrance
2015 MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner Michelle Dorrance will discuss the ways she honors tap dance’s uniquely beautiful history in a new, dynamic, and compelling context on the day of her first (of three) shows in Reynolds Theater.

JUN 28
ADF Ruby Fridays: Michael Novak & Suzanne Carbonneau
In the midst of the Paul Taylor Dance Company’s three ADF performances, the company’s artistic director, Michael Novak, will bring a unique depth of experience with Taylor and his work to this conversation with dance writer and scholar Suzanne Carbonneau.

Two women side by side, heads resting against each other, eyes closed


ADF screenings in the Ruby’s Film Theater are free and open to the public. The festival offers seven other screening events at the Nasher Museum of Art.

JUN 22, 1-2pm
PS Dance!
A New York Emmy-nominated documentary that captures what happens when students have dance in their curriculum. After the screening there will be a conversation with producer and dance advocate Jody Gottfried Arnhold and John-Mario Sevilla, 92Y Harkness Dance Center director.

JUN 26, 5-6:30pm
Paul Taylor Creative Domain
An unprecedented exploration of how one of the dance world’s most elusive and respected choreographers created a dance. Q&A after the film with Robert Aberlin, Executive Producer of the documentary and Paul Taylor Dance Company board member.


The Ruby’s von der Heyden Studio Theater is the festival’s most intimate venue—“a really well thought-out space where people can be generous with one another and with the artist,” in the words of ADF Dean of Faculty Leah Cox.

JUN 25 & 26, 8pm
Murielle Elizéon and Tommy Noonan / Culture Mill
At once an artistic endeavor and a research project, this multi-generational work by North Carolina choreographers Murielle Elizéon and Tommy Noonan explores the relationship between cognitive engagement, interpersonal relationships, and movement.

JUL 8-10, 8pm
Eiko Otake / The Duet Project: Distance Is Malleable
Eiko’s performance will be an interdisciplinary, inter-generational work that interweaves various duets with an eclectic mix of collaborators including celebrated painter and Duke faculty member Beverly McIver.


ADF Tours offered several times a week are a unique opportunity to experience the school in action—you can watch the school’s diverse and dedicated students practicing things from fluid Limón technique to hyperkinetic Hip Hop and at the same time learn about the history of one of America’s preeminent dance institutions.

Tune into events & opportunities!

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