History of Festival

How the Festival Evolved

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 and Charlotte in 2003. Since then, the Festival tour has shifted and evolved with the changes in funding, changes in host availability, and support. During the 2017 season (our 27th season), we made significant changes in the structure of the Festival, including the sites and types of work presented, in order to feature more artists, working in a variety of “kinds” of contemporary dance, including experimental work, multi-media, and dance theater, etc. We aim for our Festival to be more representative of the variety of ways NC artists are expressing themselves, while pushing for high-quality, innovative choreography by diverse artists. The unique variables of each Festival site will dictate the kinds of performances, from formal to non-traditional spaces, collaborative work, site-specific, entertaining to serious, avant-garde to more traditional. Outreach activities are organized to send Festival artists into public schools, museums, libraries and community centers for classes and performances.

For this year’s current schedule of performances, please click here.

Interactive Timeline

For an interactive look at the Festival over the years, check out the interactive timeline we created for our 25th anniversary in 2015. Just click the button below!