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Bates Festival Newsletter

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Newsletter Vol. 12, Spring 2012
Newsletter Writers and Editors: Laura Faure and Nancy Salmon



Keigwin+Co by
Matthew Murphy

Laura Faure
Laura Faure

The Festival kicked off its 30th anniversary season early this year with performances of "red, black & GREEN: a blues" by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and The Living Word Project (see story below). Now we are gearing up for a summer of performances and residencies that highlight our role as a dance laboratory with a commitment to long-term support for contemporary choreographers. Returning to BDF are old and new friends whose work we are proud to have nourished including Rennie Harris Puremovement, Kyle Abraham /, Kate Weare Company and Keigwin + Company. For full details: BDF Event Listings

We also mark the 25th year of leadership by director, Laura Faure, who has grown Festival programs that reach deeply into the community and across the globe serving students, educators, dance makers and Maine audiences.

We hope you will join our celebration and attend our 30th Anniversary Gala on August 4. The evening opens with a performance by Keigwin + Company featuring four Maine premieres, followed by a fabulous party featuring music by resident composers, delicious food and wine by Bates College's award-winning catering service, a 30-year video retrospective, and plenty of opportunities to hobnob with over 60 resident dance artists. Mark you calendar today!


Michel Kouakou

In keeping with our anniversary focus -- to highlight

the important role BDF plays as a supportive environment for experimentation and development -- we are launching Performance in the RAW. On Friday, August 10, choreographers Michel Kouakou, recent winner of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise; Paul Matteson, former member of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; and Adam Barruch, recent Juilliard graduate and 2012 BDF Emerging Choreographer, among others, will perform works being developed at the Festival. RAW allows the artists to get their work on the stage and under the lights while offering audiences a rare first glimpse and a chance to share their impressions with the dancers at the end of the evening. This free event amplifies our audience enrichment effort by complimenting our Inside Dance talks and program notes by dance scholar, Debra Cash held most Saturday nights before the performance.

red, black & GREEN: a blues

Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Marc Bamuthi Joseph by
Phyllis Graber Jensen

On April 27 & 28 Marc Bamuthi Joseph and The Living Word Project brought their multidisciplinary meditation on environmental racism and social responsibility in the climate change era to Lewiston, ME. To date we are the only small city/venue/presenter brave or crazy enough to mount this complex and brilliant work. In collaboration with the Bates Arts Collaborative, and with major support from many departments and offices at Bates College, as well as support from the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project and the Maine Arts Commission we hosted an 18 month, campus-wide series of residencies with Bamuthi culminating in "red, black & GREEN: a blues" (rbGb).

The performances took place adjacent to campus in the Lewiston Armory that we transformed into a high tech theater through the ingenuity and hard work of a remarkable production team led by Theater and Dance Department Chair and Technical Director, Michael Reidy, with support from Moonlighting Productions, and rbGb's crew of technical wizards.

People came from far and wide to experience this production, constituting one of the most diverse audiences in our long history of presenting. As part of our developing partnership to connect teen artists to professional resources we were especially pleased to introduce the company and the work to teens from the Tree Street Youth Center, The Telling Room and Poetry Out Loud. Along with many members of the Bates community, were leading members of the Maine arts community. For more comments, photos and interviews: red, black & GREEN

BDF's Africa Connection

Joburg Artists
African Consortium partners Neli Xaba, Boyzie Cekwana, Vivian Philips, Mamela Nyamza

In 2003 BDF helped found the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium (TACAC) designed to initiate and sustain a dynamic exchange of arts and ideas among artists, arts organizations and public communities throughout the United States and the African continent. Since 2004 TACAC has sponsored 27 tours introducing African artists to U.S. audiences; hosted 25 residencies providing African artists with creative time and exposure to the U.S. performing arts field; conducted 28 research trips to 19 countries in Africa and the Middle East; created, commissioned and supported seven films and essays that re-envision the framework for cultural inscription; published Building Enduring Partnerships: A Report to the Field, and presented lessons learned at 14 reports to the field.

This February, BDF director Laura Faure, traveled with TACAC members to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend Dance Umbrella, an annual festival of contemporary dance, and host a meeting with African artist partners to determine next steps in TACAC's evolution. Highlights of the trip included visits with past BDF artists in residence Lucky Kele, Mamela Nyamza, Faustin Linyekula, Gregory Maqoma, Opiyo Okach and others, and a chance to see a range of compelling new works that powerfully reflect the growing pains of the new democratic South Africa. Visit the BDF Blog to read about the trip.

BDF has played a key role in TACAC as a host site for artists' residencies. This summer we will offer a third creative residency to Ivory Coast choreographer, Michel Kouakou, recent winner of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and his collaborator, Daudet Grazai to develop a new duet which will be showcased on Performance in the RAW, August 10.


BDF relies on contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals to supply 40% of our operating budget. Please consider becoming a donor. NOW you can give online at: Support BDF

Founded in 1982, the Bates Dance Festival is a summer program of Bates College whose mission is: to bring an artistically and ethnically diverse group of outstanding contemporary dance artists to Maine during the summer months to teach, perform, and create new work; to encourage and inspire established and emerging artists by giving them a creative, supportive place in which to work; and to actively engage people from the community and region in a full range of dance performances, workshops and discussions.


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