DU Hosts Denver Dance Festival
Founded five years ago with the mission of increasing appreciation of dance as an art form, nonprofit organization Presenting Denver always knew a dance festival would be the perfect expression of its raison d’etre. It just took some patience and the right set of circumstances to pull it off.
The organization spent more than two years planning the inaugural Presenting Denver Dance Festival, taking place June 23 and 24 at DU’s Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts. The juried festival features world premieres by eight Colorado choreographers in the venue’s Byron Flex Theatre; a free outdoor stage on the lawn of DU’s Boettcher Center offers an additional seven local choreographers presenting work in a more informal environment.
“We wanted to have a really good representation of what Colorado dance is,” says Presenting Denver founder Meredith Hutson. “If people are coming either to the public stage or to the main stage, it’s going to be a good opportunity to come to a centralized location to experience Colorado dance, as opposed to going to a variety of different venues or concerts. You can get a taste of what Colorado dance is by attending just a singular performance.”
Co-presenting the event is Newman Center Presents, the series that brings a number of national and international touring performers to the venue each year. Noting that the Newman Center already has a strong audience for dance, Kendra Whitlock Ingram, the center’s executive director, saw the partnership as a great opportunity for audience building.
“It’s a good thing for us if we’re involved in having more dance in our space, particularly with a curated festival that is bringing in regional companies, maybe some who haven’t even performed in the Newman Center before,” she says. “It’s an opportunity for us to build our audience, an opportunity for them to have a great space to do their festival, and it’s a nice way for us to extend our season a bit too."
Mainstage artists at the Presenting Denver Dance Festival are Chadash Contemporary Dance Movement, Edgar L. Page, Gregory Gonzales, Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Helanius J. Wilkins, Kristen Demaree, Moraporvida Contemporary Dance and the Schiff Dance Collective. Performances are at 7 p.m. June 23 and 2 p.m. June 24.
Performing on the free outdoor stage at 4:30 p.m. June 23 are David Taylor’s Zikr Dance Ensemble, Mary Lynn Lewark, Maureen Breeze Dance Theater, Nile H. Russell, Nu-World Contemporary Danse Theatre, Parasol Arts, and Thomas Dance Project.