Program Report – Jodee Nimerichter

 Our fellow Rotarian, Jodee Nimerichter, certainly has a passion for modern dance. She has been the Director of the American Dance Festival since 2012, having worked with ADF several times during the previous 20 years.  She grew up dancing in Colorado, but did not encounter modern dance until she was a young adult and immediately fell in love with it, saying she “was overwhelmed with it”.   Dance is described as a non-verbal art form, and modern dance emerged as an approach different from ballet, with a focus on individual creativity.  Those who rebelled against ballet wanted to have the freedom to have their own voice – to tell stories, to be athletic – lyrical – sad – happy.  The ADF webpage quotes the New York Times saying ADF is “One of the nation’s most important institutions” for dance, and as “The world’s greatest dance festival” by the New York Post.

As the director, she travels around the world to personally see all dance groups that she schedules to come to Durham.  This means that Durham hosts the oldest and largest modern dance festival in the world. Founded 80 years ago, ADF moved to Durham in 1977, thus celebrating 40 years in Durham – What a treasure!

What is the impact on Durham and the world?  This 2017 season includes 71 performances with 30 dance companies at different venues in Durham and also the NC Art Museum, with 9 commissioned works.  The international impact on Durham comes from providing training for dancers and production managers from over 30 countries with 420 international participants.  With a budget of $3.8 million in 2017, ADF has a $500 million impact on the Durham area.  Their funds come from grants, donations, tuition fees, and ticket sales.  ADF has helped establish modern dance festivals in 20 countries. 

With studios on Broad Street, they now provide year round programs and classes.  Also, they have enabled 2,000 school classes to attend a dance performance.  During the festival, three special kids shows are held at DPAC at a reduced price.  Jodee shared a video which highlighted the 40 years of ADF in Durham.
Jodee encouraged us to see one of the ADF programs, and concluded that “art forms like dance may adapt to changing times, but dance will always be with us.”

For more information about the 2017 performances the website is http://americandancefestival.org. Jodee Nimerichter was introduced by Rory Gillis.

Submitted by Brady Surles

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