Giant New Home for Contemporary Dance

January 5, 2016

ADI’s new location

The American Dance Institute is making major moves. This summer, the beloved institution in Rockville, Maryland, closed its school to focus on presenting contemporary dance. Now, ADI just announced it will move its Incubator residency program, which gives choreographers studio space, housing and other resources, to a brand new complex in Catskill, New York (a 2 and a half hour drive north of New York City). With the help of a $500,000 grant from New York state, ADI will transform a former lumberyard on the Hudson River into a four-building facility dedicated to contemporary dance, with a theater, dance studios, housing for up to 26 artists and more. In a statement to the press, executive director Adrienne Willis said the move will lower ADI’s overhead and “exponentially increase the number of artists and productions we can support annually.” Three cheers to that!


The one downside? This could be a loss for the D.C. area, where the suburban institution had recently become an unexpected powerhouse for experimental dance. Although ADI says it plans to continue presenting contemporary choreographers in the region, it will close its Rockville facility after the 2016-2017 season. (The first of the four Catskill buildings is scheduled to open in May 2018.)


Hagoromo, one of many pieces developed at ADI

ADI was originally founded as a ballet school in 2000 by former American Ballet Theatre dancer Pamela Booth Bjerknes and former Joffrey Ballet dancer Michael Bjerknes. Under the leadership of Willis, who’s been executive director since 2010, it’s drastically transformed its mission. She launched Incubator in 2011 to serve contemporary artists around the country—recent works developed there include Urban Bush Women’s Walking with ’Trane, Chapter 3, David Neumann’s Hagoromo for Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, John Jasperse’s Within between, and Susan Marshall’s upcoming CHROMATIC. Moving ADI to New York state brings it closer to The Kitchen in Manhattan, where the organization now presents new works developed in the Incubator residency.


Luckily, no matter where ADI is located, all the creativity nurtured inside of it is a boon for the dance scene nation-wide.


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