Before Madonna became a one-name superstar, she was just a 19-year-old dance student taking part in American Dance Festival's first year at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, training under teachers like Pearl Lang. Yet she already had the kind of stage presence and over-the-top confidence that would eventually make her an icon. A reporter from the Charlotte Observer who visited the festival was completely taken with her, and wrote:
"Her name is Madonna Ciccone, and her face matches her name.
Round eyes, arched eyebrows, finely drawn mouth—Da Vinci would have loved it. It is a theatrical face, a dancer’s face. And she has a dancer’s body—thin as a blade, lithe and agile. Doll-like, she looks as if she’d snap in a strong wind.
She told the writer, Richard Maschal, that ADF was "pretty draining and demanding." And he described her as being "what the American Dance Festval is about." (Though I'm not sure many dancers today would quite agree with that particular assessment.)