Hurlin on selecting incubator artists.
“What ADI has done,” Comfort says,
“is instead of curating for the masses,
they decided to curate for the audience
they dreamed of. They just assume that
their audience is really intelligent and
To counter the notion that modern
dance can be scary, hard to understand
or simply inaccessible to suburban audi-
ences, Willis plans a preperformance talk
by a local university dance instructor
and a post-performance wine reception
at which audiences can meet the artists,
share opinions and ask questions about
the works. Choreographers say they
receive important feedback when they
chat with audiences after a performance.
Runqiao Du, one of the school’s direc-
tors, says some of ADI’s biggest fans come
from the nearby senior adult living com-
munities. “We were all very surprised by
how engaged those folks were,” he says.
“They write us letters about how it was
interesting, how it made them think.”
With five performances scheduled for
this spring, Willis is continuing to push
her suburban audience to try new dance
experiences. For his second incubator
project, avant-garde dance-theater art-
ist David Neumann premiered I Under-
stand Everything Better in late March,
a multidisciplinary piece incorporating
innovative technology, weather reports,
and personal narratives filtered through
classical Japanese dance-theater ele-
ments. The Brooklyn, N. Y.-based Urban
Bush Women was to present Walking
with ’Trane on April 17 and 18, a suite
of dances paying tribute to jazz pio-
neer John Coltrane. Also, Christopher
K. Morgan & Artists, a Rockville-based
troupe, is reworking Morgan’s 2012 Lim-
ited Visibility for performances on May
29 and 30.
Morgan, who was previously affiliated with CityDance Ensemble in North
Bethesda, says he’s noticed that audiences seem comfortable with performances that go beyond the traditional.
“I’ve met a fair number of people who
have some history of experiencing cutting-edge work, and ADI is a great gift
in reconnecting them to that,” he says.
TODAY, ADI CONTINUES to evolve.
Concerns over financial constraints led
to an announcement in late March that
the ballet school would close after its
summer session. “We did a needs assessment,” says Willis, “and we found that
there are a lot of very good schools in our
area and even though we did well, grow-
on the edge