Duke Dance Program launches summer intensives to support MFA artistic research

Leo, Miki, Lee
MFA in Dance cohorts: Leo Ryan ('23), Zhixuan Zhu ('23) and Lee Edwards ('22) | Photo: John West, Trinity Communications

The Duke Dance Program MFA in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis (MFAEIP) presents an exciting two-part movement and creative practice intensive designed to support the artistic evolution of Duke graduate dance students and alumni.

The six-week program consists of the inaugural MFAEIP Alumni Hothouse, running June 6-17, 2022, and The Arks Incubator, presented in collaboration with the American Dance Festival (ADF) and running June 20-July 15.

Across six weeks, Duke graduate dance artists participate in morning dance practice classes and experimental creative practice labs, as well as being provided with dedicated time, space and mentorship from a range of guest artists in the Ark, the Dance Program's legacy site of dance research on Duke's East campus.

“At a historical moment when dance artists are hustling more than ever to adapt to changing patterns of artistic production, there is an urgent need to protect space to explore the reach of dance without the pressure of a ‘product’ in sight,” explains Sarah Wilbur, Duke Dance Program Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of the Practice in Dance.


MFAEIP Alumni Hothouse

The Alumni Hothouse offers past and present MFAEIP dance artists an annual laboratory, a creative place to land, learn, collaborate, and share their ever evolving work with invited interdisciplinary artist-mentors. “This year, we are lucky to be hosting Ajani Brannum (Los Angeles) and North Carolina poet laureate Jaki Shelton Green as creative facilitators. Going forward, MFAEIP alums from any cohort will have a lifetime invitation to return to the Ark each summer to continue their creative experiments,” says Wilbur.  


MFAEIP Arks Incubator/ADF Partnership

The same “laboratory” vibe will continue during the ADF Summer Dance Intensive through afternoon creative praxis and research labs led by four additional guest artists in the Ark. Current MFAEIP students will participate in morning movement classes with ADF faculty before returning to the lab each afternoon and evening to further hone their thesis work and receive critical feedback from guests Vangeline (New York), Cara Hagan (New York), James Clotfelter (Durham) and Gerald Casel (New Brunswick, New Jersey). 

“From my perspective, unexpected and imaginative interdisciplinary collaboration is the future of dance. I’m excited for ADF to be a partner to Duke University’s MFA program in Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis for its potential to innovate the field. This will be the first summer that we will be able to be in-person with the MFA candidates, and I can’t wait to see what we create together," Leah Cox, Dean of the American Dance Festival. 

For the list of artists and public events, please visit here