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Bates Dance Festival artists return for Anniversary Gala

Patrick Widrig (Photo by Stan Barouh)

Some of the best known and loved dance artists from more than three decades of the Bates Dance Festival will return to celebrate the festival’s 35th anniversary by performing in its Anniversary Gala on Friday and Saturday, July 28 and 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Bates College’s air-conditioned Schaeffer Theatre.

The program will feature work, much of it new, by some of America’s top dancers and choreographers, including “Short Story,” a poignant duet by Doug Varone and Natalie Desch; an excerpt from “The Making Room,” by Bebe Miller and Angie Hauser; a glimpse of “Crazy Beautiful,” a new solo by Tania Isaac; excerpted solos by Larry Keigwin, Sara Pearson, Patrik Widrig, and Riley Watts; and a piece choreographed for students by festival veteran Michael Foley. A party will follow Saturday’s performance.

Friday’s performance will be dedicated to the memory of Marcy Plavin, who founded the Bates College dance program and the Bates Dance Festival. Cherished as a friend and mentor by generations of Bates dancers, Plavin died last November.

Saturday’s events will honor festival director Laura Faure, under whose guidance the Bates Dance Festival has become a leading center for the development of contemporary American dance. Faure will retire after the festival’s current season, her 30th at its helm. She will be succeeded by Shoshona Currier, a Maine native who, for the past five years, has served as director of performing arts for the City of Chicago.

The gala performances will “speak to longtime relationships and the history of the festival,” says Faure. “For an audience to see the arc of an artist’s career is very rare,” but it’s something the Bates Dance Festival has offered in abundance.

For the Saturday performance and party, admission is $60. For the Friday performance, tickets are $35 for adults, $27 for seniors, and $20 for students. Online tickets are available at batestickets.com.

Schaeffer Theatre is located at 329 College Street in Lewiston. For more information, call the box office at 786-6161 or see the festival website at batesdancefestival.org.

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