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Bates Dance Festival ramps up for final weekend

jumatatu m. poe & Jermone Donte Beacham’s “This is a Formation: Intervention” will fuse performance and live action on the streets of Portland and Lewiston. (Photo by Gemma Galiana)

As the 2019 Bates Dance Festival ramps up for its final weekend, favorite traditions will blend with cutting-edge choreography on Bates College stages and even on the streets of Lewiston and Portland.

The weekend will kick off with the festival’s final 2019 Concert on the Quad, featuring the reggae band Stream, on Thursday, August 1; the festival will wrap up on Sunday, August 4, with the weekend’s second “How Was the Show?” community chat at Lewiston’s Bear Bones Bear.

In between, there will be full-tilt performances by Joanna Kotze, nora chipaumire, and J-Sette artists jumatatu m. poe & Jermone Donte Beacham, whose “This is a Formation: Intervention” – comprising equal parts performance and street action – will take place in Portland on August 2 and in Lewiston on August 3.

Also taking place on August 3 will be the “Young Choreographers- New Work” showcase, featuring work by talented festival students, along with the Festival Finale.

For more information about the Bates Dance Festival or specific events, call 786-6381or write to To see the complete schedule of events, visit

In chronological order, here are specifics for the festival events happening August 1 through 4.

Concert on the Quad. Straight from Dominica, Maine’s favorite reggae band, Stream, will play a mix of favorites and new originals. The event will take place on Thursday, August 1 at 6:30 p.m. on the Historic Quad, located at Campus Avenue and College Street on the Bate College campus in Lewiston. Free.

Joanna Kotze’s “What will we be like when we get there.” Fusing movement, sound, and visual art in surprising ways, this work recalls the social and political vibe in the wake of 2016’s presidential election and brings attention to our desires, flaws, strengths, and fantasies. Performances will take place Thursday and Friday, August 1 and 2, at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Gymnasium, located at 130 Central Avenue on the Bates campus ($20 adults, $15 seniors, $12 students).

Originally from South Africa, Joanna Kotze is a Brooklyn-based dance artist who has been active in New York City since 1998. For this performance, she has collaborated with dancer Omagbitse Omagbemi, visual artist Jonathan Allen, and composer-musician Ryan Seaton.

nora chipaumire’s “100% Pop.” Developed in part at the Bates Dance Festival, this work explores how “information and knowledge were acquired by those of us who grew up in less free times.” Performances will take place Thursday and Saturday, August 1 and 3, at 9:30 p.m. and on Friday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m., all at Gannett Theater in Pettigrew Hall (ground floor), located at 305 College Street on the Bates campus. A dance party will follow Saturday’s show ($25 adults, $18 seniors, $12 students).

Born in Zimbabwe and based in New York City, chipaumire has been challenging and embracing stereotypes of Africa, the black performing body, art, and aesthetics since 1998. She is concluding a year-long residency at Bates. This will be the New England premiere of “100% POP.”

jumatatu m. poe & Jermone Donte Beacham’s “This is a Formation: Intervention.” Co-choreographers poe and Beacham will present the New England premiere of this work using J-Sette performance and culture, a genre originating with the popular female dance team of the Jackson State University marching band, to explore contemporary issues of black queer life. 

There will be two street performances: one in Portland on Friday, August 2 starting at Indigo Arts Alliance and Blackstone at 6 p.m. and ending at SPACE at 7:15; and one in Lewiston on Saturday, August 3 starting at Tree Street Youth Center and New Beginnings at 5:30 p.m. and ending at Alumni Gymnasium at Bates College at 6:30. Free.

Young Choreographers-New Work. This informal, adjudicated showing will feature 12 new works by talented festival students. Audience members are invited to come and go throughout the morning starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 3 at Schaeffer Theatre, located at 329 College Street on the Bates campus. Free.

“How Was the Show?” Enjoy drinks, snacks, and the chance to share your thoughts about festival performances, all while the BDF picks up the tab, on Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4, at noon at Bear Bones Bear, located at 43 Lisbon Street in Lewiston. Free.

Festival Finale. This high-energy event culminating the 2019 Bates Dance Festival will feature repertory works in jazz, modern, Afro-modern, and hip hop styles, performed by festival Professional Training Program students and choreographed by Onye Ozuzu and Qudus Onikeku, Courtney D. Jones, and Michael Blake.

The Finale will kick off with a performance by the Youth Arts Program, which brings together talented local youth ages 7 through 16, on Saturday, August 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Gymnasium, located at 130 Central Avenue on the Bates campus. Admission to this event is by cash sale at the door only ($10/6).

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