Arts Performing Arts

ACDT Presents Festival of New Dance

ACDT Presents Festival of New Dance

Sara Derting

Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre (ACDT) presents the Festival of New Dance from Thursday, March 26, through Sunday, March 29. Performances take place at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The event features six choreographers’ interpretations of new dance, presented in performances of 25 minutes or less. Two master classes, held on Saturday and Sunday, offer hands-on instruction to the community. All events take place at the BeBe Theatre in Asheville.

“New dance is a vague term that can be interpreted with many different styles, elements and visions,” says ACDT director and founder Susan Collard. “My husband and I want to bring to our community different ways to see and take part in the art of dance.”

Participating choreographers are Claire Elizabeth Barratt (aka Cilla Vee), Giles Collard, A. Eithne Hamilton, Kathleen Meyers Leiner, Melissa Wilhoit and Collard herself. Invitees were selected based on their ability to create quality work within a limited time frame, push creative boundaries, collaborate with artists in other disciplines and challenge audiences with unique dance styles that explore movement possibilities. Susan’s concept uses bamboo, the infusion of original sound and voice by Liz Lang and video projection of surreal images.

“Some choreographers are using paint; others are experimenting with film and props,” says Susan. “One person is making large screens for special visual effects, while another is experimenting with sound and light and yet another is exploring the possibilities of toys and dance combined.”

Leiner’s work is inspired by Women’s History Month and the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment. She explores physical and conceptual issues surrounding control and freedom within the isolation and intimacy of paper walls between the audience and performer. Drawing inspiration from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the experiment delves into the process of a woman’s journey to and from oppression.

“I read the story over and over again,” says Leiner. “The imagery and layers of concepts within it are the jumping-off point for a shared experience for the performer and the audience.”

Leiner will teach Sunday’s master class on creative processing at 12 p.m. Saturday’s class, taught by Wilhoit at 10 a.m., will focus on Limón technique. The classes are $10 each. A discount is offered with the purchase of a ticket to a performance.

“I look forward to participating because the festival invites artists to experiment with new works without boundaries, and gives the space to share our process through workshops, too,” says Leiner.

BeBe Theatre is located at 20 Commerce Street, in Asheville. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 for students and seniors. Purchase tickets at Learn more by visiting or by calling 828.254.2621.

Leave a Comment