Performing Arts

ACDT Celebrates 40 Years with Retrospective

ACDT Celebrates 40 Years with Retrospective

Dancers Giles Collard and Elizabeth Huntley in Death by Plastica. Photo by Sandee Johnson

By Emma Castleberry

Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre (ACDT)/ White Dog Project will celebrate 40 years with A Retrospective (Looking Back/Looking Ahead), on June 7 and 8 at the Diana Wortham Theatre. Both performances will begin at 7:30 p.m., with a gala champagne reception after opening night.

Forty years ago, five women partnered to start ACDT: Leigh Hollowgrass, Resi Dolbee, Julie Gillum, Charlotte Adams and Susan Collard, who is the current acting director of ACDT with Giles Collard. “We were looking for a component of dance and theatre that was missing in our community: modern dance,” says Collard. “With no market for modern dance in WNC, we really started with no budget and performed gratis most of the time, but we had passion and drive.” Since its inception, ACDT has performed and taught classes in France, Cuba, Colombia, Canada and Mexico. Collaboration and cultural exchange are major values for ACDT and the company maintains relationships with many artists from abroad. ACDT has also created and performed a number of original productions, including Birds of War, Looking for Frida, The Loves of Tina and Death by Plastica.

The anniversary performances on June 7 and 8 will include excerpts from some of the company’s favorite ballets, as well as a presentation of some of the works and documentaries created by video artists Melika Bass and Blind Dog productions. All five founders of ACDT will be in attendance. “This concert will be a grand ‘thank you’ to those who have been on the sidelines and in the wings applauding the work,” says Collard. “This concert is the end of 40 years, but the beginning of 40 more.”

The Diana Wortham Theatre is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

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