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The INDY Picks the Must-See Shows of ADF's Fortieth Durham Season

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What to See at ADF

1. Controversial, political dance theater from the Middle East figures into four ADF shows this year. Hillel Kogan's We Love Arabs (The Cary Theater, June 13–14) is a satirical slam on ethnic stereotyping and didactic social commentary in which an Israeli and an Arab dancer try to bridge their cultural divides. Yossi Berg and Oded Graf's Come Jump with Me (The Nasher Museum of Art, July 10–12) details two travelers' search for a holy land, which brings them to the edge of an abyss. Roy Assaf's The Hill (Reynolds Industries Theater, July 18 & 19) chronicles one of the fiercest battles of 1967's Six-Day War, the same night that Ate9 Dance Company's Exhibit B explores cultural conflict in idiosyncratic assemblies set to the frenetic horns and glitching beats of a hip-hop/Iranian music mash-up (Reynolds Theater, July 18–19).

Tommy Noonan's John is one of our top picks for the 2017 ADF season - PHOTO BY TIM WALTER
  • Photo by Tim Walter
  • Tommy Noonan's John is one of our top picks for the 2017 ADF season

2. After an October premiere from Durham Independent Dance Artists, Culture Mill cofounder Tommy Noonan's John (Sheafer Lab Theater, June 18–19) now marks his ADF debut. The INDY's Michaela Dwyer called the solo "an hour-long experiment in pinning a body to words and vice versa." The piece was inspired by The Illustrated Biography of John Travolta, Richard Linklater's film Boyhood, and a 2016 Trump political rally.

3. One generation after Still/Here, Bill T. Jones's seminal dance documentary on the AIDS crisis, a riveting update, Sean Dorsey's The Missing Generation (Reynolds Theater, July 5–6), lets us hear the voices of twenty-five survivors from the first years of the plague whom Dorsey interviewed in six American cities.

4. We've seen Crystal Pite's psychologically striking fusions of contemporary dance and ballet in recent tours by groups including Nederlands Dans Theater. In Betroffenheit (DPAC, July 14–15), Pite's own Kidd Pivot dance company pairs with stage director Jonathon Young's Electric Company Theatre in a disturbing, evening-length work exploring post-traumatic stress after a community disaster.

5. We've come to expect unexpected twists from Bill T. Jones. As immigrants worldwide face new hurdles in locating sanctuary, Jones concludes his three-year Analogy project with Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant (DPAC, July 27–29), a work that reportedly places the narrator from German novelist W.G. Sebald's 1992 work, The Emigrants, in an aristocratic Downton Abbey milieu. The work debuts here as part of a three-night production of the entire trilogy.

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