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New Moves

By Carolyn Supinka

AU Dance Program

Photo of AU Dance Program students by Traci. J. Brooks.

American University’s Dance Program is setting things in motion with an exciting new partnership with the American Dance Institute (ADI). ADI is a Rockville-based performance venue for internationally renowned dance companies and choreographers, as well as a dance school. The Washington Post described it as “fast becoming one of the area’s leading presenters of choice experimental dance.” 

The partnership will offer free master classes for AU students, as well as opportunities to watch rehearsals and interact with ADI’s visiting dancers and choreographers. Melanie George, director of the American University Dance Program, will present pre-performance talks at ADI, and ADI will provide a venue for the AU Dance Program’s annual fundraiser. 

A Natural Partnership  

“An important part of being a student of dance is that you need to see multiple and varied dance performances. Dance is an art form that exists in the moment, and it never happens the same way twice, so seeing it live is critical for your understanding of the form,” said George. “The variety of artists they (the students) are exposed to will help them to cultivate diverse perspectives about dance. The palette from which they build their own aesthetic will be much wider because of that.”  

Steven Skerritt-Davis, director of institutional relations at ADI, said that his organization is thrilled to be partnering with American University. 

“When we had the idea to add an educational component to the incubator program, we thought the best way to do that was through a partnership with a university, and AU was a great pick,” he said. “AU is one of the premier institutions in the D.C. area, and we’re thrilled to be embarking on this partnership that aims to benefit dance students throughout the region.”  

As for what the partnership would bring in the future, Skerritt-Davis said, “We’re hoping it will give something to both dance students and the visiting artists. ADI is always evolving, so this is part of that…It’s a great synthesis of coursework and practical experience. We’re excited and we hope it continues and grows.” 

The partnership has three components: the Inside the Incubator series, master classes, and the Dr. Naima Prevots Guest Artist Fund.  

Inside The Incubator Series 

The Incubator at ADI is a unique dance residency program that gives visiting choreographers the time and space necessary to develop their work at ADI’s facilities. 

The AU partnership adds an educational component to the residency, giving AU dance students the opportunity to observe rehearsals and talk with the artists and choreographers. At the end of each residency, the choreographers will perform their work for the public, and Melanie George will present pre-show talks. AU students can receive a discount for all of the performances offered at ADI.

Master Classes  

As part of the partnership, AU will host a series of master classes taught by ADI’s visiting choreographers and dancers. Each of three master classes offered this fall will have room for about 25 students to attend. They will be taught by award-winning choreographers Vicky Shick and Aszure Barson, and by the Vertigo Dance Company. ADI will offer these classes on AU’s campus. They are open to students and the general public.  

Dr. Naima Prevots Guest Artist Fund 

ADI will provide the venue for the annual benefit performance of the American University Dance Program for the Dr. Naima Prevots Guest Artist Fund, in honor of Dr. Naima Prevots, the founder of the AU Dance Program. All proceeds go to bringing emerging and veteran artists to AU’s Dance Program. 

For More Information 

To read more about the upcoming performances at ADI, visit the ADI website.

To register for master classes, contact Melanie George at