Each summer, for seven weeks, Durham plays host to some of the best-established dance troupes in the country. Since 1934, the American Dance Festival has brought dancers, choreographers and educators to the city to showcase the past, present and future of American dance. The festival highlights professional performances, dance workshops and community outreach.

This cultural festival is a fantastic opportunity for Duke and Durham to come together to appreciate the art of dance. Yet, the festival is often overlooked during the busy months of summer.

For many students on campus, the summer is a time to catch up on tough classes they need for the year. Breaking from the dedication to Organic Chemistry or Calculus II can seem like a distraction from the goals of summer classes, but, when students decide to take time to appreciate dance, they engage with their communities in entirely new ways.

Art is an integral connection among people, and the festival provides an avenue by which students can appreciate some of the most innovative dance in the nation.

The festival defines its mission as “to encourage and support the creation and presentation of new modern dance work by both established and emerging choreographers, to preserve our modern dance heritage through continued presentation of classic works as well as through archival efforts, to build wider national and international audiences for modern dance, to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the art form and its cultural and historical significance, to provide a sound scientific and aesthetic base for professional education and training of young dancers and to maintain a forum for integrating and disseminating information on dance education.”

To attain this goal of bridging dance appreciation between the professionals and the Duke and Durham communities, the American Dance Festival offers a variety of discounts to appeal to almost every audience. Duke students can receive half price tickets and many of the performances are in on-campus venues. With the convenience of on-campus venues and discounted tickets, it could not be any easier for Duke students to engage with the culture of the festival, yet very few students take advantage of the opportunity.

With such an amazing opportunity so conveniently centered around Duke’s campus, more students should take advantage of the chance to play audience to the dance performances. So, if you are here for the summer, check out the festival. There is something that appeals to everyone.

Performances in Reynolds Theater begin June 14 and last though July 26. So, go to a performance and experience the culture that the festival brings. It is an experience entirely unique to Durham, so do not let the struggle of summer classes or research labs overshadow the opportunity to experience the festival.

More information about the American Dance Festival and a full calendar of events can be found at http://www.americandancefestival.org.

Editor’s Note: This editorial was written by members of staff rather than The Chronicle’s independent editorial board.