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ADF keeps campus on its toes

East Campus has been quiet for a few weeks now, empty of its usual bustle of freshmen since their final exams ended and summer vacation began. In their place, members of the American Dance Festival are filling Wilson Dormitory and gearing up for a whirlwind summer of dance workshops and performances.

Last Wednesday, ADF personnel from Durham and New York City converged in Wilson, hauling file cabinets and turning bedrooms into temporary offices for their summer stay at Duke. The festival, which officially kicks off June 10, will bring dancers--both amateurs and professionals--to Durham for the 27th consecutive year.

But in the meantime, staff members are settling in and finishing preparations for the upcoming events.

"It's the calm before the storm," says ADF spokesperson Brian McCormick of the current workplace atmosphere. "The storm is the festival itself, but it's more like a summer shower than a tornado or The Day After Tomorrow."

In McCormick's makeshift office, two interns sit patiently on the couch next to his desk. It's their first day on the job and Kristen Roskowski and Meghan Slaven don't have much to do--yet.

"We know generally what we're going to be doing," Slaven says. "We'll be taking care of display cases that show what performances are coming up, what [dance] companies are coming in."

"Working with press clippings," Roskowski offers.

"Greeting the press," Slaven adds.

Both interns add that despite having only six hours of experience thus far, they are looking forward to the rest of the summer. "I think we'll learn a lot," Roskowski says.

Across the hall from McCormick's office, Sarah Tondu and her assistant are occupied with paperwork. Tondu, the director of ADF's school administration, succinctly describes how she is faring: Busy.

"We're still taking care of paperwork," she says, "and we have much more coming in--insurance forms, medical forms, notes from doctors, forms for kids under [age] 18."

Tondu helps to oversee the ADF's two dance schools, which run alongside a host of performances that are held by professional dancers. The four-week school caters to students 12 to 16 years old; those older than 16 enroll in the six-week school.

Throughout the summer, ADF's professional cast not only performs for summer audiences but also interacts with the local community through workshops, master classes and open rehearsals.

"Some people think [ADF] is just a performance festival, which it is not. Some people think it's just a school, which it is not," McCormick says. "It's both of those things, and much, much more."

Lori Jones presides over the performance and outreach divisions of ADF, keeping track of the dance companies and facilitating community outreach through local recreation centers.

"You're basically making sure that from the time that they know they're coming, to long after they're done, that the entire trip has run smoothly," Jones says. "Same with community development--finding a way to outreach and go into the community and make the most of it. If you're going to have an amazing dance festival, why not make people aware of it?"

In the midst of finalizing preparations for the festival, staff members eagerly await the arrival of students and performers. As a former dancer, financial assistant Erin Dadey claims she is "rather excited" to be able to work in an environment where she can see students attend dance class and dance companies perform shows.

"It's my first summer here, but ADF is such a legacy," Dadey says. "It's exciting to be a part of it."


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