News and Features

After 10 Year Hiatus, Dance Festival Returns (With New Name, New Home)

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It’s last incarnation was known as The Dallas Morning News Dance Festival, which folded in 2004. But the Dance Council of North Texas announced Friday that the event will be revived, with a new name and  a new home.

Dallas DanceFest 2014 will take place Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-31 at City Performance Hall. Audiences can expect eight to 16 companies performing  the first two nights. The performances and companies will be curated, said Gayle Halperin during Friday’s announcement. Organizers are still developing their process, artistic criteria, and panel of curators, but applications will be sent out this spring. All Dance Council companies will be invited to apply.

The Dance Council Honors will also merge with the festival. That annual event recognizes dance leaders, awards scholarships, and includes performances and a silent auction. For the past several years, it’s been held at Dallas Black Dance Theater. This year, it will be held at 2 p.m. on the 31st at City Performance Hall.

Two companies, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Dancers Unlimited Repertory, created the first Dallas Dance Festival in 1985 in Lee Park. The outdoor festival moved to Annette Strauss Artist Square and picked up its newspaper sponsorship.

The dance scene in Dallas has grown in the last decade, and features new companies focused on styles ranging from classical ballet to hip hop, flamenco to Indian dance, Halperin said. DanceFest aims to present them all at their best. “Excellence is the theme,” Halperin said.

The vision for the festival is inspired by  Fall for Dance in New York. That event, at City Center, features an array of performances and events, new works, and low ticket prices.

But that will take time. “We have to keep things small and focused this year to be successful.”