Nazareth College's Dance Festival to go on one-year hiatus

09:19 PM, Jan 11, 2013

The Martha Graham Dance Company headlined the Nazareth College Dance Festival in July. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)/

Written By Jeff Spevak | Staff writer

Nazareth College Arts Center is putting its Dance Festival on hiatus until May 2014, with the intention of incorporating the 3-year-old event into Nazareth College’s academic calendar.

It’s still in the very early planning stages, but our goal is to involve faculty and dance students as our dance program grows,” said Mare Millow, marketing and publicity manager for the school. “We serve the greater Rochester community, but we also serve the Nazareth community.”

Since the inception of the festival, the Nazareth College Department of Theatre Arts has added a full-time assistant professor of dance and expanded its dance-course offerings. The 2014 festival will likely present the same features as past events, including main-stage performances, discussions with choreographers and dancers and master classes. The move will also incorporate the school’s free summer Dancing on the Grass programs for local and regional companies.

No date or participants had been announced for 2013.

I understand why they are trying to regroup and present the Dance Festival again,” said Deborah Tretter, senior marketing director at Rochester City Ballet. “Usually these things take time to grow, like the jazz festival. It needs time to percolate.”

The event’s headliners have thus far all had ties to the region. The Martha Graham Dance Company, whose origins are at the Eastman School of Music, headlined the event last year, held from July 12 through 21. The first two years of the festival featured Elizabeth Streb, who grew up in Penfield and attended The College at Brockport, and Bill T. Jones, who grew up in Wayland, Steuben County.

Rochester City Ballet participated in the 2011 festival, but was not involved last year because of a scheduling conflict. “I think Rochester has a pretty rich dance culture to begin with,” said Tretter. “How we have always felt about the Dance Festival is doing anything that brings these amazing companies to Rochester is a win-win for dance, period.”

The “re-imaging” of the festival, to use the event’s words, is the second recent overhaul of a local arts festival. The High Falls Film Festival is planning to be back in the spring after a year’s hiatus and a 2010 season during which it was called the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival. The High Falls Film Festival is also returning to the event’s original focus of presenting the work of women filmmakers.