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Bates Dance Festival

Activities: Art, performances, dance and music.
Region: Maine’s Lakes & Mountains

Celebrate the art of movement and the dance community at Bates Dance Festival, July 11-31. A mix of live performances in Lewiston and some virtual options showcase diverse dance forms, including interactive video installations and pieces by award-winning choreographers. Most venues will be outside in public spaces around Lewiston, creating a “dancing in the streets” vibe about town. Don’t forget your own dancing shoes — many of the performances encourage audience participation!

Witness a variety of performances that express deeper truths and meanings, such as Indigenous cultural practices and perspectives, and the global climate crisis. Don’t miss the opportunity to see (and participate in!) these uniquely moving pieces:

A Canari Torsi, Performance | Portrait (July 14-31, L/A Arts Gallery)

Chicago-based Museum A Canari Torsi presents this interactive video installation of a life-sized performer, projected onto a screen, that beckons the spectator to participate. The piece uses a Kinect 2 Sensor that recognizes the presence and movement of the spectator, affecting the playback of the recorded image. As the viewer explores the installation, they might consider: Who is the true performer?

Emily Johnson, Processions Toward, Being Future Being (July 17-18, Location TBD)

A member of the Yup’ik Nation who grew up in Sterling, Alaska, and an award-winning New York-based choreographer, Johnson creates work that explores Indigenous cultural practices and perspectives. Part of Johnson’s performance involves a ceremonial fire as she dances on the Androscoggin riverfront, the original homelands of the Wabanaki.

Janessa Clark, Communion (July 29-31, location TBD)

In response to the isolation and uncertainty that dancers faced in the COVID-19 crisis, this piece explores what it means to be alone, together. Forty dancers separated by cities, countries and continents “commune” together in a digital space, set to music created and donated by a remote composer.

Vanessa Anspaugh, Funerals for the Ocean (July 30-31, Lewiston location TBD)

This audience-participatory piece is inspired by the current climate crisis that threatens our oceans. The choreographies are meant to simultaneously express gratitude and grief to celebrate what has been and mourn what has been lost.

In addition to these performances, there will be a variety of artist talks (all free) and virtual performances available on YouTube. Performance tickets are on sale June 1 and operate under a “choose your price” model (either $20 or $5), inspired by the hope to make art accessible to all audiences. Learn more at

From Ellsworth: 133 miles
From Bangor: 108 miles
From Portland: 37 miles

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