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Antonio Marrujo ’25: An Immersive Summer at American Dance Festival

Project Date:
Project Date: Summer 2022

A Summer Dance Intensive with American Dance Festival (ADF) blossomed into self-discovery through modern dance and community.

About the Program

I received the funding to attend the American Dance Festival (ADF) and immerse myself in dance styles that I have not previously trained in. ADF’s mission is to promote modern dance in all its forms. While they are internationally recognized as an outstanding organization that advocates for modern dance expansion, ADF strives to create an environment that feels tight-knit and personal, which is what drew me to the program. More specifically, its Summer Dance Intensive (SDI) fostered a welcoming, encouraging space for me to grow as a dancer, an artist, and an individual.

Not having much prior dance training before college, I have always been reluctant to join summer dance intensives due to my previous insecurities. Training at Duke for a year and engaging in its thriving dance community gave me the courage to apply to ADF.

For an entire month at ADF, I took three dance classes every day: Contemporary Jazz: The Diasporic Encounter Method, Hip-Hop Foundations, and a modern repertory piece. In addition, I attended various performances from dance companies across the world and had the opportunity to take their drop-in master classes. Not only that, I participated in performance opportunities such as the high-tech and low-tech concerts and a repertory piece.

I am very grateful to have attended ADF because it gave me more confidence, weakened my insecurities, and eliminated my fear of pursuing dance at a professional level. The classes I took were all incredible and allowed me to find myself as a dancer; I feel more grounded in my body and more confident about the movements I execute. I have discovered that I resonate with jazz dance and Hip-Hop, two dance forms that are grounded. Not only did I gain confidence and improve my technique, I also formed intense, loving relationships with those that I danced with. These friendships will undoubtedly last a lifetime, and I am so grateful that I found them through ADF.

What changes did you notice in your summer experience due to COVID-19?

Given that we are in the midst of a pandemic, ADF had to adjust certain parts of their program to follow COVID-19 protocols. For the first part of the program, we were required to wear masks in the dance studio. During drop-in classes, they kept close track of attendance to avoid overcrowded spaces. In addition, some instructors taught classes on Zoom because they were unable to attend the festival.