Mention dance in Maine, and the Bates Dance Festival is the headliner. This annual summer festival celebrates contemporary dance; it is an opportunity to see some of the world's most exceptional dancers perform. Established and emerging companies from across the U.S. come to Bates College in Lewiston to enliven the stage with perception, wit, and virtuosic dancing.
Festival participants represent the best of contemporary dance. Artists including Doug Varone, Rennie Harris, Liz Lerman and Bebe Miller have debuted projects at the Festival, and then taken them on to international acclaim. The festival draws choreographers and dancers internationally, which encourages new ideas and collaborations.
Maine isn't just about modern dance, though. Ballet has a strong presence, with Bangor's Robinson Ballet Company, the Portland Ballet Company, and the Maine State Ballet elevating this classic form. All three companies have schools, and the annual Nutcracker collaborations always sell out to enthusiastic audiences.
Many fairs and festivals throughout Maine have dance components. Performers from around the world take to the stage at the American Folk Festival in Bangor to share their traditional dance forms, and ethnic festivals often include demonstrations and street dancing.