Twelve companies to perform at DanceFest In New Paltz

New Paltz School of Ballet dancers await their entrance at DanceFest! (photo by Dion Ogust)

Hard to believe that “DanceFest!” the annual midwinter presentation of works in various dance genres by students from a dozen Hudson Valley dance schools, organized by the Vanaver Caravan, has been around for 23 years now. A lot of those young students from the extravaganza’s early years will be enrolling their own kids in dance academies soon enough!

Back again at SUNY-New Paltz’s McKenna Theatre this weekend, DanceFest! 2015 will feature a hello, a goodbye and not one but two shows. Susan Slotnick’s Figures in Flight Dance Company – the youth troupe, not one of her various ensembles of prison inmates or ex-cons – will be having its last go-round at this year’s event, performing Welcome to the World. Stepping in for the first time will be the Dutchess School of Performing Arts, presenting an original Jerome Robbins-flavored ballet set to Vivaldi and a multi-genre piece titled Flights of Fancy.

The host company will present dancers from the Vanaver CaravanKids Project and Youth Company performing clogging, Kurdish/Turkish line dancing and May Peace Prevail on Earth, an upbeat contemporary dance using sign language. Currently a principal dancer for the New Jersey Ballet, Albert Davydov will perform along with his student dancers from the American Youth Ballet in Paquita. The Saugerties Ballet Center will perform Midnight Sun, a new ballet set to Norwegian folk music. Rhinebeck Ballet Theatre dancers will present Caterpillar, a piece inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Also on the program will be pieces performed by students (and some faculty members) from the Ballet Arts Studio, the Barefoot Dance Center, the D’amby Project, Gina Marie’z, the New Paltz School of Ballet, the New York Academy of Ballet and the Rhinebeck Dance Centre.

You have two chances to catch DanceFest! 2015: at 7 p.m. this Saturday, February 7 and a 2 p.m. matinée this Sunday, February 8. Proceeds will benefit the Vanaver Caravan’s arts education programs in Ulster County and the surrounding areas. Tickets can be bought in advance through the individual dance schools or at the door prior to each performance, and cost $18 for general admission, $12 for seniors and children age 12 and under. For more info call (845) 256-9300 or visit



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