A Global Destination for Dance

Welcome to the Bates Dance Festival.

Update on March 31:

Sadly, we will not proceed with the 2020 Bates Dance Festival due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

We have decided to cancel the Young Dancers Workshop, Professional Training Program, Youth Arts Program, and Performance Series. This was an incredibly difficult decision, made in close consultation with Bates College and with input from other peer festivals and programs around the country, but one made in the best interest of public health. We’re grateful to and want to support all the essential workers who are keeping us safe and doing their best to flatten the curve.

We invite enrolled students to roll their tuition payments over to 2021, or reach out to us if you need a refund at dancefest@bates.edu.

We intend to look into potential online offerings. Please watch this space for more information.

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. More than anything, we hope you stay safe and healthy.

Training Programs

Young Dancers Workshop June 27 – July 18

Professional Training Program July 19 – August 9

Youth Arts Program July 20 – August 8

View Programs


Our 2020 Performance Series is July 17–August 8 and will include Main Stage performances, concerts, talks, beer gardens, and more!

Series Preview

The Bates Dance Festival brings together an international community of choreographers, performers, educators & students in a cooperative community to study, perform & create new work.

About the Festival


Learn more about the Bates Dance Festival and its history.


The Bates dance festival offers programs for all ages.


Take a virtual tour of the campus and schedule your visit.


Help support the Bates Dance Festival.

Bates has become an ever important nexus of dance. It provides fertile ground for development and growth in the art form, and is helping to shape its future.

Steve Koester, faculty

It is a rare occasion for young artists like ourselves to be seen, celebrated and asked to grow the way we were at BDF. We were immersed in the world of dance for three weeks in the way we all hope to be, but struggle to do, in our own communities. We left Bates with a sense of joy, creativity, clarity and community …

Lida Winfield & Ellen Smith Ahern, Emerging Artists

BDF surpassed my expectations… incredible faculty, supportive community environment, and a rich, diverse, incredibly talented group of attendees.

BFD Sudent

I am one of many examples of BDF’s commitment to artists from the local community and around the world over long periods of time. The festival has been a home where I can rediscover my artistry at every stage of my career.

Paul Matteson, Faculty

My summer at BDF was the best and most successful I've ever had. The people, the dancing, the opportunities, your kindness and generosity are completely unparalleled. Not enough people understand the imperative of fostering community, which makes dance as an art form function as a significant part of society.

BDF Student

We found Youth Arts to be a consistently wonderful program. The faculty is top notch. The focus on respectful and mature engagement with each other and with the artistic process is equally impressive. The kids are learning self-discipline and mutual respect.


I took my son Isaiah to see Rennie Harris last summer. The performance sparked his interest in dance. When I asked how he liked the performance he said with sparkles in his eyes, I want to be a dancer."

Audience Member

There is something deep and supremely relevant about attending, participating, performing, and/or visiting BDF that seamlessly and potently infiltrates the community i.e. dancers, dance enthusiasts, and the curious.

Kendra Portier, Emerging Choreographer/Faculty