35 years of moving together

The BDF Challenge

Thanks to the 121 donors who helped us!

About this project:

This summer the Bates Dance Festival will mark 35 years of bringing together an international community of dancers in an egalitarian environment that fosters a creative exchange of ideas, encourages mutual respect and support, and creates a safe space for artistic expression, experimentation and exchange.

Since its founding the festival has trained 8,195 students, engaged 111,550 audience members, employed over 690 individual artists and 76 companies, hosted 90 international artists from 28 countries, and supported the creation of 190 dance works.

To celebrate our history on the occasion of this anniversary we have invited a slew of our favorite dance makers to return to share their work. Featured companies include David Dorfman Dance performing AroundTown, zoe | juniper in Clear & Sweet, and Christal Brown and INSPIRIT in The Opulence of Integrity. Our 35th Gala will showcase longtime artist alumni Doug Varone & Natalie Desch, Bebe Miller & Angie Hauser, Larry Keigwin, Sara Pearson & Patrik Widrig, Tania Isaac, and newcomer Riley Watts. Plus Michael Foley will create a new work on students to culminate the concert.

Another highlight of the season is Mill Town, a site-specific, community-engaged performance installation that celebrates the history and culture of Lewiston-Auburn. Staged in and around a historic downtown mill, the project incorporate dance, music, video, and historical artifacts and will feature over 60 performers. Choreographed by Stephan Koplowitz with an original score by composer Todd Reynolds, scenic design by Shawn Hove, video by Ellen Maynard, and costumes by Melody Eggen, Mill Town serves as the capstone project of director Laura Faure’s 30-year tenure.

These artists and events taken together reflect the rich legacy and deep community that is BDF. Over our 35 years hundreds of dance artists from across the globe have found a creative home at BDF. Let’s move together to make this anniversary all it can be.

Why we need your help:

We want to mark this important anniversary with an unforgettable series of events that bring together some of America’s most recognized and beloved choreographers. We need your help to make this happen. Your gift along with other grants and ticket revenue will help cover artist fees totaling $106,000.

We have received generous grants from NEA, NEFA, and several foundations including our longtime funder, the Sequoia Foundation who has generously offered support in the form of a 1:1 match. That means your donation, in any amount, will be matched dollar for dollar if we can reach or exceed our campaign goal of $7500.

There are more than 7000 BDF alumni and if everyone gave just $5 we could easily surpass our goal and celebrate the incredible impact of BDF over the last 35 years.

Every gift will help us move toward our $7500 goal. We are asking our community to move together again in this video challenge. Make a video, make a donation of any amount ($5, $10, $25, $50, $100 or more), and join us in showing your support for the festival and it’s historic impact.

We exceeded our goal and raised:



Total backers: 121

View the over 20 videos that were submitted as part of the BDF Challenge.