Wake Forest Dance Festival

Dance Festival

2020 Wake Forest Dance Festival

Due to COVID-19, the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners (BOC) agreed to cancel all Town-sponsored events at least through October, including this year's Wake Forest Dance Festival. 

The decision to suspend these events was based on the unpredictability of the coronavirus, a desire to safeguard the health and safety of the community and an expectation that residents will not be allowed to gather safely in large groups for the foreseeable future. Currently, state law limits gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. 

Wake Forest Dance Festival is expected to resume in 2021.


The mission of the Wake Forest Dance Festival is to bring dance to the community and the community together through art of dance. In an annual free all day performance, the event presents works created by contemporary national and international choreographers, along with works of historical significance of American Classical and Modern Dance, while featuring international, national and regional artists along with local advanced rising students. The Festival strives: to enhance and nurture local dance students' artistic education by arranging masterclasses with the visiting dance artists; to offer unique opportunities for audiences to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for a variety of styles of dance; to increase cultural offerings available for residents and visitors of the Triangle area while making the Town of Wake Forest a destination for dance.

Event Details

The Wake Forest Dance Festival will begin with an educational Technical Rehearsal in the morning and culminate with a staged performance late in the afternoon.

The festival will feature regional, national and international professional dancers along with local rising advanced dance students. Genres will include classical ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz and world. Throughout the day, dancers will perform in different areas of the park.

Dance FestivalSchedule

9:30 am - Technical Rehearsal

The public is invited to observe the Technical Rehearsal on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 9:30 am-noon, a practice run through of the Festival Performance to be presented on stage in the early evening. Following the rehearsal, join us for a Q&A to gain a deeper understanding of the dance works. 

1 pm/2 pm/3 pm - Tour in Motion

A Tour in Motion is a guided walking tour, beginning at the top of each hour, with 4 locations presenting short site specific dance works, showcasing various dance styles in intimate outdoor settings throughout Joyner Park. This immersive experience will showcase works by Lindsay Winthrop (NC), Rebecca McCormac (NY), Zoe Walders (NY), and Claire Fisher (OH).

5-6:30 pm - Festival Performance

The Festival Performance will showcase works performed by student dancers of:

Wake Forest Academy of Fine Arts (Wake Forest, NC), Svasti Dance (Greensboro, NC), Barriskill Dance Theater School (Durham, NC), UNC Greensboro School of Dance, and a work by Emerging Choreographer Jordan Medley.

The event will culminate with performances by the featured guest artists:*

  • Helen Simoneau Danse will perform an excerpt from her newest work Darling, created by the acclaimed choreographer and founder of the company, Helen Simoneau. 

  • Dancers of Ailey II will be performing Ebb and Flow set to Samuel Barber’s most famous work, Adagio for Strings by Ailey II Artistic Director Troy Powell. This picturesque duet calls to mind the rush and calm of the ocean tide.

  • Laura Halzack and Michael Trusnovec, alumni of the internationally acclaimed Paul Taylor Dance Company, will perform Duet from Roses, created in 1985 by one of the most celebrated choreographers of American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor.

  • Marcelo Martinez and Lara O’Brien, principal dancers of Carolina Ballet will perform Meditation of Thais, a beloved work originally choreographed for these dancers by this year’s Festival Honoree, Robert Weiss.

  • African American Dance Ensemble will close the Festival Performance with a work choreographed by Ivy Burch performed to live African drumming.

*listed in show order


Volunteers are needed at the Wake Forest Dance Festival. To volunteer complete the online form.


Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources

Joyner Park Community Center
701 Harris Road
Wake Forest, NC 27587