Art Beat: Wellspring's RAD Fest

Feb 28, 2019

A performance of "Millennials"
Credit Amelia Falk / Wellspring Cori Terry & Dancers

The Midwest RAD Fest is hosted and supported by southwest Michigan’s oldest professional dance company, Wellspring Cory Terry & Dancers. RAD stands for Regional Alternative Dance. It’s a juried event at the Epic Center in Kalamazoo featuring the best in modern, post-modern, and contemporary dance.


Rachel Miller is the curator of the RAD Fest, which will take place this year March 6-10.

“Wellspring as a company was founded close to 40 years ago by founder and artistic director Cori Terry,” Miller says. “She moved here from New York and was a guest teaching artist at Western Michigan University and ended up forming the company then.”

This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the RAD Fest. It includes performances, master classes, lectures, discussion panels, workshops, and networking events. More than 50 dancers from around the world will perform. Eight live performances will include site- specific works, and there will also be a program for longer dance works, four short works programs, a youth performance, and “Becoming Mary,” a family-friendly performance. An opening night celebration will take place at the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts on March 6.

"Souls That Never Meet"
Credit Amelia Falk / Wellspring Cori Terry & Dancers

“The RAD Fest has expanded every year,” Miller says. “We attract more artists and every single year we attract more audience members. Ten years ago, Wellspring decided to make a change. They were doing something called the dance forum, where local artists and choreographers could come and perform over a weekend. It was hard for artists to do because they had to perform three times. They had to find housing and get into tech rehearsals — it was really difficult. So they made the change to be the RAD Fest.”

Wellspring sent out the call for choreograph submissions across the country. Miller says that, “really changed the game. This year we received more than 250 submissions.”

Miller puts together a panel of judges that includes dance professionals who help her sort through the submissions and choose those that will appear at the Fest. Categories also include screen dance submissions of works meant to be performed on camera.

After working on the RAD Fest for ten years, Miller says she’s developed a personal favorite: solo works. “The solos are usually very personal. They might be about identity, or past experiences, or current events, so for some reason, to me, they feel more emotional.”

Tickets or package passes to RAD Fest events can be purchased online through March 4. For more information, call (269) 342-4354.

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