Stars on the Riverfront: ADT brings two nights of dance back to the amphitheater

·4 min read

Grab the family and get ready for joyful nights of outdoor dance in Montgomery.

Alabama Dance Theatre's annual Stars on the Riverfront is two free performance nights at Riverwalk Amphitheater on Sunday and Monday, designed for audiences of all ages.

"It's just a great environment," said Kate Seale Smith, ADT's artistic director.

This is a casual, relaxing audience experience on the green, where little kids often dance while watching the performers on stage.

"I was, when I was a child," said dancer Jane Abbie Alford. "I've grown up watching ADT since I was about 3 years old. I would be in the audience watching and dancing in front of the stage. It really did inspire me to keep going and keep growing in dance. Now, I'm up on that stage and seeing the other little girls dance in front of us."

Dances will be performed by ADT's Summer Intensive students, who have been through a two-week course taught by ADT faculty and special guest teachers.

"This year, it felt like my technique has really improved, and I'm a stronger dancer overall," said dance student Cameron Caldwell, who praised first-time guest master teacher Armando Luna.

"I'm having a great time getting to know them and their personalities," Luna said. "These lovely advanced dancers have a great attitude. They're committed. They're excited to work. They're eager to do the choreography and give it a chance."

Caldwell said the dancers have been very supportive of each other. "We all can lift each other up when we're doing something," he said.

Alford agrees. "I've formed all these connections with all these wonderful faculty and friends," she said.

Audience members may bring a picnic or enjoy one of the food trucks on site: Kona Ice, That’s My Dog, and Streetside Eats. Kona Ice is donating proceeds from the event to ADT’s Scholarship Endowment Fund.

On both days, gates will open at 6 p.m., with performances starting at 7:30 p.m. Bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Dancing outside is a little different than indoor shows. Caldwell said it's warmer, and the lights attract bugs to the stage.

"When you're on stage, you're rolling around on bugs sometimes," Caldwell said. "But overall, honestly, it's a nice experience."

Smith said she hopes audiences leave inspired, especially those who haven't experienced these kind of performances before.

Caldwell said audiences will see how hard the dancers have worked.

"We're doing this for ourselves and the viewers," he said.

About the performances

As always, ADT will open Stars on the Riverfront with "Études,' choreographed by late ADT founder Kitty Seale. It's staged by Valari Lagrone and Smith, with music by Josu Gallastegui and Mark Jelks.

"It's a tradition that my mom choreographed for the younger kids, to show their classroom work and what they've learned," Smith said. "The six other pieces are all choreographed and they're brand new original works."

After  "Études," performances continue with male dancers in "The Power of Three," Cameron Caldwell, Arrion Charlie Rollins and Emanuel Wood. Choreographed by Jenny Plunkett Letner,

Two music artists of Montgomery's ClefWorks partner with ADT for a solo dance by Savannah Golden in "Sine Qua Non." Cellists Lauren Peacock and Laura Usiskin will perform "Sonata No. 1 in E Minor Op:38: I. Allegro non troppo," composed by Bernhard Romberg. Choreography is by Sara Elyse Sanford in collaboration with Golden.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551" is the music behind "Jupiter," choreographed by Armando Luna. It is danced by Cameron Caldwell, Shannon McGaughey, Arrion Charlie Rollins, Celeste Herod, Emanuel Wood and Morgan Calhoun, with Jane Abbie Alford, Samantha Bell, Alexandria Brooks, Lyndsi Good, Ja’Niya Kennedy, Camilla Ohme, Lilla Kate Parkman and Molly Selman.

Alabama Dance Theatre guest instructor Armando Luna with some of the dancers who will be in Sunday and Monday's Stars of the Riverfront.
Alabama Dance Theatre guest instructor Armando Luna with some of the dancers who will be in Sunday and Monday's Stars of the Riverfront.

After a brief intermission, Stars on the Riverfront returns with "Disassembling," choreographed by Ashley McQueen. Dancers are Chloe Anderson, Martha Armstrong, Megan Ferguson, Lorennah Harding, Cecilia Hamell, Addison May, Caroline Ohme, Margie Anne Prescott, Georgia Vance.

"Deeply Rooted" is next, choreographed by Taylor Jordan and danced by Cameron Caldwell. It's set to the music "The Need To Be," composed by Daniel Bernard Roumain.

"It's a contemporary solo, really challenging," Smith said.

The finale "A Lady We All Know," choreographed by Sara Elyse Sanford in collaboration with her dancers: Jane Abbie Alford with Samantha Bell, Alexandria Brooks, Morgan Calhoun, Lyndsi Good, Celeste Herod, Ja’Niya Kennedy, Shannon McGaughey, Camilla Ohme, Lilla Kate Parkman, Molly Selman and Emanuel Wood,. It's set to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: ADT brings two nights of dance back to the amphitheater