With a mission to bring dance to the Lilac City, the LILA Dance Festival will return to Rochester Common for an exciting weekend of free outdoor performances and activities on Friday, August 26th and Saturday, August 27th.
Founded in 2021, the LILA Dance Festival is an annual summer dance event in Rochester, NH showcasing local and regional professional dancers and artists, studios, and guest choreographers. The festival aims to “provide an accessible and collaborative format to foster and showcase the artistic expression of local professional dancers and choreographers, to create a tangible experience for aspiring students to visualize their future careers, and to engage new audiences to experience live dance.”
“We bring dance closer to the community in a wonderful outdoor performance experience,” co-founder, dancer, and Rochester resident Elyssa Bigos explains. “As the arts continue to grow in the Seacoast and the surrounding area, we want LILA to showcase and bring together regional dancers and performers, and bring professional dance to our community.”
This year’s exciting lineup features two evening performances by dance companies and choreographers from New Hampshire, Maine, Boston, and New York, including Annex Contemporary Dance Company, Anthony Bounphankhom, Ballet Misha, Demeo Dance, Fukudance, North Atlantic Ballet, Northeastern Ballet Theatre, NSquared Dance, and Susan Endrizzi. In addition, LILA dancers will have the opportunity to work with guest choreographers Maxine Steinman and Colin Heininger. Heininger is a current company member and company coordinator of the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company in New York City, and Steinman, former dancer and director of the LINKS Project for the Jose Limón Dance Company, has performed and choreographed internationally and teaches at Montclair State University. Both NYC-based choreographers will be in residence this month, setting work on the dancers in the weeks leading up to the festival.
With a focus on community engagement, this year’s festival will feature local vendors and food trucks on both days, as well as special performances and activities designed especially for families on Saturday afternoon. For the youngest of dance enthusiasts, the “Fairytales & Tutus” performance at 2pm will offer the chance to dance along with the Lilac Fairy from the ballet Sleeping Beauty and meet their favorite fairytale princesses and characters. Afterward, Portsmouth’s Block Collaborative will be presenting a special breakdancing workshop. The Student Showcase, featuring dancers from local studios begins at 4pm, and will be followed by an exciting aerial presentation at 5:30pm. Company performances each evening begin at 7pm.
The LILA Dance Festival at the Rochester Commons is a special end-of-summer dance event that is not to be missed. Performances are free and begin at 7pm on Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27, with family activities and student showcases Saturday afternoon starting at 2pm. Bring a chair or blanket. For more information and the complete 2022 schedule, click here.