New Non-Profit Taking Over Nantucket Dance Festival From Atheneum

Jason Graziadei •

Photo by Jean Celeste

After 15 years as one of the island’s signature summer events, the Nantucket Dance Festival will be returning this July under the direction a new non-profit - the Nantucket Dance Theater - as the event’s former sponsor, the Nantucket Atheneum, is preparing to unveil an alternative summer fundraiser.

The new Nantucket Dance Festival will be chaired by four women - all dancers themselves - including Nantucket residents Michelle Birmingham and Alison Barone, along with New York City ballerinas Lauren Lovette and Lauren King, who will serve as artistic directors. The event will bring dancers from all over the country to Nantucket to perform, featuring all styles of dance in addition to ballet. The festival will raise money to provide scholarships for local dancers to train on- and off-island, while also continuing to bring professional level dance to the island, Barone told the Current.

The 2023 Nantucket Dance Festival is scheduled for July 6th to July 8th, with its primary performance slated for the Mary P. Walker auditorium at Nantucket High School. Barone said “we are extremely grateful to have the support of the Atheneum behind us as we embark on our first festival - they generously donated their dance flooring and are delighted to continue to support dance on the island.”

Nantucket Atheneum executive director Ann Scott declined to comment other than to say the Atheneum would be making its announcement on the library’s replacement for the Dance Festival soon.

The Nantucket Dance Theater’s new website for the festival - - and an Instagram page - @ackdancefest - will go live today as the organizers begin the process of raising funds for the event. They will be announcing more information and introducing the featured dancers that will be performing on the island in the coming weeks.

The new Nantucket Dance Theater that will be running the festival aims to be “the island’s non-profit dance company that offers education and performance opportunities to students of all ages and aspirations and enriches the community through dance.”

It is affiliated with Birmingham’s The Dance Space studio, which opened last year on Teasdale Circle.

As Barone explained it, “the new Nantucket Dance Festival will be a fundraiser for Nantucket Dance Theater, which will help provide scholarships and opportunities for The Dance Space students and more.”

Since 2007, the Nantucket Dance Festival had served as the main fundraiser for the Atheneum library. The event organizers invited the best of ballet, including dancers, musicians, and choreographers, to the island for cultural programming and high caliber dance.

Stay tuned for more on this developing story…

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