Whether you’re watching or participating, PVDFest offers some amazing opportunities to experience a world of dance. From ballet to bachata to an illuminated spectacle from Pilobolus, your feet will be moving at the festival. Here are just a few highlights:

PVDFest wants YOU to help assist our Guinness World Record Attempt for the Most People Dancing a Choreographed Bachata. Instructors Carlos Gonzales (Mambo Pa Ti) and Martin Rivera-Baldera of FusionCultureRI & Studio One RI will be there to teach you the steps. Sign up here and visit our Facebook event for a quick tutorial.

The biggest day of PVDFest kicks off at noon. Debo Band are a large band making their own spin on Ethiopian pop music. They’ll be joined by Rhode Island’s own rhythm king, Malian drummer Sidy Maiga. After a few songs you’ll find yourself dancing in the street. Stick around until evening, because Maiga will return later with his own band Afrimanding.

Fans of contemporary dance will want to check out 10 Tiny Dances, an exciting dance event curated by Ali Kenner Brodsky that challenges choreographers to create and perform a piece a on a 4×4 stage, 18 inches off the ground. The confined space requires artists to manipulate their movement and allows audiences to get close to the dancers.

In Burnside Park, Eastern Medicine Singers will perform “Drums and Music of the Americas,” an event featuring traditional and contemporary music of Native People and heartland traditional folk and rhythm roots music, as well as individual artists and cross-cultural collaborators. Audiences are invited to engage with percussion instruments for this magnificent joining of drums, song, and dance.

On Saturday night Pilobolus presents The Umbrella Project, giving volunteer performers three chances to experience the magic of interaction. Illuminated color-changing LED umbrellas will light up the night as festival attendees make their way through the crowd.


The festival continues Sunday! Providence Ballet Theatre will present dynamic original works filled with fun, light-hearted movements. Dancers and choreographers will mix the challenging with the accessible while exploring physicality, musicality and poetry in motion.

On Saturday and Sunday, a number of local companies will also be performing on stages spread throughout the festival. Keep an eye out for groups like the Kelly Irish Dancers, Bollywood Fusion & Fitness, Beledi Dance Company, and Blue Moon Tribal Bellydance.

lead photo: Erin X. Smithers