Project Description

The Akronist – Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival brings world-class performances back to Akron parks


Residents of the City of Akron will enjoy professional dance performances in city parks again this year at no charge. The 43rd annual Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival marks the 10th season that the City of Akron has sponsored the event providing free-admission and high quality professional dance performances.

“There isn’t another community in the United States that has the tradition that Akron has established in presenting dance,” said former Mayor Jeff Fusco.  “To sustain something this important for 42 years makes a statement about Akron’s appreciation for the performing arts.”

New in 2016 is a shift in scheduling. For the first time, the festival will not coincide with Hardesty Park’s annual Akron Arts Expo. “Arts Expo has grown to the point where it is no longer practical to include the ballet on the same weekend,” said Dave Lieberth, the city’s coordinator for the arts programs. “We will be at Hardesty on a later weekend when both events can enjoy the full use of Hardesty’s facilities.” The 2016 season’s dates, companies, and locations include:

    • July 22 – 23 – Neos Dance Theater at Firestone Park.  The regional company has performed in over 10 states, with over 8 major symphonies, and has collected a repertoire of well-known international choreographers.  The company is committed to taking dance everywhere, breaking barriers with new audiences while maintaining their faithful audiences.
      July 29 – 30 – Verb Ballets at Hardesty Park.  The Cleveland-based company presents cutting edge choreography paired with classical balletic works that have moved audiences for decades.  The company is comprised of many Akron dancers and will perform a program containing several new works.
    • Aug 5 – 6 – GroundWorks Dance Theater at Glendale Cemetery.  The Akron-Cleveland company is nationally recognized for making a unique contribution to the art form and enriching human experiences through the creation of original contemporary dance. Organizers note that there is no parking inside the cemetery. Visitors may park outside in the lot across from the Main Gate or at marked parking lots on Exchange Street.
    • Aug 12 – 13 – Keigwin + Company at Goodyear Metro Park. The New York company presents Keigwin’s electrifying brand of contemporary dance.  K+ C reaches national and international audiences and invigorates diverse communities with a refreshing vision of dance that embodies a theatrical sensibility of wit, style, and heart.

All festival events will take place outside in the park beginning at 7:45 p.m. with The University Of Akron Dance Institute’s interactive program for young children. Dance performances begin at 8:45 p.m.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair, and plan a picnic before the show.

To learn more about the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival, go to

The City of Akron provides support for the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival and the Akron Symphony concerts.  The Dance Festival also receives support from the Ohio Arts Council, the John S. And James L. Knight Foundation, the GAR Foundation, and the Ohio Ballet Endowment of the Akron Community Foundation.  Significant support also comes from Friends of the Festival, individuals who have made contributions in Poll’s memory and in support of continuing the summer tradition.

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