43 years of Free Summer Dance Performances

The Annual Heinz Poll Dance Festival
Sunday Symphonies extended weekend arts experience

Summer Dance

(Akron, Ohio. April 15, 2015) Residents of the City of Akron will enjoy professional dance performances in city parks at no charge again this year thanks to support from the City of Akron and local foundations

“We know of no other community in the United States that has this tradition,” said former Mayor Don Plusquellic.  “To sustain this iconic cultural event for over 40 years makes a statement about Akron’s appreciation for the performing arts.”


The 2016 Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival is the 10th season that the City of Akron has sponsored free-admission high quality professional dance performances.  This summer the festival features the nationally-known Keigwin + Company of New York City, New York, a contemporary dance company that invigorates diverse communities with a refreshing vision of dance, embodying a theatrical sensibility of wit, style, and heart.

“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, Hardesty Park’s annual Akron Arts Expo did not feature dance during its long weekend of arts activities.  “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 dance program at each park begins at 8:45pm on Friday and Saturday evenings, with the children’s program starting at 7:45pm each night.  Dates, companies, and locations for the 2016 season:

  • 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!  Program TBA
  • 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 in comprised of many Akron dancers and will perform a program containing several new works.  Program TBA
  • 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. Program TBA
  • 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. Program TBA