The Built on Stilts Community Dance Festival celebrates its 12th year with seven nights of free performances August 15 to 19, 23 and 24 at the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs.

What began in 1997 as a one-night concert featuring the work of seven dance choreographers has since ballooned into a week-long extravaganza reflecting the Island’s remarkable artistic spirit. It now programs dance, theater, spoken-word, comedy, music and more conceived by over 40 groups from near and far representing a broad array of styles by performers of all ages. The festival’s all-inclusive philosophy has attracted an enormous range of choreographic sophistication and technical ability, defining Built on Stilts by its collective energy and creative output, as a home in which professional participants are free to experiment and fledgling performers can discover the joy of making dances.

Drum Circle begins at 7:30 p.m. (All acoustic musicians are invited to join in.) Dance performances begin at 8. The program is different each night. As ever, the shows are free to the public and audiences many come and go as they please. Donations are encouraged. No reservations necessary.

In the event that Oak Bluffs Fireworks are postposed to August 23, that night’s show will begin at 6.

This year’s festival features the work of Marta Azzollini; Emma Hastings and Augusta Dillon; Rhonda Backus; Abby Bender Schmantze Theatre; Bemoved Dance Company/Sara Farley; Bob Buckley; Tom Carberry and Janet Holladay/Swing Club; Marlon Carey and Christopher Johnson; Tom X. Chao; Bess Child; Corinne deLangavant; Katie Federowicz; Rebecca Ann Frank; Crystal Gipe; Marisa Gruneberg/white road Dance Media; Evan Hall; Laura Sargent Hall; Naomi Goldberg Haas/Dances For A Variable Population; Marci (Selena) Johnson; Roberta Kirn; Kenneth Lang; Paul Lazes; Devon Lodge; Carol Loud; Kellie Ann Lynch/slipperyfish dance; Alexis Major; Jil Matrisciano/She-Figured Dance and Christina Belinsky/RISE; Vineyard Performing Arts; Christi Mueller; noenarchdance; Elias Orling; Phaedra/Vineyard Belly Dance and Revue; Samantha Rabin and Anna Markwica; Refractions Dance Collective/Charmy Wells and Sarah Donnelly;, Leanne Schmidt & Company; Saskia Vanderhoop; Julie Whitehill; the Zumba and Belly Dance Classes at The Vineyard Tennis Center, Workout and Spa; and Bulit on Stilt’s children’s and teens choreography workshops, Stiltshop and Advancedshop.