Eight student dancers attended the American College Dance Association (ACDA) southeast conference in Milledgeville, Ga., last weekend. The association's annual, regional conferences support dance programs in higher education by spotlighting different approaches to-and work within-the study of dance.
The group, which included Hannah McMillan '15, Hannah Grace Heartfield '16, Anne Oppenheimer '16, Luke Smith '16, Nora Wartan '16, Kristen Koehler '17, Stephanie Momot '17 and Caroline New '17, performed three student-choreographed pieces: one by McMillan, one by New and one by Koehler, and members also participated in multiple dance classes and workshops covering a diverse range of genres and topics.
Oppenheimer '16 has participated in the ACDA conference for the last three years, and loves that each year is completely different. "Each year I learn new movement, techniques and skills," she said. "The trip is also a great bonding experience for all the members who go. I always come back feeling that I've grown closer to each member."
Dance Prof. Alison Bory plans a trip for students to the ACDA each year because she believes there is great value in providing students with the opportunity to see what their colleagues in other college programs are doing, to receive feedback on their work, and of course, to perform for other dance students and professionals.
As part of their participation in the conference, students perform pieces that are judged anonymously buy adjudicators from different dance backgrounds.
"It's so useful for the students to hear people talk about their work," Bory said. She attended the ACDA conference herself as an undergraduate student and remembers what a wonderful experience it was for her as an artist and a student.
"Attending ACDA was an amazing experience," Smith '16 said. "It was so great to be surrounded by dancers from other schools who care so much about the art form and for whom dance plays a significant role in their life."
Smith said his favorite class was Modern Floor and Inversions, taught by Ross Daniel, a graduate student at Florida State University. Classes ranged from Hip Hop to Modern Dance to Yoga.
"This sort of conference is a way the field can be forwarded," Bory said, and she hopes to bring another group of students next year.