ACDA's National College Dance Festival 2018

In recent years, Friends of Dance has been proud to support UMW students to attend the American College Dance Association’s National College Dance Festival in the spring. In 2018 we supported 13 students to attend the Festival with dance professor Roxann Rowley who has led UMW’s attendance each year.

This year we asked these students to share some of their experiences with us and we were delighted to hear of the growth and encouragement in dance that the Festival inspired. Below are some of their thoughts!


“I cannot even begin to thank you all enough. This was my first ever dance festival, away from home, staying in a strange place, talking to new people, navigating a new territory filled with other newcomers - the only tie between all of us was simply: to learn and explore dance. And I could not be happier. I learned volumes, to me what were completely unheard of dances and styles that challenged and forced the mind open in bizarre and unexpected ways. I learned, every hour of every day, for four days straight.” - Daniel Schaub, Computer Science Major, Minor in Musical Theatre

“Going to ACDA gave me the chance to see different kinds of dance from around the world and made me realize that I really want to explore more kinds of dance and learn more from the world and all the people in it. Most people need to learn a whole language to share stories and emotions with others, I am one of the lucky few who can do it with only my movement. “ - Isabelle Rohde

“All my life I have always been the dancer or performer but watching the different pieces at ACDA and noticing several dancers who actually choreographed pieces at the ACDA concerts made me realize how much I would like to become a choreographer. I have been in the process of looking for jobs with local dance studios for teacher/choreography positions so that I can hopefully start a career in choreography. As much as I want to continue dancing and performing, I also would love to be on the other side of dance and choreography.” - Tori Coniglio, Accounting Major


“My favorite class that I took at ACDA was Beyond the Steps: Ballet. It taught me that ballet can have feeling and it doesn’t have to be perfectly technical all the time. I’ve been doing ballet for 16 years, so that was a bit of a change for me, but I enjoyed that class so much. After taking it, I felt a lot more free when dancing, and not like I had to be perfect 100% of the time. Being with students from other colleges was a bit intimidating, because a lot of the other schools at the conference had well known dance programs and we don’t have one. I was a little spooked in some of the classes when everyone seemed like they were better than me, but I remembered that the entire experience is about learning, not just being the best in the room. I’m always reminding myself that I don’t have to be perfect, and that I just need to do my best. I’ve been to ACDA twice now, and being at the conference makes me want to keep dancing when I graduate, even if it isn’t professional. I want to keep dancing for fun because it makes me feel like me. Dance has always been there for me, and there’s nothing else that makes me feel so whole. The conference reminds me to keep doing it because I love it. Dance keeps me going when things are hard, and I don’t know where I would be without it. It has taught me a lot of discipline, but also that I need to take a step back sometimes and look at the big picture. Coming back to school after the conference reminds me to be all in when I’m at class or rehearsal, and to just do my best at everything.” - Meagan Morrison, Theatre Major, Musical Theatre and Arts Administration Minor

“Many (if not all) of the classes offered at ACDA are challenging and incredibly unique. The styles of dance that were offered taught me to get out of my comfort zone and to take a dance class I wouldn’t normally take.” - Elizabeth Rader, Theatre Major, Arts Administration Minor

Ballet & Beyond IV: February 25, 2017

Avery Ballet

Avery Ballet

Bowen McCauley Dance

Bowen McCauley Dance

On Saturday, February 25, 2017, the Friends of Dance will join many arts patrons in the Fredericksburg area for a concert at the University of Mary Washington to benefit the scholarships in dance at the university. The evening will feature performances by Avery Ballet and Bowen McCauley Dance, in addition to local music students who competed in this year's Fredericksburg Festival for the Performing Arts. First place instrumentalist Brianna Fiegl will play the violin, top vocalist Sophie Amelia will sing, and finalist Max Yarrow will play the tuba. 

Bowen McCauley Dance is the DC Metro Area's premier contemporary dance company, creatively driven and founded by Lucy Bowen McCauley in 1996. BMD will present two works in the evening's performance, including an environmental statement piece commissioned by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Preceding the evening's performance, Ms. Bowen McCauley will lead a masterclass for UMW students and the community in the dance studios on campus. 

Max Yarrow, tuba

Max Yarrow, tuba

Avery Ballet was established in 1995 as a collaborative between Lisa Snape Avery and Sonja Dragomanovic Haydar, of whom one of the scholarships in dance at UMW is named for and therefore directly benefits from the proceeds of this performance. Avery Ballet offers a challenging training program in ballet and many other styles of dance that prepares students for professional careers nationally and internationally. Ballet & Beyond IV will feature works performed by a select group of dancers from the school. 

Max Yarrow is a tubist and a senior at Orange County High School, he performs with the University of Mary Washington's Philharmonic, was accepted into the Trombone, Tuba and Euphonium Institute's Summer Camp at Interlochen in 2016, and was a finalist in the ArtsLIVE! 14th Annual Young Artists Competition this year. 

Brianna Fiegl, violin

Brianna Fiegl, violin



Brianna Fiegl is a home-schooled senior and full time community college student, and will perform in the Fredericksburg Festival for the Performing Arts/ArtsLIVE! 30th Annual Chamber Music Festival as a winner of this year's Young Artists Competition. 

Sophie Amelia is a soprano, a current senior at Chancellor High School, and will attend New York University for a BM in vocal performance in the fall. Sophie has participated in many musical theatre productions, some of her favorite roles including Cosette in Les Misérables, Sandra Bloom in Big Fish, and Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She has been recognized in ACDA district, state, and national choirs, as well as being awarded Top Vocalist in FFPA’s Young Artist Competition. 

The performance will be in Dodd Auditorium in George Washington Hall on the University of Mary Washington's Fredericksburg campus. The house will open at 7:00 pm and the performance will begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at the Fredericksburg Visitor's Center, Avery Ballet Studio, and the Dancer's Wardrobe for $15, and at the door of the performance for $17. Students with ID and children will be admitted for $5. Contact for more information. 

Spring Dance Concerts at UMW

This spring, join us in Dodd Auditorium for an evening (or two!) of dance.

Performed, choreographed, and run by students, the Performing Arts Club (PAC) produces two dance concerts per semester: one in the middle and one at the end. Each performance sometimes incorporates alumni and UMW dance professors, both of which are included this spring.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Doors 7:30 pm, Performance 8:00 pm
Tickets: FREE


Saturday, April 9, 2016
Doors 7:00 pm, Performance 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Doors 12:30 pm, Performance 1:00 pm
Tickets: $3-$5, available in the Eagles Nest or at the door

Dance at UMW extends beyond the campus and into the Fredericksburg community with it's rich history of professors and alumni. Hosted by Avery Ballet, Ballet and Beyond III is in support of the brand new scholarship in honor of Vicky Wilder and Florance Ridderhof. Avery Ballet is a ballet school in downtown Fredericksburg, founded and directed by Lisa Avery, a longtime friend and colleague of Sonja D. Haydar (another influential woman in the history of dance at UMW).


Saturday, April 16, 2016
Doors 7:00 pm, Performance 7:30 pm
Tickets: $15, available at Avery BalletFredericksburg Visitor's CenterThe Dancers Wardrobe


All performances are held in Dodd Auditorium, in George Washington Hall, at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

A New Scholarship In Dance at UMW

Since 1993, the Friends of Dance has awarded over $30,000 in dance scholarships to students at Mary Washington to honor two former dance professors at the college, Claudia Moore Read and Sonja Dragomanovic Haydar. These women shaped the beloved dance department at the college, now university, and their legacy continues to extend beyond their students and peers into the lives of current dance students at UMW. We are proud to announce a third scholarship in the name of two women who continue to prove their dedication to the study of dance at the University of Mary Washington:

Florence Ridderhof (MWC '50) and Vicky Wilder (MWC '80).

These women are exceptionally dedicated to the continuity of dance and it's legacy at the University of Mary Washington, and we are so excited to announce a scholarship in their names to honor and celebrate their work!

To contribute to the Wilder/Ridderhof scholarship fund, you may call the Foundation office at (540) 654-2060, or send a check with a memo line of "Wilder/Ridderhof Scholarship in Dance" to:

UMW Foundation
1119 Hanover Street
Fredericksburg, VA 22401-5412

Master Class: Scott Putman

This Sunday, Friends of Dance brings a dancer from the Richmond, VA community to UMW. Scott Putman is an Associate Professor in dance and choreography at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the founder and Artistic Director of Amaranth Contemporary Dance. His creation of the Elemental Body Alignment System (EBAS)  is a series of exercises designed to activate intrinsic musculature for greater structural and kinetic efficiency, which he utilizes in his choreography and teaching techniques.

Students can expect a 1.5 hour class of technical training and strength building to improve the dancer's body as it moves through space. 

Date: Sunday, October 25, 2015
Check in: 2:15 pm
Time: 2:30-4:00 pm
Cost: $7 (cash or EagleOne accepted)

More about Scott Putman at VCU >>
More about Amaranth Contemporary Dance >>


Join us for the event on facebook >>

UMW Dance attends American College Dance Association’s New England Conference

Dance faculty member Roxann Morgan Rowley and four students, Lauren Armstrong, Covenant Babatunde, Maria Joranko, and Mason Prince from the University of Mary Washington dance department attended American College Dance Association’s New England Conference March 11-14, 2015 at Rhode Island College in Providence RI. The festival provides the opportunity for faculty and students to participate in workshops, classes, performances and lectures all geared to compliment dance and arts education.

“The national dance festival provides the venue for students and faculty to engage in three days of performances, workshops, panels, and master classes taught by instructors from around the region and country. The conferences also provide the unique opportunity for students and faculty to have their dance works adjudicated by a panel of nationally recognized dance professionals in an open and constructive forum.”

ACDA is a way for the university students to broaden their perceptions, grow intellectually and further their knowledge of dance outside UMW’s Institutional setting. This festival offers both faculty and students the opportunity to be exposed to other University environments and see the value of diversity in dance.

Ms. Rowley taught/presented three dance classes, two modern technique and a contact improvisation class. Along with presenting work, she was able to participate in classes and workshops given throughout the conference, as well as meet and connect with other faculty within the field.

UMW students participated in a variety of enriching classes including classes taught by the three highly acclaimed adjudicators for the conference, Ilana Goldman, Larry Keigwin and David Parker, as well as improvisation, modern technique, jazz, yoga, conditioning and belly dance. Students also attended; Keigwin and Company Dance Concert opening the conference, 5 adjudicated concerts with works presented from University and Colleges attending the conference and the Adjudicators’ Reflection Session where students were able to ask artistic and academic questions to the adjudicators.

Ms. Rowley’s work “Blink,” and Covenant Babtunde’s work “Juxtaposed” were among many adjudicated works at the conference.  Each piece received  clear and thoughtful feedback from a panel of adjudicators. Babtunde’s work was described as a “clear narrative of a relationship with risk taking partnering and clear physical intention.”  Rowley’s work was described as “the space between with a strong tone and ritual like movement.” Both works were well received and presented this past spring in the UMW Faculty and Student Dance Concert. 

The University of Mary Washington has a growing dance culture on campus, with the number of students that participate in the dance clubs and activities on campus growing in attendance each year. By attending The American College Dance Association Conference, UMW’s dance culture was represented and will add to it’s development academically and artistically. Participation in the conference is great exposure for UMW and also helps to enrich the diverse culture surrounding the art form on campus.

Attendance to The American College Dance Association’s conference was largely due to the generous support from University of Mary Washington’s Friends of Dance Alumni Association, The University of Mary Washington Faculty Development Supplemental Grant and University of Mary Washington Student Research Grant.

Spring Dance Concerts at UMW

As spring finally begins to bloom on campus, many dance students continue to put the finishing touches on their dances for upcoming performances. Between the students, dance professors, alumni, and Fredericksburg dance community, UMW has plenty to offer in Dodd Auditorium in the next few months.

Faculty and Student Dance Concert

April 11-12, Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm
Tickets: $10 general, $3 students, available at the door
Go to the Facebook Event page >

The Faculty and Student Dance Concert features choreography by dance professors Roxann Rowley and Beverly Mendez, Jess Bergess of RVA Dance Collective, Next Reflex Dance Company (Northern, VA), Dance Matrix Dance Company (Fredericksburg, VA), UMW alumni, and current students. Compiled by Mendez and Rowley, the dances presented in this concert are selected by demonstration of artistry and a commitment to the dance community in Fredericksburg and Virginia. Each of the dances choreographed by current students were selected from a preliminary student showing in Dodd at the end of February or at the American College Dance Festival at the beginning of March, were then critiqued and improved upon, and are final presentations of these works. 

Performing Arts Club (PAC) Spring Big Show

April 18-19, Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm
Tickets: $5 general, $3 with student ID, available at the door
Go to the UMW PAC Facebook Page >

The Performing Arts Club presents the final of four dance concerts for the 2014-2015 academic year. This semester, each dance is choreographed by students or alumni of the club, and features a variety of styles including tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and hip hop. PAC is run by students, for students, and focuses on the growth and creativity of dance within the student body. The organization was founded by dance students after the discontinuation of the dance major at MWC in the '90s, and is the largest body of dancers on the UMW campus.

Ballet and Beyond II

June 6, Saturday at 7:30 pm
Tickets: $15, available at Fredericksburg Visitors Center, Dancer's Wardrobe, Avery Ballet
Go to the Facebook Event page > 

In June of 2012, Avery Ballet, Dance Matrix Dance Company, and the Friends of Dance at UMW supported a dance concert, Ballet and Beyond, in Dodd Auditorium. This performance brought the Fredericksburg dance community together for an evening of dance, and in June of 2015 will bring a broader variety of dance and music to the stage. This year's performance will feature the Beth Elliott Dance Group, Jenn Ruhl Kubilus and the J. Dance Kollective, Kori Terrell, Melissa Morneault, and Avery Ballet, in addition to other performers, and will also celebrate local musicians Sophie Horn, Robyn Bauer, and Riana Chann. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the dance scholarships, awarded each fall to current UMW dance students, presented by the Friends of Dance. 

Scholarships for 2014-2015

The dance scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year are now available on the UMW Financial Aid website. Current full time students who participate in dance classes, clubs, and/or companies at UMW are encouraged to apply. The Friends of Dance offer two scholarships every fall to honor Mary Washington College professors Claudia Moore Read and Sonja Dragomanovic Haydar, who helped to form the dance department at the college, now university.

Important information for applicants:

  • Applications are available on the UMW Financial Aid website
  • Applications are due October 17th, 2014
  • All applications should be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid online to
  • Interviews for each applicant will be held during the week prior to the Performing Arts Club fall dance concert, the week of November 16th - 21st
  • Scholarships will be awarded at intermission during the Performing Arts Club fall dance concert on Saturday, November 22nd

If you have any questions about the application process or the scholarships in general, please contact us.

Dancing with the Fredericksburg Stars Is Back!

As fall calendars begin to fill up, especially for those who love the arts, plan to be in Fredericksburg on Saturday, October 11th. Better yet, plan to be in Dodd Auditorium at the University of Mary Washington at 7:00 pm for the second Dancing with the Fredericksburg Stars fundraiser!

Just last year, the performing arts community in Fredericksburg and at the University of Mary Washington banded together to endow a brand new scholarship in the performing arts. This scholarship is exclusive to students in the greater Fredericksburg community who plan to study music, theatre, and/or dance in college, and to encourage these students to take advantage of the excellent arts programs at UMW.

This year, the Friends of Dance's own Florence Ridderhof will be one of the competing stars in the competition that will be hosted by former Washington Redskin's quarterback Darrell Green. Mrs. Ridderhof and nine other contestants will train with Strictly Ballroom Dance Studio for the event and compete for many awards, including the People's Choice Award chosen by the audience.

The University of Mary Washington has a bustling community of artists and art enthusiasts; join us in supporting arts education in Fredericksburg!

Purchase tickets >
Join us in attendance on Facebook >

2014 American College Dance Festival Press Release

University of Mary Washington Dance Students
Attend the 2014 American College Dance Festival
March 8-11, 2014
George Mason University 

The University of Mary Washington Theater and Dance Department will be represented by eight dance students and two faculty members at The American College Dance Festival, March 8-11, 2014 at George Mason University. The festival provides an amazing opportunity for students to participate in workshops, classes, performances and lectures all geared to compliment their dance and arts education. 

“The national dance festival provides the venue for students and faculty to engage in three days of performances, workshops, panels, and master classes taught by instructors from around the region and country. The conferences also provide the unique opportunity for students and faculty to have their dance works adjudicated by a panel of nationally recognized dance professionals in an open and constructive forum.”

Along with dance/movement classes and workshops students will have the opportunity to see the Joffery Ballet at the Center for the Arts as well as “Imagine…a life in Dance” facilitated by Robert Battle - Artistic Director for Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Charlotte d'Amboise - actress and dancer, Deborah Jowitt - dance critic, author, and choreographer, Elizabeth Streb - STREB Company COMPANY and Ashley Wheater - artistic director of The Joffrey Ballet. 

UMW theater and dance student, Covenant Babatunde’s choreographic work “Grave Silence” was selected to be presented in the Informal Concert during the conference, performed by students Lauren Armstrong, Sarah Joy Calpo, Mason Prince, and Edward Yates. 

Dance faculty members Beverly Mendez and Roxann Morgan Rowley will teach during the conference; Ms. Mendez explores improvisation techniques through “Discovering Creativity through Improvisation” and Roxann Morgan Rowley will be teach “Contact Improvisation, Evaluating Touch.”

Attendance of The American College Dance Festival was largely due to the generous support from University of Mary Washington’s Friends of Dance Alumni Association who granted funds to support student and faculty attendance.


Scholarship Application Available

We are now accepting scholarship applications for the 2013-2014 Claudia Moore Read Dance Scholarship and the 2013-2014 Sonja Dragomanovic Haydar Dance Scholarship. Two recipients will be selected by the Friends of Dance in consultation with the dance faculty and the Associate Dean for Financial Aid. The selection of the recipients is based on the following:

  • The recipient must be a full time degree-seeking student in good academic standing (2.5 GPA or higher).
  • The recipient must make outstanding contributions to the UMW Dance Company/Performing Arts Club. We consider the quality of performance and choreography, in addition to participation in dance in the Fredericksburg community. 
  • The recipient must excel in the study of dance at UMW. We encourage enrollment in dance classes offered by dance faculty at UMW. 
  • The recipient may demonstrate the desire to utilize dance after graduation in graduate study.

We will invite applicants for informal interviews in GW Hall during tech week rehearsals. We carefully consider the quality of expression in the essay and the interview.

The twenty-first annual presentation of the UMW Scholarships in Dance will be on Saturday, November 23, 2013, in Dodd Auditorium at the Performing Arts Club concert.

Both the Haydar and Read scholarships are each a $1100 award.

Please submit your application online by October 20th, 2013.  You may find the application on the UMW financial aid website scholarship announcement page by selecting the blue link "2013-14 Scholarship Opportunities." The Friends of Dance scholarship application is on the final two pages in the document.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us!


Dancing With The Fredericksburg Stars

Suzi Bevan and Vicky Wilder

You knew the minute you walked into Dodd Auditorium and saw the twinkling of the mirror ball, that it was going to be a humdinger of a show.  The audience hurried down the aisles, signs and placards in hand ready to cheer for their favorite "Star"... and cheer they did!  When each dancer was introduced and came shimmying and cavorting down the aisle the whole place erupted in a whistling, clapping, hooting and hollering greeting!


The three judges were introduced along with the Master and Mistress of Ceremonies and away we went!

Each number was beautifully choreographed by the professional dancers, Michael and Melissa Scott, owners of the Strictly Ballroom Dance Studio, and Tiffany Kelly.   Every dance was suited to the strengths and sometimes comic antics of the 9 Fredericksburg Stars (Melanie Kay-Wyatt, Bill Young, Rick Hurley, Marty Bass, Mary Katherine Greenlaw,  Fred Rankin, Susan Spears, Richmond McDaniel, Ellen Killough). Each dancer was received with much applause, and some with hysterical laughter at the swaggering antics and dance moves of the gentlemen.  The ladies costumes were sparkling and suited each lady to a "T". 

The judges were delightful, adding insight to the dances that were performed and giving each dance positive feedback which was appreciated by the audience as well as the dancers who gave it their all!

After a brief intermission, a new artfully and well done video, titled Arts 4 the Community and starring our very own  Rebecca Lallande, was shown extolling the need for, and positive influence the arts have in our lives.

The show concluded with a swing dance by the Strictly Ballroom Performance Team, and professional performances of a foxtrot and bolero by Michael and Melissa, owners of Strictly Ballroom.  During the presentation of awards, each dancer received a trophy for fanciest footwork, best costume, most rhythmical, most amazing move,  most entertaining, most flare, best posture, or most spirited.  The coveted mirror ball trophy for Best in Show went to Ellen Killough.

Guests then were treated to a champagne reception under the stars with more dancing (this time by anyone who cared to trip the light fantastic).  The highlight of the evening was the announcement and presentation of The People’s Choice Award that went to our very own Mary Katherine Greenlaw.  The entire evening was a rousing success, raising enough money to endow a scholarship for a local UMW student to study the performing arts.

Delicious desserts, dancing, chatting with the "stars" and congratulations all 'round concluded the evening.  The rain held off until everyone was back home - a perfect ending to a perfectly glorious night.


The UMW Performing Arts Club Presents "Beyond Reach"

The UMW PAC dance concert opened with a hypnotizing contemporary dance composed of sharp movements and captivating visuals. As Imagine Dragon's "Radioactive" played over the speakers in Dodd Auditorium, audience members began a journey through eighteen diverse dances choreographed by UMW students and alumni. The variety in dance styles and music offered a dance concert that showcased every dance style that one could ask for: contemporary, modern, jazz, tap, musical theatre, ballet, pointe, and even multiple kinds of hip hop.

UMW PAC dancers gather for an audition day at the beginning of each semester and meet weekly with choreographers to master choreography and style for about 2 1/2 months. The result is the bi-annual "Big Show" dance concert that showcases individuality, creativity, and techniqueAfter a week of tech rehearsals in Dodd Auditorium in George Washington Hall, PAC dancers perform their hard work on stage with the accompaniment of Dodd Auditorium's facilities and lighting designers. Dancers often refer to tech week as "the second most wonderful time of the year" (as the holidays are the first), and when he curtains close after the last performance, dancers already begin to anticipate what the next semester will bring.

You can stay updated with the Performing Arts Club on their blogsite.

Choreography Workshop at UMW


Intention, Ownership, Consumer, Tools, Translate. These were the five bullets of thought that Friends of Dance guest artist and instructor Jennifer Green Flint covered in her discussion on choreography this past Sunday afternoon. The Friends of Dance had the pleasure of joining 15 current UMW dance students for a wonderful choreography workshop with the former MWC dance scholar. Jennifer graduated in 1995 with one of the last B.A. Dance degrees from Mary Washington College and currently works at Shenandoah University after receiving an M.A. Arts Administration from SU, and is currently working on her PhD at the school. The Friends of Dance spoke with her after our 20th Anniversary of Dance Scholarships celebration in November, and are thankful that she was able to come and host a workshop with current Performing Arts Club (PAC) choreographers!

The workshop began with a short introduction of each dancer's names, majors, and prospective graduation years before jumping into guidance of how to articulate choreographic choices and interpretations. While her usual time frame for the choreography material is one full semester, she managed to lead discussion on key concepts, teach a 30 second phrase of movement, allow 10 minutes for each dancer to manipulate the phrase, followed by a few presentations of manipulated phrases, and leave 15 minutes for questions on her career and life as a dancer and arts administrator.

The two hour workshop offered the current Performing Arts Club (PAC) students vital information about how to process, understand, and execute choreography for the upcoming dance concert on March 29th and 30th. With one-on-one instruction and guidance in addition to leading group discussions, she embedded a creative curiosity in the students that most will continue to use in future artistic endeavors beyond this semester's upcoming dance concert. Most of the present student choreographers were seniors and preparing for graduation, but the discussion of "who owns this choreography?" and "why bother?" will enter into the common dance dialogue of the student run club. The ideas and benefits of the workshop will undoubtedly surpass the ears of the attendees and will extend to the larger club for semesters to come.