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