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.