From Mar. 10 through 12, Meredith College dancers will be attending the American College Dance Association (ACDA) Conference in Sweet Briar, Virginia. In 2019, Meredith College hosted the conference on campus for dancers to take classes and perform choreographed work. This is the first year that the program will attend the conference since then due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carol Finley, Head of the Department of Dance and Theatre and Professor of Dance, will be one of the faculty members attending ACDA with students. Finley said, “The American College Dance Association (ACDA) is a national not-for-profit organization created 50 years ago to promote community and collaboration among college dance students and faculty.” Finley also elaborated on how many colleges and dancers participate each year, saying that “the heart of the organization has grown to over 300 schools” and that “between 5,000 and 6,000 college dance students participate each year.”
Finley encourages dancers to attend: “At the conference, the students will take two to three technique classes each day from professors at other universities [and] they will see up to two choreographed works from each of the attending schools.” The dancers will also get to perform pieces choreographed by MC Dance alumni. Finley stated, “[students] will perform works by recent alumnae Annabel Lopez and Safa Salahaldeen, and they will receive feedback from three professional adjudicators.” She continued, “All of these activities enhance and support what they are learning here at Meredith College; and we hope they will return energized, full of new ideas and confident in who they are as humans who dance.”
Michaela Rehbein, ‘24, is attending ACDA this year. She said, “I am attending ACDA to further my dance education, learn more about dance as a career and spend time growing, learning and having fun with some of my closest friends.”
Hannah Smith, ‘26, said that she thinks the conference will provide “a good learning experience on what it will look like to dance in a professional setting [by] being able to learn from the different classes that the dancers will take. The students performing will also get a chance to learn how to do tech on a stage in a time crunch, learn how to adjust to a new stage quickly and receive feedback.”
This is the first time that ACDA is being held since 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions, and it also happens to be the 50th anniversary. Finley recounts, “All of the current dance faculty fondly remember participating as undergraduate and graduate students, and the annual trip has been an important part of the program since Professor Alyson Colwell-Waber created the dance major in 1987.” The conference has been beneficial to the dance program for decades. Students and faculty alike are extremely excited to return to ACDA this spring.
By Haileigh West, Opinion Editor