The American College Dance Festival
The Muhlenberg Dance Program participates each year in the Regional Festival of the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA). ACDFA is the only national organization dedicated to fostering artistic excellence in dance choreography and performance in higher education. The Association meets in ten regional conferences across the nation for classes, workshops, and performances.
The centerpiece of each conference is a series of Adjudicated Concerts: each participating college or university may send one or two dance works for blind adjudication by nationally recognized dance professionals. Forty to fifty works are seen at each conference, and of those works about a dozen are chosen for the Gala Concert based on excellence in choreography and performance. On alternate years, ACDFA holds a National Festival.
Muhlenberg Dancers at ACDFA
Muhlenberg dancers have enjoyed great success at the festivals, with dances selected for presentation at four biannual national conference since 2002, and at every regional Gala Concert. Here's the list of recent accomplishments (National Festival years in bold):
- 2011: Muhlenberg hosted more than 550 dancers from 23 institutions for the Northeast Conference. "We'll Prey for Her," choreographed by Ashley Sleeth '11, and "Kinetic Commotion," choreographed by faculty member Shelley Oliver, were selected for the Gala Concert from 37 works adjudicated.
- 2010: "Rite," choreographed by Associate Professor Charles O. Anderson, was selected for national presentation at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
- 2009: "(in)decision," choreographed by Dana McGowan '10, and "Before They Fall," choreographed by guest artist Meredith Rainey, were selected for the Gala Concert from 48 works adjudicated.
- 2008: "evidence of things (un)said," choreographed by Assistant Professor Charles O. Anderson, was selected for the Mid-Atlantic Gala Concert and was one of only 30 works from across the nation selected for presentation at the National Festival in New York City in June.
- 2007: Chris Shepard '07 and Kate Thompson '07 earned top honors at the Northeast Conference. Theirs were two of just ten performances selected for the conference's Gala Concert. Muhlenberg was the only school to have both submitted works selected for the Gala and both pieces were choreographed by students.
- 2006: "Tango X Three," choreographed by Erica Cenci, Kara Senich, and Adam Reich, all from the Class of 2006, was selected for the gala concert of the Northeast Regional Conference.
- 2005: "(re)Singing from the Underspace," choreographed by faculty member Charles O. Anderson, was selected for performance in the Gala Concert for the Mid-Atlantic Region.
- 2004: "Business or Pleasure," choreographed by student Mary McLaughlin '04, was selected for the Northeast Region Gala Concert and was one of only 37 works from across the nation selected for presentation at the National Festival at the Kennedy Center.
- 2003: "Rubbish Overrunneth," choreographed by student Julie Danton '03, was one of only eight works selected for the Northeast Region Gala Concert.
- 2002: "Black Raspberry," a ballet choreographed by faculty and guest artist Jennifer Kayle and Megan Bonneau-McCool, was presented at the Northeast Region Gala and subsequently selected for the National Festival at the Kennedy Center.
Muhlenberg hosted the Northeast Regional Festival in 2002 and 2011. Each year, more than 500 dancers and choreographers from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Ohio gathered in Allentown for four days of classes, workshops and performances. Thirty colleges were represented, and 80 Muhlenberg students stayed on campus to lend a hand and be part of this festival.
The department normally takes more than 20 students to attend the annual festival. We typically adjudicate two works and present one work on the informal concert. Selection criteria to attend the festival includes major, class year, and which dancers are cast in the works that are to be performed.
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Photos: Top, "Rite," by Charles O. Anderson, selected for performance at the 2010 National Festival; photo by Matthew Wright, Fig Tree Photography. Bottom, students at the 2010 ACDFA National Festival, at the Kennedy Center.