Eastern Dancers Prepare for Conference

Faculty and students from the Eastern University Dance Department are excitedly preparing for the 2016 Mid-Atlantic American College Dance Conference. The conference will take place at West Virginia University from March 18-21. It is held by the American College Dance Association (ACDA, formerly the American College Dance Festival Association)–an association whose purpose is to support and affirm dance in higher education through a plethora of conferences and festivals. The conference is meant to create unity and strength within the academic dance community, as well as provide dancers with opportunities to study and improve their craft.                                                                                                                          

The conference is comprised of three days of intensive classes, discussion panels, concerts, social events, and fellowship among dancers from all over the Mid-Atlantic region. The classes offered include ballet, contemporary dance, yoga, tai chi, and everything between, with the overall goal of helping those who attend become more well-rounded dancers. Dancers and dance experts are also given many opportunities to showcase their abilities. Eastern’s very own Prof. Janine Bryant has been asked to present some of her research at the conference, and dancers Megan Schultz and Katie Green will perform their duet “Crusade,” which debuted at the Winter Dance Festival. This dance piece will be part of a series of formal adjudicated performances that will be ranked, and the highest-ranking pieces will be part of the conference’s culminating Gala concert. This is a vast honor, and one that Eastern’s dancers have received almost every year that they have attended, which demonstrates the department’s caliber of artistry.                                                               

Jordan Bonney describes the conference as “such an amazing opportunity for us as a department… It is so important that we attend [because] this is an amazing opportunity for us to learn and grow and to be appreciated as artists.” First-time attendee Ali Swank is elated when she thinks about all the conference has to offer: “I am preparing for a weekend full of dancing and learning. It will be exhausting, but very vital in my growth as a dancer. I think what I’m most excited about [is encountering] different styles of dance that I haven’t studied before.”           

Due to the recent changes in the department, there was some concern that Eastern would not be able to participate in the conference this year. However, Eastern’s dancers and dance faculty have rallied together and are determined that they will not miss this incredible opportunity. This is an especially significant year for Eastern’s attendance because once the dance major is completely eliminated, Eastern dancers will not be able to participate in the conference.                                                                                 Those attending the ACDA conference must pay out of pocket for lodging, food, and travel expenses. So, as the date of the conference grows closer, there is a huge need for funds to ensure that those interested are able to attend. The Dance Club has already held multiple fundraisers, but hopes to continue raising funds in the time between now and the conference. Possible fundraising opportunities include Saturday dance classes or an event at So Fun yogurt.                                                        

 Interested in supporting the dancers and faculty of Eastern? Go to https://www.alumni.eastern.edu/dance, or contact Gabby Wright at gwright1@eastern.edu or Hannah Brumbach at hbrumbac@eastern.edu.

The dance department has shown considerable strength and unity as they continue to pursue their craft despite this difficult time of university-wide transition. The ACDA conference will be a joyous time filled with growth and fellowship, wherein Eastern’s dancers and faculty can reflect on their progress as dedicated artists, as well as look forward to a promising future filled with the art form they love.

Writer’s Note: Thanks to Megan Schultz, Rachael Lyons, Jordan Bonney, Dominique Ridley, BreAnna Bellamy, Kiera Rasmussen, Ali Swank, and Prof. Janine Bryant for all their enthusiasm and assistance for this article!

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