“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” – Martha Graham
This semester, a group of MSU dance majors traveled to the American College Dance Association’s Central Region Conference, more commonly referred to as ACDA. It was here they performed a dance created with the help of guest artist Ilana Goldman, who was invited to campus last fall. In a blind adjudication process, three professionals in the dance field selected these MSU students performing Ilana’s dance to perform at the final gala concert of the conference. Following the gala, the same dance was selected as an alternate for the ACDA National Festival this summer. With the buzzing news of MSU students’ success at the conference, I went to BFA dance major Jade Zickefoose to hear more about their experience at ACDA.
First, Jade provided a brief description of what the conference is: “ACDA is a bunch of dancers from multiple states that get together. Everyday there is basically a menu of all the different dance classes that are offered. Some of the classes are led by faculty members and others can also be industry professionals. There are always classes that you’ve never heard of and many new ways to get moving.” Essentially, it is a way for students to gain more experience through various workshops as well as connect creatively with other dancers from around the state.
This conference was truly beneficial for all those in participation, and a wonderful experience for young dancers getting to meet and work with industry professionals. Jade specifically enjoyed the chance to get to learn under new people. “Not everyone teaches the same, so having the chance to be taught by many different people helps us to continue to learn how to quickly adapt to different teaching styles, which is an essential skill.” As a student who also participated in last year’s ACDA conference, Jade expressed their delight in coming back and seeing familiar faces again. “One of my favorite things about ACDA is coming back and getting to dance with people you met last year and celebrate everyone’s growth. Everyone just wants you to succeed and it’s beautiful.”
When it came to the adjudication that won MSU dance majors a spot in the final gala concert, I asked Jade what that process looked like. “Over the course of the week, we see the best of the best from every school in dance concerts that happen every evening. There are adjudicators from the industry that get brought in for each concert to give feedback. Once all the pieces have been seen the adjudicators pick the top pieces from the entire week to be seen one more time at the Gala.” It is an incredible honor to be chosen, and as a department and community, we are beyond proud of our dance students in their success at ACDA.
“It’s a celebration of everyone’s hard work paying off and after the performances we all dress up and dance with each other. It’s a beautiful way to wrap up the week and send everyone home feeling inspired and ready to make new work.”
The choreographer of the piece MSU students presented at the final gala concert, Ilana Goldman, has recently been back in town to work with students again. During our Spring Dance Concert: Art in Motion, her dance will also be performed. To witness the marvelous work of Ilana and our talented dance majors, the Spring Dance Concert will open May 4th and run through the 7th. For more information, click here.