The American College Dance Association was known as the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) from 1973-2014. Going forward with a new name, we remain an association of students, teachers, artists, and scholars who bring passion in dance to our colleges and to each other. By removing the “Festival” from our name, we also expand our vision of the increasingly significant ways that we can continue to support dance programs.
The American College Dance Association’s primary focus is to support and promote the wealth of talent and creativity that is prominent throughout college and university dance departments. ACDA’s sponsorship of regional conferences and 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. The conferences are the primary means for college and university dance programs to perform outside their own academic setting and be exposed to the diversity of the national college dance world. Many conferences culminate with the presentation of pieces selected for their exemplary artistic quality.
ACDA has established 13 regions throughout the country for organizational purposes and maintains a strong regional structure through its regional directors and institutional membership to help facilitate the exchange of information. Colleges and universities may attend any regional conference and may present one or two works for adjudication.
ACDA also sponsors the National College Dance Festival. A biennial event, the National Festival showcases works selected from each regional conference for presentation on three gala concerts. The National Festival is usually presented at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. The next National Festival will be held in Spring 2018.
Of all the professional organizations in the field of dance, ACDA has always spoken strongest to me for its practical and educational applications. No other organization, in my opinion, offers such a rich exposure to both students and faculty alike. Each conference, year after year, gives me insights into the big picture of dance that has proven essential in making me understand the mission we all share as educators. Due to this organization, I feel I am better informed of current teaching trends and aesthetics experienced in different institutions which, in the long run, helps me to serve my students better. I find the personal and professional connections I have made with other faculty, in my region and nationally, have been a tremendous benefit for me as an educator and artist. ACDA allows me to keep a finger on the pulse of university dance like no other organization, and for that, I am deeply thankful and dedicated to its mission. Susan McLain former ACDA Executive Committee Board member soloist, Martha Graham Company faculty member
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