ACDA regional conferences provide the 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. All regional conferences produce adjudication concerts and feedback sessions as an integral educational and artistic component of the conference. The ACDA adjudication process is a unique model for presenting dances and receiving feedback.

Many regional conferences include a Gala Concert as the culminating event of the conference. The Gala Concert is a fully produced concert comprised of 8-12 dances chosen by the conference adjudicators from all dances submitted for adjudication, A Gala Concert is always produced in years when ACDA holds a National College Dance Festival (even numbered years). In non-National Festival years, the conference coordinator has the option of not producing a Gala Concert, thus allowing for a different adjudication process experience.

ACDA institutional member institutions may bring up to two dances for adjudication. Dancers and choreographers participate in a technical rehearsal, perform in a formal concert, and receive response to the work in a feedback session. Adjudication concerts and feedback sessions are open to the entire conference. [Refer to Adjudication Policies for Participating Schools for more details about the adjudication parameters and procedures.]

The Adjudication Concert

Adjudication concerts are central to each regional conference. Each conference generally produces from three to five concerts over the course of the conference. These concerts are the primary means for many college and university dance programs to perform outside their own academic setting. As audience members, conference participants are exposed to the diversity of the national college dance world.

The Feedback Process

Feedback sessions are a valuable opportunity for choreographers and performers to hear insights about their work. ACDA adjudication is based on an educational model that looks for a nuanced analysis of the dance. Renowned dance artist/educators are invited to serve as adjudicators and are asked to respond to the strengths and weaknesses they see in a particular dance as well as larger issues the dance may bring up, e.g., formal considerations, political implications, current trends, or recurring themes.

The adjudicators are provided with very limited information on each dance in order to keep responses as objective as possible. The Association acknowledges that all perceptions are colored by the perceiver, but the anonymity of the ACDA adjudication process removes the additional influencing factors of attachment, association or adjustment for the performer’s/choreographer’s age or position. It is an opportunity to receive a kind of feedback that is usually unavailable to the choreographer — student or faculty – and to the student dancers.