“We are so excited,” said conference co-coordinator Karen Reedy, an assistant dance professor at George Mason. “We really wanted do something extra special.”
The two other public events on the schedule are the March 8 performance by Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet, featuring three contemporary works; and the March 11 gala performance, featuring the best new dances presented at the conference as judged by a visiting panel of experts: choreographers Zvi Gotheiner and Sarah Skaggs, and longtime Ailey II artistic director Sylvia Waters.
In a format analogous to the turned-around-chair auditions on “The Voice,” Gotheiner, Skaggs and Waters will watch nearly 50 dances at four “adjudication” concerts held during the four-day conference. They will be given no program information, so they won’t know which school they are watching perform or whether a student or professor created the piece. After providing feedback to every troupe, the trio of judges will confer on the final day of the conference and decide which dances deserve to be on the evening program.
How’s that for academic conference drama?
It’s been nearly a decade since George Mason last hosted the Mid-Atlantic gathering. Reedy said the dance department held off until after the new studio spaces opened for the 2010-11 school year and then wanted to ensure that it had the time and resources to put together a performance and speaker lineup that would be worthwhile for students and Washington’s dance-going public.
“We started going through our Rolodexes,” Reedy said. “Well, we don’t have Rolodexes anymore, but we tried to get a diverse group of people who could talk about their lives in dance, and everything from Broadway to ballet. We pulled our own connections . . . and we brought together a fascinating group of artists.”
Ritzel is a freelance writer.
American College Dance Festival Association Mid-Atlantic Conference
At George Mason University’s Center for the Arts. Saturday, March 8, 8 p.m., the Joffrey Ballet presents “Body and Soul,” $25-50; Sunday, March 9, 2 p.m., panel discussion, “Imagine . . . a Life in Dance,” $5-10; and Tuesday, March 11, 8 p.m., gala performance, $5-10. For more information on the conference, visit www.acdfa.org.
For tickets, go to cfa.gmu.edu or call 888-945-2468.