American College Dance Festival Comes to Mason

Posted: March 9, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

dancers

Supporting and promoting the wealth of talent and creativity that is prominent throughout college and university dance departments, the Mid-Atlantic American College Dance Festival is coming to the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at George Mason tomorrow through Saturday. In a swirl of leotards, dance costumes, and ballet slippers, participants from 28 different universities from around the world will twirl their way onto campus for an exciting four days of rehearsals, concerts, and master classes.

Coordinated by Marjorie Summerall, dance programs coordinator, and Linda Miller, CVPA associate dean for academic advancement and student affairs, this is the first time since 1989 the festival has been hosted by George Mason. Back then, the Performing Arts Building was brand-new and the Concert Hall and Johnson Center were not yet built. Classes were held in studios, the Physical Education Building, and the Field House.

The entire dance faculty at George Mason, as well as more than 60 George Mason dance students, will be involved in this year’s event, which will take place mainly in the Concert Hall and Harris Theatre. Altogether, 555 individuals, from as far away as the National Taiwan University of the Arts, will take part in various activities throughout the festival.

“Faculty will offer master classes, and students will be working at the registration table, running concerts, and assisting in classes–basically being wonderful hosts and making us proud of them,” says Summerall. “We even have alumni and members of our Friends of Dance fundraising organization who have volunteered.”

The American College Dance Festival originated in the early 1970s to encourage and recognize excellence in performance and choreography on the college level. Nine regional festivals are held each year, and selections from each of these festivals are performed during the annual National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center.

Highlights of the Mid-Atlantic festival include five concerts, two informal concerts, and a faculty performance. The David Dorfman Dance group will also be in residence for the week, offering master classes and workshops to Mason students and open rehearsals to the public at both the Fairfax and Prince William Campuses. The group will also perform at the Center for the Arts on Friday.

Renowned choreographers Donald McKayle, Geri Houlihan, and Danny Buraczeski will adjudicate the festival. “Adjudicators are very important to the festival. It is quite a wonderful opportunity to have dance professionals of this stature see your dance and give feedback. The student and faculty choreographers whose work is being presented will remember the adjudicators’ responses all their careers,” says Summerall.

The support of Peter Stearns, provost, and William Reeder, dean of CVPA, helped bring the dance festival to George Mason. More information can be found at the web site.

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