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Cal Poly Dance Program Honored at American College Dance Association Conference

A dance choreographed by dance rofessor Christy McNeil Chand was selected as the opener for the closing gala of the American College Dance Association regional conference in Tempe, Arizona.

Out of 48 pieces presented for adjudication, only 12 are chosen for performance at the event. “The conference features four nights of performances from many of the top dance major schools,” said dance Professor Diana Stanton. “It is a tremendous honor to be selected to open the gala, and with our program only having a minor, this selection is quite a nod to Christy’s work.” Seven Cal Poly students performed in Chand’s contemporary jazz piece, “Composition for the Pianola,” which was inspired by the HBO series “Westworld.”

Anthropology major and dance minor Sarah Dirk also presented a piece she choreographed for adjudication. The dance was inspired by a poem she wrote reflecting on her recent mission trip to China. She said it was a rewarding experience to have the judges shed light on aspects of the piece she hadn’t thought of beforehand.

Cal Poly Dance at American College Dance Association

“While I did feel that they projected their personal interpretations onto the meaning and significance of my dance, it was still good for me to hear them so that I might foresee how a piece I create in the future might be interpreted,” she said. “I greatly appreciated all that they had to say, the good and the bad, about the dance I created and would highly recommend any young choreographer to take advantage of this opportunity if they get the chance. The judges were Zvi Gotheiner, internationally acclaimed choreographer and artistic director of ZviDance; Rennie Harris, founder of the longest running hip-hop dance touring company; and Stefanie Batten Bland, artistic director and founder of SBB Company.

In total, 16 Cal Poly students attended the conference this year. In addition to adjudication concerts, the conference includes master classes, research presentations, dance for the camera screenings, specialty seminars, workshops and networking opportunities for both faculty and students. Chand served on two panels, she and Stanton both presented master classes, and Stanton’s dance film “Breaking Bread” was screened.

“ACDA is one of the most rewarding experiences I get to attend each year as a part of my dance education,” Dirk said. “I get to experience dance cultures from schools across the nation, as well as getting to take classes I would never get the chance to take elsewhere.”

Dirk said the conference demands a lot of time and energy, but it’s worth it to those who give it their all. She added, “I always feel I grow immensely as a dancer, young professional and choreographer each time I go.”

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