So everyone should know that we recently got done having a relaxing spring break where we were able to take a week off of classes and homework and were able to focus on relaxing and catching some much needed sunlight on a warm, sandy beach. That wasn’t the case for me. My spring break was spent somewhere much colder than Iowa; in Stevens Point, Wisconsin! The Orchesis I Dance Company and I had the opportunity to attend the north central American college dance conference where 30 other universities from across the nation took dance classes, viewed, and participated in concerts. Colleges from Texas to Missouri to Nebraska traveled to participate in and celebrate dance cohesively.
The conference in total was 5 days long starting on Saturday, March 18 through Wednesday, March 23. During those days, dancers had the opportunity to take classes with instructors from other universities. The classes ranged from Afro-Brazilian, musical theater, modern, tap, and hip hop. These classes were offered three times a day and you could attend any class you wanted. During these classes, I had the opportunity to take class from a member of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, Gerald Avery, which was extraordinary. Dancers were able to pick and choose how their schedule was for the day which was nice having that freedom to decide what they wanted to learn about that day.
Along with the variety of classes, we were also able to attend four adjudicated concerts that were performed three out of the five days. The concerts were split up by different colleges each day. They would perform dances either choreographed by undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members, or guest artists that would come set their work on a certain university. The concerts were judged by professionals in the dance world known as adjudicators. We had Blake Beckham, Robin Gee, and Zvi Gotheiner who have all made significant strides in the dance community nationally and internationally. They would not judge the dances based on a point system but more about the story that the dance was trying to portray and how effective it was displayed through the dance. If they found a dance that was successful in getting their story across or that it was beautifully executed through the movement, they would place these selected dances in a gala show that would be performed on the last day of the conference.
In all, this was a fantastic learning experience for anyone who has an interest in dance. We were offered so many dancing opportunities that we were constantly on our feet and using our bodies. By the end, we were more than exhausted. So my spring break was spent far from relaxing but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I loved every minute and every eight count of it.