Just recently the Department of Dance at The College at Brockport hosted the 2014 Northeast Region American College Dance Festival. Our own students proved to be incredible hosts as they volunteered all over campus to help the conference successfully. Below undergraduate students, Cameron McCarthy, Jordan Lloyd and Chloe Leibrick, wrote about their perspectives of the conference from various vantage points and discussed how a community of dancers from all over the northeast was formed in just a few days.
Written by Cameron McCarthy
This year Brockport’s Dance Department hosted ACDFA. Each student in the department was assigned certain tasks and jobs in order to make sure all the scheduled events ran smoothly. As a member of this department, my job fell under the category of production, more specifically an ASM, or assistant stage manager. While I also worked some of the Informal Concerts in Hartwell Theater, I also worked several of the Adjudicated Performances in the Black Box Theater in Tower. The experience I gained working behind the scenes was a similar but different energy as opposed to actually performing in such a concert. From the wings, one could hear the sounds of gels being quickly changed, dancers whispering “merde” to each other as nervous energy was calmed by the fast-paced movements of warming up, and the stage manager speaking through the headsets regarding what needed to happen next. As the house lights dimmed, the audience grew quiet, all that could be heard back stage was the faint whisper “dancers go;” the show has just begun.
However, there is a whole other world that exists before and after each piece performs that the audience doesn’t get to experience. Dancers swarmed backstage with nervousness, stretching and warming up a couple more seconds before it was their turn to perform. Collectively, each cast seemed to have their own way of connecting with one another. From high fives to back rubs, connectivity was made. My favorite part of witnessing this connectivity was when they came together in a circle, embraced arms, and simply breathed together. It was at this moment when all of their nervous energy, mine included, seemed to dissipate with each collective breath. Just as soon as they were preparing backstage, it seemed like in the blink of an eye, all of their hard work that had brought them to this very moment hung in the air then faded with the dimming of the lights. Each show, whether performing on stage or helping out backstage, has a different fleeting energy that is difficult to fully explain. For me, it was such a wonderful experience to witness and feel this energy during ACDFA because it brought a whole new perspective to how other schools and various different casts prepare for that “once in a lifetime” moment.
Written by Jordan Lloyd
Brockport’s Department of Dance had the pleasure of hosting the 2014 Northeast Region American College Dance Festival, informally known as ACDFA. Basically, the collegiate dance world invaded Brockport for about five days. The jam-packed festival occupied about three buildings across campus, one of them being Hartwell Hall, home of the Department of Dance. Throughout the week Hartwell saw some extremely talented dance scholars, musicians from across the coast, and more than enough combat boots and scarves to clothe the participants.
Kicking off on Thursday, classes were being taught in almost every room from 8am to about 5pm each day. Members of the Brockport Dance family worked as hall monitors, door monitors and hospitality members. Spaces such as the Rose L. Strasser Studio and Studio 64 saw some class sizes nearing maximum capacity with classes like Hip-Hop Fusion being offered by our own adjunct faculty member, Nicole Kaplan. Some classes would be packed, but it was great to see a community of dancers forming as the week progressed.
Walking around Hartwell there was no escaping the praise the department was receiving for its highly equipped and spacious facilities. One of the biggest hits was our Conditioning Lab and Injury Prevention Room. Visiting students told us that Brockport is one of the few programs to offer amenities such as this.
Though the majority of the dancers stayed busy between classes, running to Tower Fine Arts to tech shows, and running to the Union to grab a catered lunch, the teachers and faculty were treated to a relaxing lounge, which was transformed from one of our more spacious conference rooms. The lounge was filled with snacks, coffee, tea, and lots of chatter. What was a reunion to some was an introduction to others, but by day five it was clear that ACDFA brings dancers together. I think that more important than the dancing, the classes, or even the Gala was the reminder that ACDFA is a place for dancers to communicate. The halls were filled with laughter, the nights were filled with socials and dinners, the days were filled with networking and classes, and most of all Brockport was filled with dancers.
Written by Chloe Leibrick
My name is Chloe and I recently had the privilege of co-coordinating the ACDFA Hospitality Committee with graduate student, Allison Bohman. I had the opportunity to greet all of our dancing guests as they sleepily arrived in Hartwell on our first day of classes, and was also given the responsibility of organizing and distributing boxed lunches for everyone in attendance of the Festival.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had while serving boxed lunches to the droves of hungry dancers that shuffled through our Union Square. I feel so fortunate to have been able to work with some truly wonderful people, who in spite of stress and a few spills, never failed to make me laugh and remind me of the wonderful family that is the Brockport Dance Department.
I was also so pleased to see that, despite travel difficulties set in motion by the infamous “Vulcan,” 7:30 am registrations/warmups, and nightly performances, each dancer who came through our sandwich line was warm, polite, and always up for socialization! One of my favorite parts of each day occurred when the lunch rush would die down and we could have a little bit of time to just get to know everyone. The best part was that everyone sat together, at tables, on the floor, on couches, etc, so everyone could get to know everyone else. It was a real treat to be able to just have a pause and relax a bit with some new friends who all share the same true love for dance.