Colorado State University will host the American College Dance Festival, a premier dance competition spotlighting top dancers and choreographers from colleges and universities across the Western United States.
The festival will come to Colorado State and the Lincoln Center March 4-7, and will include public concerts as well as classes, workshops and panel discussions for student participants. Two hundred fifty students representing 18 schools will travel to Fort Collins to participate.
The American College Dance Festival’s goal is to support dance in higher education by sponsoring regional and national dance festivals. The festival is the best of college and university dance and showcases northern Colorado’s commitment to the performing arts," said Jane Slusarski-Harris, program director of Colorado State’s dance department and this year’s festival coordinator.
The festival will include two concerts from which judges will select pieces based on artistic merit. The selected pieces will be featured in a gala concert.
"It can be competitive," said Slusarski-Harris, "but the competition is just part of the overall experience and exposure gained by the participants. The festival is a way for students to measure themselves as dancers. They come away feeling inspired and motivated."
The festival kicks off March 4 at 7:30 p.m. with a Lincoln Center Dance Series performance by the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, a high-energy company that combines theatrical jazz, contemporary modern and classical ballet. The two judged concerts will be held March 5 at 7:30 p.m. and March 6 at 7 p.m., with the gala dance concert March 7 at 7 p.m. All concerts will be staged at the Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia. Tickets range from $6 to $10 with student discounts available.
The concerts will feature a variety of ballet, modern, jazz, tap, ethnic and performing art that will please every dance patron. One example of the performances that audiences will enjoy is Robert Machherndl’s "Nashim," a word meaning women in Hebrew. The piece is contemporary and "is open to individual interpretation like a modern painting," explained Machherndl, Colorado State dance professor. "’Nashim’ portrays the strength of women. The dancers’ movements are earthy and strong yet sensitive and fragile."
Judges for the competition are Alonzo King, Cliff Keuter and Elina Mooney, who represent a broad range of dance experience. King is the artistic director of LINES Contemporary Ballet in San Francisco. His career has included performing and creating ballets for the Dance Theater of Harlem as well as being commissioned by the Joffrey Ballet. Keuter, a professor of dance at Arizona State University, has worked with such modern dance greats as Martha Graham. He also performed for the Paul Taylor Company. Mooney teaches at Arizona State University as well. She has toured nationally and internationally with the Charles Weidman Company and other renowned dance troupes.
While the American College Dance Festival is in Fort Collins, auditions will be held for the Young Artists Tuition Scholarships, which provides an opportunity for dancers to try out for summer programs without having to travel long distances.
Support for The American College Dance Festival is provided by the College of Liberal Arts, the Provost’s Office and the department of music, theatre and dance at Colorado State; the city of Fort Collins Fort Fund; and Capezio/Ballet Makers Dance Foundation.
For more concert and ticket information, contact the Lincoln Center Box Office at (970) 221-6730. For more information about the American College Dance Festival Association, contact Slusarski-Harris at (970) 491-6330.