March 10, 2014
KALAMAZOO—Both dances submitted by the Western Michigan University Department of Dance were selected by three professional adjudicators for performance at the Gala Concert at the American College Dance Festival Association East-Central Conference held this year at Ohio University, March 2-5. This is the second year in a row that WMU has had both dances submitted for adjudication selected for this highly competitive honor. Both dances were seen by Kalamazoo audiences in the department’s Winter Gala Dance Concert at the end of January.
Twenty-five schools had work adjudicated by blind peer review; the adjudicators knew only the title of the dance, the premiere date and the title of the music. Eleven of forty-five adjudicated dances were selected for the Gala program from nine different schools from Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Associate Professor Carolyn Pavlik’s “It Takes Two,” performed by ten WMU dance majors, and WMU senior dance major Connor Cornelius’ "My Hyphen," a duet performed by Cornelius of Oak Park, IL, and WMU junior dance major Alex Hlavaty of Center Line, MI, were featured on the Gala Concert program on Wednesday evening, March 5, to close the festival. Assistant Professor Whitney Moncrief served as rehearsal director for "My Hyphen," and Assistant Professor Megan Slayter served as technical coordinator and lighting designer for both dances; sophomore dance major Raeann Burkey of Kalamazoo created the original lighting design for "My Hyphen."
Adjudicators described "My Hyphen" as "clever, witty, [and] ingenious.” “Dance Theatre at its best! Wow – this piece has to go to New York Live Downtown,” one adjudicator proclaimed. They also noted the impactful imagery of the piece and the great expressive quality of the two dancers, commenting that “the dancers demonstrated clear technique, but…the dance went beyond the technique.”
“My Hyphen" was one of only four works choreographed by undergraduate students selected for the Gala Concert.
For "It Takes Two," the adjudicators admired the technique of the ten dancers as well as the feelings of joy and conviction with which they performed. Highlighting the “clever groupings and gestural phrases,” the adjudicators appreciated the thoughtful choreographic choices made in the work concerning design of the space, transitions between phrases and movement to/from the stage. They remarked that “It Takes Two” was “clearly the work of a mature artist who understands his/her craft very well.”
Additional information on the American College Dance Festival Association, which is in its 41st year, is available at acdfa.org.