Springfield College Hosts New England Regional ACDA (American College Dance Association) Conference


Coordinated by Professor Cynthia Nazzaro, Director of the Dance Program, and Kathy Smith, Director of Conferences and Special Events, the New England Regional ACDA (American College Dance Association) Conference took place at Springfield College over four days from February 11-14, 2016. The frigid temperatures could not deter three hundred and fifty enthusiastic dance faculty and students from twenty-five New England colleges from taking full advantage of the many diverse dance offerings. Attending colleges included UMass Amherst, Connecticut College, Boston Conservatory, Trinity College, UVM, Keene College, Mount Holyoke and Dean College among others. Dancers crisscrossed the campus from Fuller Arts Center to the Townhouse Conference Room in order to participate in 60 dance classes, 6 dance concerts, and many research presentations, panel discussions and social events, including a Cuban dance party. The response from our visitors and the Springfield community was overwhelmingly positive. This was a very important undertaking at Springfield, as was recognized by Paul Besaw, the New England Regional Director, who wrote in his letter of thanks: "I appreciate the time and planning that went into preparing the multitude of classes/panels, adjudication concerts, meetings, food services, and social events for both students and faculty. The tremendous effort you made to include two informal concerts on top of the three adjudicated concerts, a Gala Concert, and engaging master classes and panel discussions added to an already packed and diverse schedule for the participating schools."

An esteemed panel of professional adjudicators, brought together by Nazzaro, included Anjali Austin, Jim Lepore and Edisa Weeks. The adjudicators created a rich dialogue about choreography and performance through their post-performance feedback sessions which are designed to enhance student learning. Our Springfield College Repertory Dance Company performed two new dances, created in guest artist residencies by James Morrow and Jennifer Polins, in the Friday night adjudicated concert, and received favorable responses from the adjudicators.

Nazzaro and Smith managed an intense yearlong planning process, with the encouragement and support of Dean Anne Herzog and Provost Jean Wyld. It is important to recognize the role Springfield staff, faculty, and students played in making the conference a success.  The New England ACDA Conference at Springfield affirmed the college's long time support of dance in higher education beginning with Ted Shawn in the 1930's and continuing up until the present with our current dance major program.  A special exhibit in the college museum that traces the history of dance at Springfield and the connection to Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival through pioneer educator Ted Shawn was created for the conference by our dance majors who conducted archival research with Jeffrey Monseau. The exhibit was on display throughout the conference and can still be enjoyed by visitors to the museum.