Western Wyoming Community College’s Dance Program is among 31 colleges and university programs that will be represented this week at the National College Dance Festival in Washington, D.C. The three-day event will be held in the Terrace Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts beginning Thursday, June 9, and concluding Saturday, June 11.
Three Western dance students, two of them recent graduates, will perform the work Visible Sketch v.3, which was the top recognized work performed at the American College Dance Association’s Northwest Conference Gala, held March 13 at the University of Wyoming. Freshman Brooke Whitby, of Bedford, WY, and May 2016 graduates Katherine Riedl, of Cheyenne, WY, and Gabriela Cipili, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, led a field of 44 dance performances at an event featuring more than 30 two- and four-year schools.
Dances at the National College Dance Festival will be performed in three different programs presented at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day of the event.
“The Festival provides a unique opportunity to view the extraordinary work being created in dance in higher education throughout the nation,” said ACDA Executive Director Diane DeFries. “Many dances in this year’s Festival are a reflection of the current political and social climate. Using historic and contemporary text, some with spoken-word artists on stage, the Festival highlights the ongoing American tradition of dance as a medium to grapple with pressing social issues.
“Other dances delve into the nature of human relationships and interactions or explore pure movement,” DeFries said. “The choreography is exciting and varied and the dancing of these emerging artists is often ferocious.”
The 31 dances to be performed at the National Festival were chosen for their artistic excellence from each of ACDA’s 12 regional conferences around the country. Nationally recognized panels of adjudicators selected the works to be presented at the National Festival. Other participating colleges and universities include Rutgers University, the University of Texas at Austin, Utah Valley University, California State University, Long Beach, and Florida State University.
Western’s Festival representatives depart for Washington on Tuesday and will present their Festival entry at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday. WWCC Dance Faculty Britta Peterson said that she, the dance students, and the supporting artists who contributed the music and costumes for Visible Sketch v.3 are proud and excited to make their debut at one of the nation’s foremost cultural venues.
“Today, the cast and I began our final stretch of preparation for the performance of Visible Sketch v.3 in Washington, D.C.,” Peterson said on Saturday. “As I was watching them run the piece today, I thought back to the residency in December 2015 when we made the dance, and how far we’ve come. These women have become high-quality performers, rehearsing and working at a professional level. They continue to find newness in the piece, continue to invest themselves in deep ways, and continue to investigate the environment we created.
“We also took a moment to think about the costumes, created by Gwendolyn Quitberg and the WWCC Costume Shop crew, on a freight truck already traveling to Kennedy Center,” Peterson added. “Composer Garrett Laroy Johnson will be meeting us out there, and we’re all incredibly grateful and extremely excited to celebrate our Kennedy Center debut together!”
The National College Dance Festival is co-sponsored by The George Washington University’s Department of Theater and Dance and made possible by the generous support of Dance Media, Dance Magazine, Capezio/Ballet Makers Dance Foundation, and lifetime members of ACDA.