The U.Va. Dance Minor Program leaves its mark on this year’s Mid-Atlantic American College Dance Festival, March 8-11, 2014 -

March 24, 2014
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“We, Rhythms in a Canvas” Choreographed by Erica Choe. Dancers: Elena Dimitri and Sage Tanguay.

This year’s Mid-Atlantic American College Dance Festival was held at George Mason University. The central aim of this 4-day annual event is to increase the prominence of dance in higher education by providing a well-attended venue to broadcast the creative potential and artistic excellence of students in the areas of choreography and performance. Fifteen students and three faculty from U.Va. took part in this year’s workshops and classes, performed in the informal and formal adjudicated concerts, and taught classes at the festival. This year two student pieces and one faculty work were taken to the festival to be performed in both informal and formal (adjudicated) concerts.

The first piece entered for adjudication was Thank You for Staying, a work by Lecturer in Dance Katie Schetlick with an original composition by U.Va. Music Graduate Composer Erik DeLuca. The second piece was We, Rhythms in a Canvas choreographed by 3rd year, Interdisciplinary major (Dance, Psychology and Arts Administration) Erika Choe. Each piece was extremely well received by the panel of dance professionals: Zvi Gotheiner, Sarah Skaggs and Sylvia Waters.

Of Thank You for Staying Gotheiner said that the piece was “…seamless…evolved naturally with an internal logic that was poetic.” Skaggs complimented the production values while Waters congratulated the choreographer and cast on “…the richness of the characters established from the beginning and the sensitive use of lighting.” Waters also remarked on the strength of the performance and the nuanced individual relationships conveyed by the cast, which consisted of Erika Choe, Elena Dimitri, Rebecca Galt and Lauren Thomas.

We, Rhythms on a Canvas was referred to by Gotheiner as “… a ‘wow’ piece for him…[with] really strong, sophisticated choreography.” Skaggs said that “She loved the piece…loved the title – very smart…[she] didn’t want it to end.”  Waters claimed that it was “…very well performed, articulately executed…lyrical, witty, stylized,” and she called it “a gem of a piece.”

Of the 47 adjudicated pieces comprised of student, faculty, and guest artist works, 12 pieces were selected by the adjudicators for the Gala concert held on the final evening of the festival. Among these 12 was U.Va.’s undergraduate student Erika Choe’s work We, Rhythms in a Canvas, a duet performed by Elena Dimitri (3rd year, Elementary Education/American Studies, Dance Minor) and Sage Tanguay  (2nd year, Drama Major, Dance Minor). This piece was performed alongside works from Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, UNC Greensboro, University of Maryland, Shenandoah University, Hollins University, etc., – all schools that offer a variety of programs in dance ranging from BA, BS, BFA to MA and MFA programs.

To be recognized for the quality of the choreography and performances by this panel of adjudicators was a great honor for our students, faculty and program. We are incredibly proud of the work that our students and faculty are doing and we are deeply heartened by the recognition of the strength and quality of our growing program by both our peers and professionals in the field. Participation in this festival would not have been possible without the support of the U.Va. Arts Council and the Department of Drama.