CriticalDance Forum

American College Dance Festival
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Author:  salzberg [ Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  American College Dance Festival

Last week, I was at the Mid-Atlantic Conference of the American College Dance Festival. For those unfamiliar with ACDF, college and university dance departments from all over the country go to the various regional conferences (they're not limited to their own geographic region; we had a school from Utah) and participate in classes, workshops, and adjudicated concerts. Each institution may submit two works (one faculty-choreographed and one student-choreographed) for adjudication. The adjudicators select 8-10 pieces to be presented in a gala concert on the final evening. Thirty-three pieces were performed in all.

Some of the colleges brought their lighting designers with them; others just sent the paperwork and descriptions of the cues. Some just tried to wing it.

I noticed something interesting: seven of the 10 pieces chosen for the gala were from schools who had brought designers with them -- almost every piece that had brought its own designer made it into the concert. I don't think that the quality of lighting was the major reason these dances were selected (the adjudicators are not supposed to overly credit such elements), but I have a theory as to why such a disproportionate number of the chosen pieces were those who had brought designers. I think that those were the schools whose production values and aesthetic standards were the highest and that bringing a designer was just one part of that. They were the schools who were not content -- or forced by circumstances -- to just accept whatever (and whoever) happened to be in the theatre.

Author:  salzberg [ Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:28 am ]
Post subject: 

More on ACDF:

The festival was held, as all such regional festivals are, on a college campus -- this one in a small town in Virginia.

One of the lighting designers who accompanied the dancers obviously assumed he was going to show the "hicks" how it was supposed to be done (most of the participants assumed that I was on the local faculty, which is the usual model). Just out of curiosity, after the festival, I Googled him and found his bio online.

All I can say is that if someone's going to be arrogant and portray himself as the Pro from Dover, it's probably a good idea for him to make sure his is the better resume'.

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:16 am ]
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As always, you make me laugh.

I know exactly what you mean. Isn't it always the way that the MOST arrogant are the ones the least deserving of it. The best, nicest, most accomodating, personable and flexible designers I worked with were the ones with the most impressive resumes and the most natural talent (Thierry Bosquet and Bob Ringwood come to mind). It was the yound designers just out of Yale with something to prove and no good credits that were the biggest nightmares.

But I digress.

I am intriqued by your observation. I agree that what made those schools stand out was not that they brought a designer but that they had THOUGHT to bring a designer, that it was important enough to the school that a designer be consulted and paid for. It shows an interest in the dance as a whole experience, not just the movement.

Author:  salzberg [ Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:22 pm ]
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Interestingly, this guy was not young; he was old, old, OLD (my age, or thereabouts).

I agree about Yale; I think they teach a graduate-level course in "attitude".

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Mar 23, 2007 5:45 am ]
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After reading the above, I'm afraid that I might be misunderstood; the people I dealt with down there were most assuredly not hicks, except in the mind, perhaps, of a certain misguided designer.

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:54 am ]
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Oh, Yale. Don't get me started on Yale...

Funny about Old Designer Guy. Maybe his attitude is the reason he has a less impressive resume than you. We all know you're personable and easy to work with right? :wink:

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:00 am ]
Post subject: 

I like to think of myself as demanding, but fair.

...Of course, I also like to think of myself as looking like Brad Pitt....

I make it a point not to make assumptions about people's abilities based upon their geographic location; talent is not unique to any one ZIP code.

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