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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

More than 400 visitors expected as UALR hosts major dance conference

In March, more than 400 visitors from 28 different colleges and universities across 10 states are expected to descend on the UALR campus as part of a major regional dance conference.

The UALR Department of Theatre and Dance is hosting the 2014 South Conference of The American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) from March 21 to 24.

DanceEach night, 12 works of original choreography created by students and faculty representing the work of festival participants will be performed.

The public is invited to attend the evening performances at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, in the University Theatre at UALR’s Center for Performing Arts.

Tickets are $10 and may be reserved by calling 501.569.3456 or purchased in the lobby box office the evening of each performance.

The conference is a primary means for UALR students to gain exposure to the diversity of the national college dance world, according to UALR Department of Theatre and Dance Chair Jay Raphael.

“For our program to be only five years old at this point and to host a regional conference of this magnitude is a major accomplishment,” he said.

UALR reinstituted its dance major in 2009, and today is the only Bachelor of Fne Arts dance performance program in the state.

Dance students and faculty from as far away as Baja, Calif., have registered to attend performances, workshops, panels, and master classes that will be taught by visiting faculty and internationally known guest artists.

The daily sessions include work in ballet, jazz, modern, tap, hip hop, Capoeira, African (Umfundalai), Latin ballroom, somatic movement, Chinese, Afro-Caribbean, acting for dancers, improvisation, composition, and more.

Among the guest artists will be Dr. Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris, founder of world-renowned Rennie Harris Puremovement dance company, dedicated to preserving the art of hip-hop dance and culture.

In addition, special classes will be offered to the students on the last day by festival adjudicators, Anjali Austin, Douglas Nielsen, and Christopher Morgan.

Hosting the ACDFA further solidifies the reputation of the dance program at UALR and helps to promote Little Rock as a beacon for performing arts professionals, according to Raphael.

The primary focus of the ACDFA is to support and promote the talent and creativity prominent at college and university dance departments across the nation.

ACDFA has 12 regions throughout the country, which includes the South Conference. It also sponsors the National College Dance Festival. Two works presented in Little Rock will be chosen for presentation at this event, which is scheduled June 5-7 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.