Barnard's prestigious Dance Department, and its gifted faculty and students, are attracting some well-deserved attention.
Assistant Professor Colleen Thomas' choreography received a tremendous response at the American College Dance Festival New England Region Conference, held at Connecticut College in February. Her new solo, Paper Wings (created for Renuka Hines CC '08), was selected from a field of 50 performances for inclusion in the Conference's esteemed Gala performance. The piece has since been named a finalist for the National American College Dance Festival—an elite event showcasing only a few finalists from each of the 10 regional conferences.
In addition to this honor, Thomas, who is in the midst of her first full year teaching at Barnard, recently received critical acclaim for her choreography performed at the Danspace Project.
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NATIONAL AMERICAN COLLEGE DANCE FESTIVAL TO BE HELD AT BARNARD
Thomas' Paper Wings will be the hometown favorite as this year's National American College Dance Festival is set to be hosted by Barnard College from June 4-6. The National Festival, normally a biennial event held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, showcases dances from each of the regional conferences based on their outstanding artistic excellence and merit. Its primary objective is to highlight the outstanding quality of choreography and performance that is being created on college and university campuses today. The Festival provides a venue for three gala performances, showcasing works from approximately 30 colleges and universities around the nation. “We are beyond excited to host the Festival at Barnard this year,” said Mary Cochran, chair of the dance department and a member of the ACDFA's board of directors. “It is a huge honor and we are also thrilled to be represented by Colleen's work—she is a superstar!”
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SUGAR SALON AND THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORING
Sugar Salon, conceived of and jointly administered by the Barnard dance department and Brooklyn's Williamsburg Arts neXus (WAX), is an innovative program dedicated to the mentoring, commissioning and presenting of work by female choreographers. Funded in part by a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the program pairs established choreographers with up-and-comers, and also provides rehearsal space and a forum for the artists to share ideas and receive feedback. Participants are chosen by application. This year, Sugar Salon featured new choreography by Donna Uchizono (mentor), Luciana Achugar, Renee Archibald, and Heather McArdle, which were performed at the Abrons Arts Center on Manhattan's Lower East Side on February 15 and 16. Both the performances and the program have received quite a bit of attention.
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