By Shea Bove
“I can’t, I have dance.” This is the phrase many of the dancers a part of the Salem College Dance Company have been saying for the past few months as they prepare to travel to West Virginia University for The American College Dance Association Conference.
Every year, the dance company takes around ten dancers to the conference accompanied by Heidi Echols, the associate professor of dance here at Salem and Shawn Bowman-Hicks, an adjunct dance professor. In the few months leading up to the conference, the company is busing recasting and preparing pieces that were performed in the previous year’s student choreographed spring concert. The choreographers of these select pieces held auditions to fill the spots of dancers who graduated this past spring or dancers unable to attend the conference this year.
As the weeks have dwindled down to March 18, dancers and choreographers are busy resetting formations, teaching new dancers the choreography and figuring out new costumes. In the group attending this year, there is a mix of dancers who have attended the conference in previous years and dancers who are traveling the six-hour journey for the first time.
Senior Erica Dixon is looking forward to “getting exposure to different genres other than what we have at Salem.”
The dancers are interested in taking various classes while they are at the conference. Salem’s company will perform three dances, two of which will be performed in a non-adjudicated concert, while the third one will be adjudicated by a panel of judges. In between tech rehearsals and performances, the dancers will take a minimum of three classes and watch fellow companies perform throughout the weekend.
The dancers will be surrounded by all elements of dance the entirety of the conference and will be putting themselves out there by taking different classes that are not offered here at Salem and by performing on stage in front of judges and a large audience. Best of luck to these dancers on their journey and their performances on stage.