Duke at the ACDFA Conference in 2013

This year, Dance faculty Keval Kaur Khalsa and four dance students spent five days of their precious spring break at the ACDFA Southeast Regional Conference at the University of South Florida in Tampa, March 16-17, 2013. Keval introduced Kundalini Yoga & Meditation to approximately 75 students and faculty attendees in two workshops during the Conference. Some of the personal highlights for Prof. Khalsa were: participating in a Yin Yoga class with former Duke visiting faculty member Leonard Cruz; attending a talk Dance on Historically Black Campuses by Wanda Ebright (Chair of the Department of Visual, Performing, & Communication Arts at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC); and watching Duke student Sarah McCaffery dance on the culminating gala performance at the close of the Festival.

Sarah was chosen to perform her solo Sanctus, Fragile, Gloria (see photo) at the gala concert that closed the Conference. Twelve dancers were chosen out of 42 ad-judicated pieces! Adjudicators felt that Sarah’s solo piece was a great example of technique in the service of expression. Kudos to Sarah and to faculty mentor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Barbara Dickinson!

“This piece is incredibly sophisticated for an under- graduate student,” Barbara said. “It took courage to create and to perform. Many mature artists would be proud to have produced such a work.”

Sarah said that attending ACDFA was an incredible opportunity for her. “I presented a piece I had choreographed as an assignment in Barbara Dickinson’s Advanced Dance Composition class. I was excited to share my piece, Sanctus, Fragile, Gloria, with a dance community outside of Duke and was honored when it was chosen to represent Duke in the gala performance. The feedback I received from the adjudicators and audience was inspiring and gifted me with the courage to fully commit to pursuing a career of dance and choreography. In addition, ACDFA allowed me to meet and learn from a diverse and talented group of artists and faculty. I immensely enjoyed the wide range of technique classes the festival offered. Everyone I met there wanted to genuinely connect, learn from one another, and celebrate dance. The festival was a high- light of my senior year at Duke University and I am so thankful to have attended.”

Dance major Rebecca Pham also participated in ACDFA. “Initially, I was extremely nervous about at- tending ACDFA, particularly because my dance experience did not really begin until after I came to Duke,” Rebecca said. “The thought of being surrounded by individuals who have been training their entire lives was extremely intimidating. However, after a wonderful week in which I met dancers from all backgrounds, styles, and experience levels (even dancers who had less experience than myself), I am happy to say that all of my fears subsided. I was humbled, challenged, and inspired by the artistry, beauty, and passion of the dancers and teachers I met at the festival. Thank you, ACDFA 2013, for a beautiful experience.”