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Release: ImmediateArts Center Relations

UI Dance Department choreography advances to national dance festival

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa dance department triumphed in competition at the regional festival of the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) April 25-29 at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Sixty dances from 31 colleges and universities were submitted for adjudication, and of the five works selected for the national ACDFA at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., two were from the UI -- faculty member David Berkey's "Along Came a Spider" and graduate student Cecil Slaughter's "Spirituals."

Slaughter, who came to the UI to pursue his Master of Fine Arts degree after a career in the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, was also the region's nominee for the national Best Student Choreographer award.

Since ACDFA rules stipulate that each school can be represented by only one dance at the national festival, and since Slaughter was nominated for the choreography award, Berkey's winning piece will be replaced by an alternate regional entry.

The UI will still be represented by two works, however. Dance department faculty member Alan Sener set his "Ancorra Insieme" on student dancers when he was a guest artist at Ball State University in Indiana. Ball State entered that production in the regional ACDFA competition, and it was selected to advance to the national festival. The Kennedy Center will host the national ACDFA May 18-20, and the UI works will be presented in a showcase concert.

Because not all ACDFA regions held festivals this year, the festival in Ohio attracted colleges and universities from a wide area of the country. Among the schools represented were Arizona State, Montclair State in New Jersey, Colorado State, Kent State, Penn State, Cornell University, the University of Minnesota, Miami University, the University of Michigan, Washington University, SUNY-Brockport and Adelphi University. Each school could submit a maximum of two pieces for adjudication -- one by a faculty member or guest choreographer, and one by a student choreographer.

ACDFA is a national organization that promotes excellence in college and university dance through the exchange of information and artistic resources. In addition to recognizing and rewarding excellence, the competitions at the regional festivals enable dance departments to compare their standards and levels of achievement with those of other universities.