“summertime,” a modern dance work by Rodney A. Brown, Artistic Director of Dance at Santa Fe College, was selected out of works performed by 45 Southeastern regional colleges, for inclusion in the gala performance at the American College Dance Festival at host campus Middle Tennessee State University.
Twelve dances were featured in the gala; the SF College Dance Program (Dance Theatre of Santa Fe) had the distinction of being the opening number and the only two-year dance program at the festival and in the gala.
The ACDFA exists to support and affirm the role of dance in higher education primarily through the sponsorship of college/university regional conferences and national dance festivals. The association’s educational mission is to foster the creative potential and artistic excellence in choreography and/or performance.
ACDFA awards recognition to those college/university dance programs by selecting the top 12 dance works from the regions to perform in a dance concert at their respective regional festivals. Receiving the stamp of approval from this association is an honor that all Dance programs strive for annually. The highest honor comes to those dance programs that are selected to receive the distinction of being invited to perform in the National Festival.
The National Festival, a biennial event, is held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and showcases dances selected by the adjudicators from each regional conference based on their outstanding artistic excellence and merit. The primary objective of the National Festival is to highlight, on the national level, the outstanding quality of choreography and performance that is being created on college and university campuses. The National Festival provides this venue in three gala performances, presenting works from 30 colleges and universities out of the original 350 dance programs that participated in regional festivals.
“There is a strong possibility that DTSF will go to the National Gala,” said Tari Kendall, Executive Director, Dance Theatre of Santa Fe. “To be selected to open a concert suggests that the piece is strong enough to hold that position. Recognizing that the strongest pieces from each region go to the National, I believe that DTSF has a very strong chance to be at the Kennedy Center in April.”
“summertime” was selected as alternate for the coveted National festival.
“To be selected as alternate for the National festival is a huge deal for us,” said Brown. “It is recognition that our work is on par with the larger four-year institutions. Most dance programs in our region are Audition Only programs — meaning that students must audition to gain entrance. Santa Fe is not! We are open access. Our students leave us with a strong and diverse foundation; other institutions see that and look for SF students. I am proud that we as a faculty have such a strong impact in just two years. This is only the beginning. Dance at Santa Fe College is headed to the next level.”
Brown is Santa Fe’s newest full-time faculty in Dance. He comes to SF from the University of Michigan where he received his MFA in Dance/Choreography and Performance. His choreography has been featured all over the world, including at the Pro Danza Italia in Castiglioncello, Italy and his newest work “the beauty of small things” is currently touring with the acclaimed Dayton Contemporary Dance Company ( DCDC). He is an up and coming choreographer whose works tell a story, many times with social relevance. “summertime” is a reflection of the male dance world in the late 80s when HIV/AIDS was taking the lives of many male dancers in NYC. The piece is riveting and powerful. The judges at ACDFA were moved by it, and called it “…fierce, dynamic, edgy, with strong images, quite a journey and with a great use of stillness.”
- Alora Haynes, Fine Arts Chair