Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

SDSU Dancers Perform Among the Best at ACDA Conference

SDSU Dancers Perform Among the Best at ACDA Conference

Photo credit: Ken Jacques

The American College Dance Association (ACDA) hosts annual conferences for each of its 13 regions. At the 2017 ACDA Baja Conference, SDSU dancers were adjudicated on a performance of their piece Strange Attractors alongside 46 other dances. Strange Attractors was one of just 11 dances chosen to be showcased at the Gala portion of the conference, representing SDSU among the top performing Dance programs in the Baja region of ACDA.

Collaborative opportunity

Dancers had the unusual opportunity to perform Strange Attractors a number of times during the semester—three times in the spring University Dance Company shows, once for SDSU’s Common Experience, and twice at the ACDA conference. Senior Dance major Aubrhe Yruretagoyena speaks highly of the Common Experience collaboration with the SDSU Physics department. “I consider physics an art form now after spending some time with those students—they are highly creative thinkers and dreamers, deeply philosophical and imaginative.” She also explains that the name Strange Attractors emerged from the time they spent working with the Physics department, and that their dance score relating to proximity aligned closely with the Chaos Theory/Butterfly Effect.

Last-minute changes with a big payoff

After performing Strange Attractors at ACDA, the dancers were informed that they had been selected to showcase at the Gala portion of the event. “It was such an honor to be recognized as one of the most profound dances of the weekend,” shares Junior Dance major Eric Navarro. “Just when we thought we performed the dance for one last time, we got the privilege of showing this amazing dance work again.”

Dance professor and choreographer Joseph Alter shared the judges’ feedback with the Strange Attractors dancers, and then threw them all for a loop before the Gala performance. “Although the judges applauded our intention, we were informed that they wanted the dance to grow and at some point, erupt. So Joe, being the dance magician he is, informs us he is going to change the entire ending of our dance—2 hours before we go on stage!” says Navarro.

“Joe wanted us to push ourselves, ignite our curiosities, and he offered us the satisfaction of risk and all that comes with it—learning happens with routine, but can also be fast-tracked by the unexpected,” explains Yruretagoyena. Both Navarro and Yruretagoyena felt that the last-minute change was a success, albeit somewhat nerve-wracking.

Strange Attractors was a learning experience for the dancers on many levels—not only did it change and develop over time, but it is indicative of the quality of education happening in the Dance Department at SDSU. These dancers excelled in competition with other college dancers from around the country, and gracefully rose to the challenge when presented with a brand new ending. In Yruretagoyena’s words, “SDSU will be proud of what we all go on to offer and share with the world, and it is my privilege to have been one of the fortunate ones to have the opportunity to study with the brilliant Dance faculty and students here.”

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