Friday, April 10, 2015


Photo by Ogaga Anuta
The Austin Community College Dance Department didn’t have much downtime over spring break. Instead, Professor Catherine Solaas brought a group of students to Texas Tech University in Lubbock for the annual American College Dance Association Conference (ACDA). The group performed a faculty piece by Catherine called The Most Coveted for adjudicators and participated in the multiple classes offered at the conference.

Catherine Solaas talks about her work and how the conference impacted her and her students:

What was your process and concept for the faculty piece? 
The faculty piece, The Most Coveted, is meant to bring the audience into a world where large circular sweeping movement and dynamic partnering underlay an investigation into the mechanisms at play when one is wrapped up in "keeping up with the Joneses;”  when one organizes their life around a desire for success and material possessions. The dancers present an unrelenting pattern of everyday routine and consider whether the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  Process-wise, given our busy performance calendar, we dove right in to rehearsals on day one with lots of phrase material. Then we manipulated material, read up on our theme, and manipulated more material. We spent a lot of time "dating" movement ideas. We broke up with some. We became involved with others. We got married to a few - does that make any sense? And now we have valuable adjudicator feedback to take forward.

What were some of the benefits you gained in attending the conference?
Adjudicator feedback is always a highlight at ACDA! It's interesting to pay attention to how dance professionals and educators approach observing, analyzing and verbalizing their thoughts about dance performance. Making new friends is such a benefit for students! They get out there and network and talk to other dance students and faculty! That is always a fun part of the conference. And it’s exciting to witness the great variety of dance styles offered by faculty across the south central region.

What was the biggest highlight of the conference for the students?
Of course, the students are still talking about all the amazing classes they took! That's what it's all about! Their favorites ranged from Musical Theatre to Contemporary, and from Hiphop and FlaModern to something called "Respect the Ground” which reminded a couple of us that there are muscle groups in there that we don't visit with often enough! There were literally about 100 classes offered during the four days at ACDA this year, and our students took full advantage!

Photo by Ogaga Anuta
And is your piece being performed again in Austin Dance Festival (ADF)?
Yes! We are in the throes of revamping The Most Coveted for a larger cast. Seven students performed at ACDA. 11 will perform at ADF on April 18 at the 5 pm show. Then, to round off the semester, all 12 students will perform at the ACC Spring Choreographers' Showcase May 8 and 9. These students REALLY are getting the experience of a touring dance company!

Tickets for the Austin Dance Festival are available online and more information about the ACC Spring Choreographers’ Showcase will available on Facebook soon.

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