A weekend I will never forget… from Andrea

I woke up this morning ready to eat breakfast and go to classes again and was entirely disappointed to realize that I was in my dorm bed back in Rochester again. This weekend was an amazing experience and I wish it has lasted all week.

I learned so much this weekend. I got a good look at what other dance departments (most much larger and older than ours) were doing and what college dance currently looks like outside of our “Rochester bubble.” I realized how different it is from a lot of what the student dance groups here do. In essence, the dance we saw performed that was the most amazing was rooted in technique but went beyond just perfect placement to tell a story, connect individuals, or produce an experience. It is not at all about the best tricks or showing off, but about sharing.

That ties in to something else I loved from this weekend: the idea that we are all members of a greater dance community. There was not that feeling of competition that is present in many places. Instead everyone was so supportive. In class people shared the mirrors and took turns in front. In performances everyone watched respectfully and cheered each other on. My favorite quote was from modern class yesterday afternoon. Kelly, our teacher, said “No one leads, no one follows.” as we concluded class with one last exercise. That will stay with me for a while.

I was so glad to get to take classes in such a range of styles and things that are not offered at UR. As a summary, Friday afternoon I took a class about choreographing on the low level, Saturday I took contemporary jazz, rhythm tap, and repertory and Sunday I took musical theatre and modern. They were all different and though I liked some even more than others, I learned so much in every class.

I know that my style of dancing and choreography as well as how I approach dance in general has evolved since going to ACDFA and I am so grateful. It is by getting out and joining with others who love dance as much as I do that I learn and become inspired the most. I am so excited to try to use this inspiration in my future choreography.

I will conclude this long post with one last thing I am thankful for: to have become close to everyone who went on the trip. I had not met some of the people before we left on Friday and others I did not know well. I deepened so many relationships and feel so much closer to everyone afterward. I am especially happy to have gotten to know Courtney and Missy in a different way and look forward to taking class from them and continuing to communicate about dance with them!

All in all, this weekend was amazing and I can only dream of being able to attend the conference again next year! (fingers crossed!!)

❤ Andrea


This weekend… from Nicole

As much as I am stressed out now and this weekend about all the work I have due this week before break, I had an awesome weekend.  I took an incredibly inspiring improvisational class all about facing your fears. There’s too much for me to write about the class right now (I should be studying for my exam, this is great procrastination), but it is an experience that I will never forget.  I also met, and got closer to some amazing people this weekend!   We had many “story times,” and I learned something new about everyone!  I also got to sing a lot during the car ride home, which was really fun too! hehe 🙂 

Back in Rochester !

This weekend literally felt like one of those “once in a lifetime” moments for me. I never had the chance to experience so much dancing and actually being able to watch live performances. It was incredible. Even though I only made it to two workshops, I still had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the two (House and Hip Hop). I think that any college student passionate about dance or even just interested, should have the opportunity to go to ACDFA. Aside from all the dancing, I had the chance to bond with people I never even met before going to the festival. I feel like I just spent a weekend with people who I could be good friends with for a long time. So overall, this trip was a MAJOR SUCCESS!

– Octavia

Missy Pfohl Smith

I think we’ve all been too busy and exhausted to post! It’s been a whirlwind of information, inspiration and connection. I just want to share how proud I am of Alaina, Nichole, Lauren, Sydney and Robert, who performed with conviction, honesty and intention today. The fullness of their movement and their connection to one another was very moving and many colleagues, both those I know and those I met this weekend sought me out to congratulate me on what a meaningful and impressive commitment they showed in the work. It was a somewhat high pressure situation – a massive stage, a packed house, intensely diverse and accomplished fellow performers from across the Northeast. They “Moved Beyond Their Fears” (a notion Andrea Olsen insightfully discussed in relation to the nervous system and means in which to find balance this morning in a stunning class) and confidently and masterfully expressed themselves. Bravo.

On another note, Sydney, Emily, Andrea and I took a challenging modern class this afternoon. We were asked to share the experience as a supportive community and did just that as we dove into the exciting space between being on balance and being off balance. So nice to be a student again in so many of these classes and happy to bring back some ideas and concepts to dig into with all my students. Gear up!

All this and a cool headset!

I am loving this weekend! Yesterday was great but today is what I’ll tell you about! I took a phenomenal musical theatre class (and if anyone reading this knows, me they have half an idea how awesome this is). My favorite parts were the across the floor combination with SO MANY kicks and the end combination to “Too Darn Hot” from Kiss Me, Kate. Love that song. The teacher was phenomenal – so energetic, friendly and relatable. 


I jogged from class to the theatre for teching for Time/Save/Loss/Return (…right Missy?). I’m not dancing in the piece but am cuing the lights and music from back stage. So, no pressure or anything but I could totally ruin the presentation of the piece…but I’ve been practicing at rehearsal and tech ran okay – got some small notes for next time. I have faith it will work out great! The best part of this, however, is that I thought I would just be standing next to some important person backstage and tell them when to do lights. WRONG! I was handed a headset and a box and taught how to call cues over the headset! 😀 I know you’re jealous.


Nevertheless, I am excited for one last class after lunch. I’m planning on taking a modern technique class which isn’t my primary style (I’m a jazz girl). I’m excited to try something out of my style and think it’ll be a good way to end. Then it’s straight to the theatre and getting ready for the show! Then changing for dinner and a student party before we drive home. It’s going to be a late night but Sierrah said she’ll stay up in the car with me so I don’t get mesmerized at midnight. I’ll drive safely!


Okay, off to lunch and to enjoy the rest of the festival!