The ACDFA National College Dance Festival

College dancers sure are creative these days! At the ACDFA National College Dance Festival held in NYC, I saw dances that incorporated bright stage and house lights, aerobics and even drawing on one another with chalk!

A total of 29 schools representing 10 different areas of the country were chosen from over 400 to share their work at the biennial celebration held over three nights at the Miller Theatre at Columbia University.

Last night’s show opened with “Vigorous Incubation” performed by Gustavus Adolphus College students, and let me tell you, “vigorous” does not even begin to explain it! It was like 10 minutes of aerobic exercise performed in riffs, including lots of jogging and even some pushups! You go girls!

With 10 super-creative pieces, it was hard to choose a favorite, but I really enjoyed watching “P-NOKI” performed by Chapman University. Sarah Mann, an undergrad student there, choreographed the stylized hip-hop routine (think sexy, Pinocchio doll dancing to what seemed like video-game music) and earned herself an ACDFA/Dance Magazine Award nomination for Outstanding Student Choreographer. A close second was “The Letting Go,” a duet by San Jacinto College South students. Their “breakup” was portrayed using emotions turned into movement, and isn’t that what dance is really about?

The festival continues through June 6. To get tickets, go to

Latest Posts

Viktorina Kapitonova in "Swan Lake Bath Ballet" (photo by Ryan Capstick, courtesy Corey Baker Dance)

Please Enjoy the Quarantine Genius of “Swan Lake Bath Ballet”

That old saying about limitations breeding creativity—hat tip to Orson Welles—has never felt more relevant than in these lockdown days. Here's the latest brilliant dance project born (hatched?) of quarantine restrictions: "Swan Lake Bath Ballet," a contemporary take on the classic featuring 27 A-list ballet dancers performing from their own bathtubs.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search