Univ. Communications – This February, University of Rochester students, faculty, staff, and community members had the opportunity to experience Rochester’s dynamic dance community during the five-day inspireDANCE Festival. The festival explored how dance can influence dialogue, advance social development, create personal growth, and encourage cultural exploration and self-expression. A student-driven initiative, the event was organized by Arielle Friedlander ’11 as a part of her Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year project, with support from the Program of Dance and Movement at the University of Rochester.
To see highlights from the festival, watch the video.
“The festival gave members of the University of Rochester community the chance to learn, teach, and perform a vast diversity of dance styles,” says Friedlander, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., and a psychology major with an interest in dance therapy. “By experiencing these different forms, we hope participants gained a greater appreciation of the value of dance.”
During the week, local, regional, and national guest artists and master teachers conducted more than 20 classes and workshops. From beginner to advanced, participants had their pick of classes, including contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, tap, ballet, West African, Jamaican, Middle Eastern, Capoeira, injury prevention, contact improvisation, yoga, T’ai Chi, Qi Gong, and more.
The festival also was about connecting students with influential members of the local, regional, and national dance community. The festival’s featured master teachers included: Clyde Evans, Philadelphia hip-hop artist; Bill Evans, award-winning choreographer and esteemed dance educator; Missy Pfohl Smith, BIODANCE artistic director and director of Rochester’s Program of Dance and Movement; Darwin Prioleau, dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at The College at Brockport; Sue Callan-Harris, physical therapist; Cadence Whittier, chair of the Dance Department at Hobart and William Smith College; Nicole Cotton, Syracuse modern dance teacher; and the 10-member faculty of Rochester’s Program of Dance and Movement.
Additionally, the Rochester Contemporary Dance Collective (RCDC) brought together a roster of professional choreographers, dance companies, and dancers for two performances that closed out the festival.