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LI & the Vermont Dance Education Community Celebrate 16 Years of The Vermont State Dance Festival

Rebecca McGregor
Once again the Saturday before Thanksgiving marks the annual Vermont State Dance Festival (VSDF).  This year marks the 16th year of the VSDF. It is a very special day of dance that occurs in the Northeast Kingdom as student dancers and professionals from around Vermont and often New England come to Lyndon Center.  Dancers and teachers alike participate in 4 professionally led workshops in a variety of styles and techniques as well as collaborate in the reflective process in preparation for an evening performance open to the public.

The Vermont State Dance Festival is an annual event that began in 2003. After touring all of the Vermont high schools that had dance programs in 2002 as part of an independent study LI Dance Teacher, Rebecca McGregor did in college, she discovered that there was little collaboration, resource sharing and opportunities for dance teachers and students from all over Vermont to work together, learn from one another, and share knowledge and skills in dance education. The Vermont State Dance Festival offers dance educators and high school aged dancers of all disciplines an opportunity to study new and varied techniques with professional dancers and to showcase their skills before professional artists, teachers, their student peers, and the general public.  The dance educators at the festival can participate in workshops alongside the students throughout the day but also have a specialized workshop in various education topics relating to dance to attend in the morning.

The Vermont State Dance Festival is composed of three elements:
  • a series of workshops led by professional artists
  • a closed session for the dancers to perform prepared choreographies for feedback from a professional and the remarks get transferred onto adjudication sheets for the dance educators and students to take home and make choreographic improvements in their work for future performances
  • an evening performance open to the general public.
The mission of the Vermont State Dance Festival is to:
  • introduce students to new dance styles and techniques that they might not routinely be exposed to in their high school dance programs
  • allow students to interact with experienced professionals
  • provide the students with an opportunity to perform before a larger audience than they might typically enjoy
  • provide dance educators a chance to come together to discuss topics of interest/develop curriculum and instruction, share resources, and learn about changes/opportunities in dance education they can bring back to their classroom/studio
The professionals presenting workshops this year include:
  • Inspired Yoga teaching Vinyasa and Ashtanga warm-up sessions
  • Kristin Benton’s Pi-Yo warm-ups
  • Heather Clark -Warner leading floor barre warm-ups and ballet technique classes
  • Erica Schroder from Boston is coming to teach Jazz Dance Leaps and Turns
  • Heather Morris will be running Celtic Dance sessions
  • Former LI graduate, Steve Shannon is returning to teach Breaking Basics
  • Salsina will be offering Salsa classes in technique and harmony
  • Joan Wiegers, the founder of the Plymouth State University dance program, is coming to run partnering workshops
  • Christina Coleman from NY will be up to teach Social Issues Through Dance
  • The Vermont Dance Educators PLC will meet to talk about dance in the community
As always, the public is welcome and encouraged to attend the evening public performance at the Lyndon Institute Alumni Auditorium on Saturday, November 17th at 7 pm.  Admission is by donation and performances will be shown by students from dance programs all across VT and as far away as NYC! You don’t want to miss this amazing performance!

For more information about the 16th Annual Vermont State Dance Festival or if you are a teen and want to participate in workshops, contact Rebecca McGregor at 802-535-3636 or  

A special thank you to Lyndon Institute, Lyndon State College, the Town of Lyndonville, and Burklyn Arts Council for helping to make this event possible in our rural kingdom.
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