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17 Years of Dance Collaboration Continues at the Annual VT State Dance Festival at Lyndon Institute

November 14th, 2019 by Rebecca McGregor

For the 17th consecutive year, the Saturday before Thanksgiving marks the annual Vermont State Dance Festival, a special day of dance for the Northeast Kingdom where student dancers and professionals from around VT and as far away as New York City come together to learn and share in the art of dance education and performance.  Dancers and teachers alike participate in four professionally-led workshops in a variety of styles and techniques and collaborate in the reflective process as they prepare for an evening performance open to the public.

The Vermont State Dance Festival began in 2003. After touring Vermont high schools that had dance programs in 2002 as part of a collegiate independent study, LI Dance Teacher Rebecca McGregor discovered that there were few opportunities for dance teachers and students from Vermont to collaborate, learn from one another, and share knowledge, skills, and resources. 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, as well as the general public. 

Dance educators at the festival can participate in workshops alongside the students throughout the day and can also attend a specialized morning workshop in various education topics relating to dance. 

The State Dance Festival has 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. These 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 VT 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 students 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 and opportunities in dance education that they can bring back to their classroom or studio

This year’s teaching professionals and workshops include:

  • Dale Frattaroli (Yoga warm-up sessions)
  • Kristin Benton (Pi-Yo warm-ups)
  • Alexis Kamitses (hip-hop “Grooves” warm-up class)
  • Joan Wiegers, founder of the Plymouth State University dance program (Barre Fitness and Barre Choreography workshops)
  • Christina Coleman from New York (choreography)
  • Heather Pogue from southern Vermont (Capoeira)
  • Celia DeVoe (Modern Dance classes)
  • Kenneth Meunier from Creative Edge Dance Studio in Bethlehem (jazz workshops)
  • Former LI dance graduate, Brenna Banister from north of Boston (improvisation sessions)

In addition, Vermont Dance Educators PLC will meet to talk about preparing dancers for college/career in dance and what they do in their high school programs to do this work. They will also discuss a new scholarship opportunity for student choreographers planning on continuing with dance in their future for next year’s festival

As always, the public is welcome and encouraged to attend the evening public performance, where students from dance programs all across VT and as far away as NYC will perform in the Lyndon Institute Alumni Auditorium on Saturday, November 23rd at 7 pm.  Admission is by donation.

For more information about the 17th Annual VT State Dance Festival, especially teenage dancers who are interested in participating in workshops, contact Rebecca McGregor at 802-535-3636 or [email protected] 

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

Photo caption: The Vermont State Dance Festival marks its 17th year on the LI campus. The evening public performance at the Lyndon Institute Alumni Auditorium on Saturday, November 23rd at 7 pm is open to the public and admission is by donation.

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Susan Gallagher
8 months, 3 weeks ago
What a wonderful thing for LI and the whole state! Kudos to Becca McGregor!