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NMSU Dance Program receives recognition at annual festival

Twenty-five New Mexico State University dance students traveled to the American College Dance Festival Conference at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, earlier this month to learn from national and international dance educators and performers.


Approximately 14 dancers are aligned in pairs on stage with their arms outstretched above their heads performing their routine, "Requiem."
New Mexico State University dance students perform "Requiem" during the gala performance of the American College Dance Festival Conference at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. (Photo courtesy of the NMSU dance program)

The dancers attended five days of classes, presentations, seminars, workshops and adjudicated performances, introducing them to a variety of dance styles.

For the first time, both NMSU dances for adjudication, "Requiem" and "Consonance," were chosen for the gala performance. NMSU was one of 36 universities to compete for recognition at the performance.

"This is a special honor for the dance program," said Debra Knapp, director of the NMSU dance program.

"Requiem," choreographed by dance alumni and former faculty member, Kirsten Avelar, was well-crafted and beautifully designed, the adjudicators said. They referred to Avelar as "an intelligent and sensitive choreographer."

They also said the costume and lighting designs of Joseph Putman complemented the dance perfectly. The dancers' performance received praise for their ability to fully embody the meaning of the dance. They also said they enjoyed the movement and textural qualities of the dancers.

The adjudicators said they loved how "Consonance," choreographed by senior dance major, Timithy Holecek, was performed by the dancers. They said the dance created an honest and generous relationship between the dancers building a feeling of community. One adjudicator said there was "an innocence about the dance that was so refreshing to see."

The NMSU Dance Program has attended the American College Dance Festival Conference for 10 years. NMSU has had previous dances chosen for the gala concert including "Touch" in 2008, "Gypsy Passion" in 2009 and "Colony" in 2011.

The conference also featured the performance "Pray," choreographed by senior dance major Alexandria Madrid, during the informal concert. Knapp also choreographed and performed "A Life in Progress" for the faculty concert.