The UM Dance Program bolstered its standing as one of the nation’s most decorated institutions with another stellar showing at the recent American College Dance Association Northwest Regional Conference in April.
In addition to having both UM dance pieces selected for the conference’s gala concert, the adjudicators chose one of those performances – graduate student Tsiambwom Akuchu’s stunning solo “Every^Man (Alright)” – to represent the entire region at the esteemed John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on June 7-9. (Akuchu graduated in May.)
The regional conference attracted over 500 students, artists and educators from throughout the Northwest, offering college dance programs the opportunity to showcase 43 original works and receive constructive feedback from nationally and internationally renowned adjudicators.
“This is the second consecutive year the UM Dance Program has had both of its pieces selected for the event’s gala concert,” says Nicole Bradley Browning, a UM dance professor.
One adjudicator compared ACDA to a modern dance version of basketball’s March Madness, and Bradley Browning says, “UM’s overall strong showing, and especially with its Kennedy Center selection, amounts to a Final Four appearance by a program with a reputation for overshadowing bigger schools.”
Akuchu’s solo received raves from the adjudicators, who wrote: “‘Every^Man (Alright)’ is an evocative and stirring piece, representative of the African-American experience from slavery to the present. The work is deeply embodied, solid in its canonical foundation, eminently relevant and critically necessary; an injection of survival.”
Akuchu’s performance was the only one to receive a standing ovation.