There have been lots of questions lately about Regional Dance America and why we do it.
RDA is a group of regional dance companies, much like ours, who get together once a year. The dancers take classes together with famous teachers, and perform for each other. They see a myriad of ballet and modern styles, and they can compare themselves with other dancers. They also get seen by company directors (which has led to many jobs for our dancers), and they make contacts with their peers from other parts of the country. There is a large summer scholarship audition program, and a large university dance department audition. These auditions save parents thousands of dollars and students many many school days by being able to audition for lots of things in one shot. There is an emerging choreographer concert, giving a chance to student choreographers. The students have to perform for an adjudicator, giving them valuable feedback, and giving our company and school the most prestigious of accreditations.
I remember walking by an 11 year old student a few years back. This little girl had gone to RDA with her mother on a mother-daughter vacation when she was 7 years old. The had toured the city, and watched performances along with a few classes and seminars. I overheard her say, “I remember when I went to RDA and watched that second night concert. I learned that…”, and proceeded to talk about what how she would apply what she had learned. I was impressed because even this little kid had come away with lessons learned (and thought about them for four years).
The festival is meant to be a tremendous learning experience for our dancers, and it is. But there are also seminars for parents, teachers, observers, costumers, musicians, directors, and board members.
Regional Dance America is well worth the time, money and effort and everyone who has gone loves it. We do RDA because everyone learns.