FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lisa L. Rollins, (615) 898-2919
MTSU HOST SITE FOR 2009 BLACK COLLEGE DANCE EXCHANGE APRIL 9-12
(MURFREESBORO)—For the first time ever, the Black College Dance Exchange will be held at a university that is not an historically black college, when the annual festival gets under way April 9-12 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.
First conducted at the college level in 1982, the BCDE is a coalition of dance companies from historically black colleges and universities, with a mission based on education. Membership in the organization is open to dance companies from predominately black institutions of higher educations and other college/university dance companies, private studios, community groups and other dance organizations.
MTSU has participated in the festival since 1989 when Anne Holland Cole of MTSU’s health and human performance faculty became involved with BCDE. A former associate professor of HHP at MTSU from 1967-2000, she also is a past BCDE board member.
This year’s “Crossroads: Dancing with Legends” event will feature master classes for students, as well as a number of dance performances that will be open to the community. The festival will be sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Performance and organized by HHP instructor Angela Armstrong, who currently serves on the BCDE board of directors; Lee Anne Carmack, chairwoman of the BCDE/MTSU steering committee; and with input from Cole, HHP adjunct professor.
Dr. Dianne Bartley, HHP chairwoman, said, “We fully support Angela Armstrong and the MTSU Performing Arts Company in their hard work to create a successful Black College Dance Exchange festival at MTSU. We look forward to the opportunities this event and all its creative energy will bring to our university and greater community.”
Armstrong said the festival is expected to attract 300-500 students both from MTSU and throughout the BCDE’s membership institutions.
The opportunity to serve as the 2009 host site for the national dance education event is “a dream come true” for Armstrong, an MTSU graduate, as well as many others.
“As a student who went through the Black College Dance Exchange, I used to think about how wonderful this conference was compared to others,” she said. “There is such an enhanced degree of one-in-one involvement with the dance experts, and the energy and camaraderie that you get from this event is unparalleled.
“When I finally became a director, I had that same vision—to bring this conference to MTSU. … It always has such a positive reinforcing energy.”
In addition to educational, hands-on dance workshops and master classes, the BCDE also will bring the chance to see a public concert by the prestigious Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Alvin Ailey II, a dance company universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country's best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today's most outstanding emerging choreographers.
Ailey II’s artistic director, Sylvia Waters, will be honored during the BCDE event for her many contributions to dance. The late Alvin Ailey personally appointed former Ailey member Waters as artistic director in 1974. Under her direction, Ailey II has become one of the most popular dance companies in the country, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs.