Belhaven University to Host National Dance Conference

February 29, 2024 (Jackson, Miss.) - Belhaven University is hosting the 2024 American College Dance Association (ACDA) South Conference, which will bring together 285 dance students and faculty from 21 colleges and universities from across the United States.

The ACDA South Conference, March 9-12, involves three and half days of diverse dance classes, research presentations, informal and adjudication concerts, and opportunities for dancers to connect within the regional and national dance community.

Belhaven alumnae Stephanie Miracle ’04, Dominic Moore-Dunson, and Rachael Leonard will serve as the conference adjudicators providing feedback to choreographers and dancers and selecting works for presentation during a gala at the end of the conference. 

Krista Bower, Chair of the Belhaven Dance Department and Dean of the School of Fine Arts, recognizes that this is a significant opportunity for students and faculty. “Our students will have the opportunity to apply their skills in dance production and performance as they serve others throughout the event,” said Bower. “We are thrilled to welcome conference participants to our beautiful campus and hope that students will be inspired and encouraged through the classes, performances, and networking opportunities.”

Belhaven University is well-equipped to host this conference with state-of-the-art dance facilities, a walkable campus, a large concert hall for performances, and knowledgeable students and faculty eager to serve their peers. A large crew of student volunteers will gain excellent career experience through service in production and administrative roles during the conference.

Arianna Marcell, Specialty Instructor of Dance at Belhaven, is serving as the Conference Coordinator for the event. Marcell attended ACDA as an undergraduate student and performed with the Belhaven University ensemble selected in 2016 for the national festival at the Kennedy Center. She recalls the exposure to new styles of dance and opportunity to learn from peers and professors from other schools as an exciting and delightful season in her life as a student.

Now, as the Conference Coordinator for the 2024 ACDA South Conference, Marcell is excited to facilitate that experience for Belhaven students and guests. “We have received tremendous support from the University at large," said Marcell, "and we're excited to continue collaborating and to host a memorable, engaging, and community-oriented conference.” 

The ACDA was formed in 1971 to support and affirm dance in higher education through regional conferences, the adjudication process, and national festivals. The educational mission of the Association is to foster creative potential, to honor multiple approaches to scholarly and creative research and activity, to promote excellence in choreography and/or performance, and to give presence and value to diversity in dance. The ACDA acts as a national membership service organization to strengthen the educational network for students and faculty within the academic dance community.