For the first time in university history, a student from Sonoma State University has been selected to participate in the National College Dance Festival in Washington D.C.
Hannah Ingwerson is a dance and hutchins major in her sixth year at Sonoma State. Her dance,
“For Example,” was chosen to represent the ACDA west conference at this year’s national festival, occurring every other year.
“It’s putting Sonoma State on the map,” said Ingwerson. “It’s a way to network, make connections and show off the university away from west coast, especially in a dance setting.”
Hosted by the ACDA — the American College Dance Association — dance programs from 31 schools from across the United States will be at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in June to perform in front of an panel of adjudicators.
Selected by Sonoma State’s faculty to represent the theater and dance department, Ingwersen’s performance was originally showcased in March at the West Regional Conference at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona.
The conference was a four day event with students taking classes ranging from technique to costume design, from faculty members from all participating schools.
In the evening, there were formal showings with each school showing off the piece they had prepared that brought them to the conference.
Full of internationally recognized dance artists, scholars and educators, the adjudicators representing the ACDA chose Ingwersen’s routine to be one of the two to represent the west region in the national festival.
Adjudicating in this type of setting is not the same as judging, as the collection of dance experts are looking at a routine qualitatively and aesthetically to determine what they like and dislike about a piece. There is no ranking of first, second or third, but Ingwerson does believe it’s a huge deal just to have made it to nationals.
“We are a very small dance program,” said Sonoma State Dance Professor Kristen Daley. “I compare this selection to a 16 seed making the NCAA final four in basketball.”
Ingwerson will not be traveling alone as her cast, made up of four other dance majors, and the two dance professors, Daley and Christine Cali, will all be going to Washington D.C.
Ingwerson and her cast will perform on June 10, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The two time slots allow for ample availability of tickets to not only the performers’ families, but the general public as well. All dances will be presented at the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center with rehearsals and a few technique classes available to students held at George Washington University.
A Santa Rosa native, Ingwerson accounts one of the reasons for her coming to SSU being the teachings of Professor Daley. Getting her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, a program that requires candidates to have had a minimum of eight years professional performance experience, Daley is now the chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance as well as the Dance Program Director at Sonoma State.
“She’s incredible,” said Ingwerson. “She is so talented and multifaceted both as a dancer and a professor and if people knew more about her the department would definitely grow.”
From 1993-2001, Daley danced at the critically acclaimed Doug Elkins Dance Company in New York City performing all over the U.S. and Europe.
Daley is one of the founding members of SoCo Dance, a multi-generational professional dance company based in Sonoma County which she has performed with for six years.
“The Dance Program was thrilled about Hannah’s selection to ACDA Nationals,” said Daley.
“The dance she created is so stunning and the performers dance it beautifully; they are embodied, honest and incredibly expressive and alive.”
With girls partnering with girls and vice versa along with dancers not wearing shoes in her performance, Ingwerson’s eight minute routine is a direct rebellion against ballet according to the double major.
Although primarily modern dance based she had a hard time specifically classifying her dance, spontaneously describing it simply as “Hannah.”
Originally hoping to get her masters at the University of Utah for modern dance, Ingwerson has had a change of heart.
Graduating at the end of the semester, she is considering traveling for a year after gaining her undergraduate degree.
While not totally counting out pursuing her masters, she hopes to gain connections in the dance community, especially in San Francisco, and look into ways of gaining more experience in the field of choreography.
Tickets are $25 for each gala concert and can be purchased through the Kennedy Center box office, online or in person.