The Florida State University School of Dance presented two works for adjudication during the American College Dance Association’s southeastern conference this past March; Love’s Sea by graduate student Erika Hand, and Poem (part 1) by guest artist Alex Ketley. Poem, was one of ten works selected for the conference’s gala concert, and then one of two works selected from the gala, for presentation at the national festival at the Kennedy Center in June. To everyone’s surprise, Poem was also presented by the University of Texas at Austin and selected for the national festival by the south central region. This is the first time in ACDA’s history that the same work has been presented by two different programs at the national festival. Although very similar, and set to the same sound score, the works were still quite different in many ways. The dual presentation was a great opportunity for the over four hundred attendees to see each and compare. Overall, the ACDA national conference presented thirty-one works from twelve regions at the Terrace Theatre at the Kennedy Center.
While in Washington D.C. for the festival, dancers Megan Carvajal, Sarah Diamond, Ashley Pierre-Louis, Sara Ramsay and Mikaila Ware, along with rehearsal director Gianna Mercandetti found time between rehearsals, classes, and performances to see many of our nations monuments, while Professors Rick McCullough and Russell Sandifer were in board meetings for the organization.
The choreographer, Alex Ketley, was formerly a classical dancer with the San Francisco Ballet and has been an Artist in Residence, and commissioned to create original works for companies and universities throughout the United States and Europe. His choreographic work has received acknowledgement from the Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition, the International Choreographic Competition of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveaur, the National Choo-San Goh Award, the inaugural Princess Grace Award for Choreography, the BNC National Choreographic Competition, three CHIME Fellowships, the Gerbode-Hewlett Choreographer Commissioning Award, the National Eben Demarest Award, and four residencies with our own Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography. His pieces and collaborations have also been awarded Isadora Duncan Awards in the categories of Outstanding Achievement by an Ensemble, Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, and Outstanding Achievement by a Company. Through his long history with AXIS Dance Company, his work To Color Me Different was presented on the show So You Think You Can Dance and his film The Gift of Impermanence has screened internationally and won the 2015 Artistry Award at the Superfest International Disability Film Festival. With The Foundry since 2012, Alex has been deeply engaged in a trilogy of projects entitled No Hero, which explore what dance means and how it is experienced by people throughout rural parts of America. The video projection he created for No Hero (West) was nominated for a 2012 Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design. Deep South was the third project in the trilogy and was researched in the rural South in collaboration with Miguel Gutierrez and supported by the first Princess Grace Foundation Choreography Mentorship Co-Commission Award (CMCC), a MANCC Media Fellowship, a Kenneth Rainin Foundation New and Experimental Works Grant, and the Historic Asolo Theater. Alex is also married to alumna Aline Wachsmuth (BFA 2008).