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By Allie Levick, inspireDANCE Festival Coordinator

Looking back on the week of the inspireDANCE Festival, it is hard to imagine that my team and I had been planning this event for almost a full year. It is even harder to believe that this was only the second year the festival has taken place—given the fact that we sold out of tickets before it even started! Between weekly meetings and never-ending email threads, it feels like it shouldn’t already be over, but it has already become apparent that our hard work has paid off.

To see firsthand what inspireDANCE is all about, check out the video above from last year's inaugural event.

Let me backtrack a little bit. . . . inspireDANCE is a week-long dance festival which was conceived last year by KEY Scholar Arielle Friedlander. After she graduated, the committee decided that we should continue the festival as long as possible, especially given the success it gained last year. inspireDANCE aims to improve the knowledge of each dancer who attends by having them participate in master classes. This year, we had 29 open classes as well as a performance by renowned choreographer Heidi Latsky. The styles ranged from Jamaican to tap, modern to krump—each taught by a master in the field. Dancers from on and off the University of Rochester campus had a huge opportunity to learn as much as they wanted about all sorts of styles of dance.

It has been an extremely unique experience to plan and actually see through an entire festival of dance. I’m not sure if any other school would let students make all of the decisions we were able to make. As a group, we decided on all of the teachers and performers we had coming, as well as when they would be teaching. Obviously we had guidance from the Director of the Program of Dance & Movement, Missy Pfohl Smith, but we were allowed to make our own decisions and she helped us see everything through.

I’m so happy that inspireDANCE was as successful as it was, and I cannot wait to see what will happen next year. Special thanks to: Rachel Beckman, Sydney Robinson, Alaina Sawyer, Christina Graham, Smon Cheewapansri, Sarah Kirschenheiter, and Lauren Sava. Huge thanks to Missy Pfohl Smith and Deborah Dowd for all of their continued support!

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