Everything You Need to Know in Order to Have a Successful Conference at ACDA


The ACDA App

In recent years the ACDA conference schedule, campus maps, performance programs and other essential documents have been available on a free app. Be sure to upload the app and check out what you will be experiencing before you arrive. 


Take Care of Yourself

The conference will be a jam-packed series of days with very intense energy demands. You will be taking classes, rehearsing, performing, seeing shows and networking 24/7. You want to be sure you are practicing your best self-care approaches in the time leading up to the conference and while you are there. This means, getting adequate sleep, eating well (fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, pastas, crackers, lean protein, lots of water, etc. Avoid sugary foods, fried foods, soda, caffeine, alcohol etc.) (See nutrition guidelines from Foundations of Dance Movement and in the Dance Student Handbook.) This also means practicing your self-care routine which may include: stretching, strengthening, repatterning exercises, self-massage, visiting the QCC massage clinic, stress reduction techniques etc.



The conference will involve constant communication and collaboration with faculty mentors and classmates. Be sure to read and respond to emails and text messages. You will need to coordinate trips to and from campus, meals etc. Conference activities usually start at 8 or 8:30 am and continue to 10 pm or later.


Your Scholarship to the Conference

The college will pay for your registration fee, your shared hotel room, your transportation and your food for the days you are at the conference. This is a scholarship worth approximately $600. Few colleges cover the cost of conference attendance so completely. You earn this scholarship through your hard work, focus and maturity. A change in work ethic or professional behavior will result in your losing this scholarship and its being awarded to another student.


Research for Transfer

The conference is a great place to investigate schools you may want to transfer to. Use this opportunity to take classes with faculty from schools you are considering transferring to, meet students from these schools and see those schools perform.


See the Shows

Most colleges present two pieces on an adjudicated conference. Many colleges also present a work on the informal concert. Often there are video screenings, faculty concerts or guest artist concerts. Take advantage of these opportunities to see these performances and learn more about current trends in the field and in college dance programs. Check with your instructor to find out if you can use the dances you view at any of these performances for a performance response paper for Modern Dance class.


Class Etiquette

Class admission is first come first served. Some classes fill up to capacity fast. Plan to arrive at class early to be sure you can get a spot. Wear appropriate attire for the kind of class. (You would dress differently for a Hip Hop class than for an African dance class than for a Ballet class, for example). Find a space in the room where you can see. Be polite to classmates and the teacher. Thank the teacher when you are done. Respect the studios and the campus etc. If someone from the college of your dreams is teaching, introduce yourself before class and explain you are interested in transferring to their program. They can keep an eye on you and see if they think you are a strong candidate. Some QCC students have won admission and even scholarships to 4-year programs after being seen in class or on stage at the Regional ACDA Conference.



The conference adjudicators are three nationally or internationally renowned dance artists and/or educators. Their job is to watch all the dances on the adjudicated concerts and respond with feedback about both the performances and the choreography. This process is meant to be anonymous, meaning the adjudicators do not know what school is presenting the work, who the choreographer is or whether the choreographer is an undergraduate student, graduate student, guest artist or faculty member. After each adjudicated concert, the adjudicators give their feedback in an open session which is attended by all the colleges who performed in that concert (as well as anyone else who is interested). The feedback session is highly structured and timed. There is no opportunity for the performers or choreographers to respond to the feedback. It is not a conversation in that way. Only the adjudicators present their opinions. When attending a feedback session, you must stay for the entire session as feedback is given to each piece. In order to ensure the anonymity of the adjudication, the adjudicators are kept separate from the conference participants. Conference participants should not wear gear with their college logos, speak to the adjudicators, call out the name of their college, etc.

At the conclusion of all the adjudicated concerts, the adjudicators pick a handful of dances to be performed on the Gala Concert. In recent years the adjudicators have been able to pick one or two dances from the Gala to be considered for performance at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. In years when there is a National Conference (even numbered years), they also select one, two or three dances as well as alternates to be included in the National Conference which takes place at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. At the conclusion of the conference, the adjudicators usually offer classes or workshops which give the participants a chance to get to know them and learn from them, beyond hearing their feedback. It is important to remember that the adjudicators are just three people. If three different people were giving the feedback, they would give different feedback and likely pick a different collection of dances for the Gala etc.


Technical Rehearsals and Performances

Technical rehearsals at ACDA are timed to the exact minute and are usually only around 20 minutes. This is to ensure fairness. Performers must be present at least one half hour before the technical rehearsal starts. (Pay attention to the call times on the app or given by faculty mentors.) At the start of the technical rehearsal performers must be in costume, warm, ready to go. You will space your piece while the lighting designer sets the light cues. Usually there is time to run the piece at the end of the tech rehearsal. This is your only chance to try the piece on stage. Sometimes we are able to secure a studio to rehearse before the performance/s, but it is not always allowed, so you should have your choreography completely ready and extremely well rehearsed before you leave for the conference. Be sure you have your full costume with you, including undergarments for the technical rehearsal. Be aware of time limits for the concert you are in. Dances in the adjudicated concert will be disqualified from consideration for the gala etc. if they go over time during performance (12 minutes).


Packing for the Trip

You will need a lot of dance clothes. Temperatures in studios may vary, so bring layers. Pay attention to expected weather. There is usually a student social event during the conference, and students often like to dress up for that. If you are performing, be sure to bring stage makeup (if you wear it), hair accessories and products (if applicable) and performance undergarments etc. If you wish to take African dance, Hip Hop, Ballet, Tap, Yoga etc, you should bring appropriate gear. Be sure you have any medications you will need. Don’t forget a reusable water bottle and any other self-care items you may need like rollers, tennis balls, therabands, Arnica, tiger balm, etc.

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art Gallery

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.