The Connecticut Dance Alliance exists to increase public awareness of dance in all its forms and serve the needs of the state-wide dance community. CDA is committed to creating and supporting initiatives that promote and build equity in dance, and reflect and include the full diversity of our population.
The Connecticut Dance Alliance acknowledges and condemns racism throughout our society. Our mission of increasing public awareness of dance in all its forms and serving the needs of the state-wide dance community includes a commitment to anti-racism and to celebrating dance as an antidote to bigotry and to the senseless violence that too often impacts people of color.
Institutionally, we understand that we do not have all the answers, and we are working to understand our culpability in contributing to systemic racism. We are listening with love and humility as we learn where we may be falling short as advocates, how we can better navigate difficult conversations, and how we can ensure that our plans for the future include more support for unresourced dance artists of color in our community. As a first step, we recognize the imperative to diversify our Board of Directors and to reexamine our programs to create and support initiatives that promote and build equity in dance, across the boards. At its core, the Connecticut Dance Alliance aims to be a resource for all people in all dance forms, and we remain committed to the sustained work that this implies.
Please follow the link below to learn more about how to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Be sure to check out these dance events happening in Connecticut…
The 2021 International Festival of Arts & Ideas is offering both virtual and in-person dance performances and workshops, including a first glimpse at Equality of Night and Day by Jacob’s Pillow Awardee Ronald K Brown. This programming is free, so go to https://www.artidea.org/
dance to reserve your tickets!
And organized by CDA Jump Start Award Winner, Lauren Horn…
Be sure to check out what else is happening on our website calendar and add all your events!
Connecticut Dance Alliance announces Rachna Ramya Agrawal and Libby Nye as recipients of the 2020/2021 Distinguished Achievement in Dance Award
Rachna Ramya Agrawal is an extraordinary dancer, master teacher, poet, academic scholar, author and visual artist. A native of India, Ms. Ramya Agrawal is a distinguished scholar and performer of Kathak. She holds numerous advanced degrees, awards and diplomas. Since her arrival in the US, Ms. Ramya Agrawal has been committed to the practice and education of Kathak. Either through her own school, the Sumbhaav School of Kathak Dance, or as a Master Teaching Artist sponsored by The Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and Young Audiences of Connecticut, Rachna is an inspiration. Her teaching embraces those in the Indian community and beyond through workshops and master classes on college campuses and throughout the state and region. She may be best known as the coordinator for the Ted Hershey Dance Marathon. Her latest endeavor, CjacksArts.com, a social media platform, is her call to action in support of performing artists and Indian arts. Rachna is a woman with bells on her ankles and “fire underneath her feet.”
Libby Nye, a New London, CT native, has devoted her life to dance and dancers regionally, nationally, and internationally. During her professional dance career with the José Limón Company and American Dance Theater at Lincoln Center, Ms. Nye was noted for her expressive interpretations and intense hunger for movement. She directed and choreographed numerous works for her own company in New York, and has taught and reconstructed Limón works throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. Ms. Nye has taught at the Juilliard School, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and the José Limón School, along with colleges and universities throughout the United States including The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. She has coached the José Limón Company, developed the dance major at Pomona College in California, and has taught on the faculties of Connecticut College, Harvard University, The Boston Conservatory, Brown University and the Folkwang University of the Arts in Germany. Most recently, Ms. Nye is the founder and co-director of the N.A.D.I.N.E. Project (New Artists Dance In New England), which is based in Ledyard, CT.
Connecticut Dance Alliance announces
as recipient of the
2020/21 Jill Henderson Award
Connecticut Dance Alliance announces Megan Boyd, Lili St. Amand, and Leanne Zalewski as recipients of Jump Start Award for choreographers
Connecticut Dance Alliance (CDA) is pleased to announce Megan Boyd, Lili St. Amand and Leanne Zalewski as the recipients of the 2nd annual Jump Start Award for Connecticut Dance supporting original work from Connecticut choreographers.
Boyd, St. Amand and Zalewski will be honored during CDA’s annual awards ceremony to be held at a future date. Recipients of the Distinguished Achievement in Dance Award and the Jill Henderson Award will also be recognized at the ceremony.
The Jump Start Award for Connecticut Dance provides multi-layered support for Connecticut choreographers creating original work in any dance genre, at any career level, to move forward and jump start their careers. This year’s recipients will receive implementation funds needed to create or complete a project; consulting/mentorship in a chosen area of need and/or interest – such as artistic, technical, marketing and communications, or business planning – to assist in project implementation; a series of cohort meetings to connect choreographers, build relationships, and allow for co-learning; a complimentary one-year choreographer CDA membership; and an opportunity to present their work in a Jumpstart Studio Showcase event.
Photo By: Luka Kito
Megan Boyd, of Southbury, is a Connecticut choreographer, performer, and teacher whose former performance career was in New York City. She was co-founder of MUTE, a performance collaboration that explored choreography and improvisation for the concert stage and for digital media. Megan’s choreography has been presented at Dixon Place and WAXworks in New York City, and at the 5×5 Dance Festival at the University of Saint Joseph and in dance concerts at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Connecticut. She holds an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College and a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts. Megan was Assistant Professor of Dance at Naugatuck Valley Community College from 2014-2020. Most recently she became the artistic director of MBDT: MB Dance Theater.
Lili “Bloom” St. Amand, of West Hartford, has been teaching Hip Hop since she was sixteen! She found her love for Hip Hop when she was six years old. She believes in spreading her love and knowledge for Hip Hop through her teaching and is always eager to teach the next generation so Hip Hop can stay alive. Lili has participated in countless battles. In May 2017 Lili won World of Dance New Jersey
Head Bangerz Brawl. She was asked to come back in 2018 to judge the battle and preform on the World of Dance stage. She has also participated in Breakdancing Shakespeare at Hartford Stage, performing in Hamlet in 2015 and Romeo and Juliet in 2016. Three years later she came back to Hartford Stage to be the assistant choreographer for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Through the summer of 2019 she did countless street performances with Hartford Live, a program the Greater Hartford Arts Council created to bring lively performances to light the streets of Hartford with art. Lili continues to constantly educate herself and be on the Hip Hop scene so she can stay current and give her students the best knowledge and teachings possible.
Photo By: The Dancers Eye
Leanne “Laska” Zalewski, of New Britain, has performed at professional shows, festivals, cultural centers, street fairs, restaurants, haflas, university events, private parties, and hookah lounges. Laska began performing in 2010, but has been dancing for her entire life! She trained as a cabaret dancer in New York, Boston, and Hartford. She also spent three years studying Afro-Caribbean dance, and tried her hand at Jazz, Modern, Flamenco, Salsa, and Isadora Duncan dance. She danced with Lynchburg Tribal for five years before moving to Connecticut. She also has practiced Pilates for over ten years and yoga for over two years.
The 2020 Connecticut Dance Alliance awards ceremony is currently in the planning phase. Dates will be announced in the coming months.
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Connecticut Dance Alliance, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of dance in all its forms and serving the needs of the state-wide dance community. We offer:
Masterclasses and workshops
Statewide marketing & visibility
Professional development support
Listings in comprehensive statewide dance calendar
Classified listings on our website