Arts & Culture

UK's Susie Thiel Named to American College Dance Association's Board

headshot photo of Susie Thiel
Susie Thiel

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 16, 2021) —​ The University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts announces Susie Thiel, director of the UK Dance Program, has been elected to the National Board of Directors for the American College Dance Association

Susie Thiel, associate professor of dance and the director of Dance for the UK Department of Theatre and Dance, has been elected to serve a three-year term on the National Board of Directors for the American College Dance Association for the South region. Board members are responsible for steering national ACDA policy and are instrumental in the development of dance education across the country.  

Thiel has attended ACDA conferences for the past 12 years as well as during undergraduate training. Most recently, she served as 2020 South Conference coordinator, although it had to be canceled as the COVID-19 pandemic came to the United States.

“The (ACDA) conference experiences are always stimulating, refreshing and inspiring. I have brought my own work, faculty and student produced work to be performed in the adjudicated and informal concerts. A highlight during the conferences is always the feedback sessions. I gain new insights and perspectives listening to the adjudicators discuss dance works and I have noticed a remarkable difference in the way my students talk about choreography after attending the feedback sessions. The performances and classes always deepen my own approaches and broaden my aesthetic. I have taught choreography, improvisation and technique classes as well as organized a panel.

"I also commend ACDA for always having a focus on inclusion, diversity and equity. I am interested to serve on the board, as I truly believe in the contributions ACDA makes to the dance world and to the future momentum of dance education," Thiel added. "It would be both exciting and gratifying to attend the annual meetings to help plan, develop and be part of the vision and energy of ACDA on an expanded level. I look forward to contributing to the continued success of ACDA and to host the conference at the University of Kentucky, for real this time!"

The American College Dance Association's primary focus is to support and promote the wealth of talent and creativity that is prominent throughout college and university dance departments. ACDA provides opportunities for thousands of dance faculty, students and guest artists to participate in ACDA events. Pre-pandemic, ACDA events included annual conferences in 13 regions throughout the country, the biennial National College Dance Festival, and additional initiatives and partnerships. ACDA's sponsorship of regional conferences and the biennial national college dance festival over the last 48 years have been the primary means for college and university dance programs to perform outside their own academic setting, receive adjudicator feedback and gain exposure to the diversity of dance in higher education throughout the country. Conferences also provide faculty the opportunity to present research and to receive peer responses to their work.

The Department of Theatre and Dance, part of UK College of Fine Arts, is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre. Students in the department get hands-on training and one-on-one mentorship from professional theatre and dance faculty and renowned guest artists in acting, directing, playwriting, theatrical design and technology, and dance. From mainstage productions to student-produced shows, students have plenty of opportunities to participate on stage or backstage. Special programs include a musical theatre certificate, education abroad, as well as a thriving dance program that emphasizes technique, composition, performance and production.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.