50 Years of Regional Dance

Regional Dance America (RDA) was founded in 1988 to promote the artistic development of dance companies throughout the United States, continuing the important work that was started in 1956 by the National Association of Regional Ballet (NARB). The NARB contributed to the decentralization of dance and, under its auspices, regional companies grew in stature and quality nationwide. The five regional organizations of RDA (the Mid-States, the Northeast, the Pacific, the Southeast, and the Southwest) were established under the guidance of the NARB. Over two hundred companies, including more than two-dozen nationally recognized professional groups, have been NARB or RDA member companies. The main objectives of RDA are to promote its mission on a national level, to define and maintain the artistic standards of quality to which the regional organizations are held, and to provide uniformity of major policies amongst five regions.

Every year in each of the regions, member companies share four days of classes, lectures, seminars and social events. Evening performances are held showcasing the member companies, demonstrating the growth they have achieved throughout the year.

Two significant milestones in the history of RDA were in 1997 with the first ever RDA National Festival and in 2007 with the second in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first regional festival. All of the RDA member companies came together for these five-day celebrations of dance.

Since 1990, RDA has been honored to sponsor an exhibition performance at the USA International Ballet Competition held every four years in Jackson, Mississippi.

RDA’s most significant project is its sponsorship of the annual Craft of Choreography Conference. Through the Conference, RDA focuses on the development of the fundamental underpinnings of the art of dance – choreographers and dancers.

RDA has and will continue to be an organization dedicated to promoting the artistic development of regional dance companies throughout the United States.

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