History of Regional Dance America / Southwest
On April 18-19, 1963, the Austin Ballet Society directed by Barbara Carson hosted the first Southwestern Regional Festival in Austin, Texas. The participating companies were the Amarillo Civic Ballet, Houston Civic Ballet, Houston Youth Symphony Ballet, Tulsa Civic Ballet, and Dallas Civic Ballet. Southwestern Regional Ballet Association, which later became RDA/Southwest, was established.
With great support from the RDA National Board and member companies from across the country, Glenda Brown, Artistic Director of Allegro Ballet of Houston, served as the Festival Host for the first RDA National Festival in Houston, Texas in 1997. The event was a major milestone for RDA. Nearly 100 RDA Member Companies – represented by 1,500 dancers and 500 artistic directors, teachers, chaperones, and board members – attended five full days of classes, seminars, performances, scholarship auditions, and networking events. The success of the festival inspired RDA to establish a regular calendar for organizing and presenting national festivals that would bring together dancers from all the regions.