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The Faces of Dance Concert

Dancers performing in last year’s Dance Concert 

Every winter, the Packer community comes together; shuffling into the Pratt theater, students, faculty, and parents prepare themselves to witness the unique show of expression, music, and art that is Dance Concert. Whether one is watching, dancing, or choreographing, the energy is infectious. 

The affinity created by Dance Concert consistently draws in dancers and keeps them coming back each year. Grace Warner-Haakmat (‘20) has been a part of Dance Concert since her freshman year.

“I started Dance Concert because I really wanted that sense of community. Entering high school I was nervous to be around older kids and Dance Concert really helped me with that. I was in other people’s pieces it made me want to lead that kind of group,” reflected Grace. Also, it has helped me explore who I am, because you really have to find your style quickly and that heavily relates to who you are as a person.” 

The idea of individuality and freedom is a common theme in this year’s choreography. 

“I like dance because it requires a lot of focus. I used to do a lot of music and I think there’s a lot of parallels with how you need to be fully invested in what you are doing to get the most out of it. I also think choreography is definitely out of my comfort zone and allows me to be a different person than who I am outside of dance,” said choreographer Ian Henderson (‘20), articulating the powers of dance as a form of art. 

Throughout the years, the themes for Dance Concert have ranged from abstract ideas, such as roots, to personal concepts like confessions and fears. This years theme is “dawn and dusk”. Despite the shared theme though, the choreographers always imbue their own style into their pieces, twisting the motif to fit the story they are telling. 

“This year it was pitched based off of the cyclical nature of the stars and the daily solar cycles, and also how that cyclicality is referred to or represented. [It’s] in our daily activities and habits and the people that we grow to be; that can be a transformation overnight or a period of moons,” said Angelica Sang (‘20), who has been participating in Dance Concert for the past four years.  

Ian, who originally pitched this year’s idea, added that it “developed over time, as [the choreographers] wanted to use cycles and the idea of dichotomy between two obstacles.” 

Each of the choreographers has interpreted this concept in vastly different ways. Paloma Larson (‘21) is using the theme as a way to express her own experiences, choosing to relate it to her personal relationships. 

“I especially thought about the trust in relationships and how in life you’re going to have to trust people. At times you will be disappointed and you have to learn to forgive.” Paloma added, “I want to show the lightness of the great aspects of trusting people and also the darkness of how sometimes it will hurt you.” 

With dance, a theme can be interpreted in many ways, meaning that everyone can find a unique way to relate to it. Christina Young (‘20) exemplifies another approach: 

“I’ve been thinking about the circle of life and different sections of it like birth, the peak of someone’s life, and then the decline, but then what happens afterwards. Growing and decaying and what comes after that,” shared Christina. 

The draw of Dance Concert lies in the experience of its creation, not just the final performance. From making friends to finding yourself and growing, Dance Concert consistently attracts new participants from all grades. 

“I think that every year we bring in new people who have never tried dance before and who are so willing to make a fool of themselves and die for their art. I appreciate that so much,” said Angelica. “I think that a part of this is just learning how to dance in ways that are so unconventional and I think that my perspective on dance has really changed throughout the past four years. I’m really grateful for that.” 

Audrey Taplitz is currently a sophomore at The Packer Collegiate Institute and a reporter for the Packer Prism this year. She is looking forward to starting journalism due to her love of writing and interest in staying updated in her community. In addition to working on the Packer Prism, she enjoys playing sports and spending time with her friends. Audrey can be reached at autaplitz@packer.edu.

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