Critical Section

dance concert: Define wow

Saturday,  02/07/09  08:45 AM


Last night Megan took me to a dance concert at her school called Define.  I went thinking it would be fun, a little time alone with Megan, and a mildly entertaining "kids show" at the school.  But, Wow, was it awesome!  These kids were GREAT.

The concert consisted of twenty three quick pieces by different ensembles of dancers, some with large groups and some just a few, with different background music, sets, lighting, all with the general theme "define yourself, don't let others define you".  In between every four or five pieces was a little slide show with voiceover in which dancers talked about dance, and about defining themselves.

I had three favorite pieces that stuck with me.

In the first, three amazingly talented dancers / gymnasts "dance" while hung from the ceiling in silk sheets.  It was Circe du Soleil done by high schoolers, amazing.  With the haunting background music to boot.

In the second, a boy plays the cello (beautifully) with a strong upbeat rhythm, while a single girl dances behind and around him.  The coordination was perfect and enchanting.

In the third, my favorite, three young girls dance in front of a black screen, as accompanyment to Pricilla Ahn's Dream.  The lyrics speak of the dream a girl has of growing up, what her life will be like.  Behind the screen, three older girls dance synchronized to the younger ones in front, lit dimly at first, barely visible through the translucent screen, as if in a faint mirror.  As the dance proceeds the synchronization is broken, the older girls go their own way, and the lighting slowly reverses, the younger girls fading in front of the screen as the older girls become fully visible.  This amazing interpretation of the lyrics, combined with the emotion of the music and the skillful dancing was incredibly powerful.  It brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.

That a high school could stage such an event is just amazing, a tribute to the dance teacher Hayley McLelland and to the kids themselves, as well as Oaks Christian School, which pushes the envelope of great education in every direction.  Wow.


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