Dance fosters expression for all aspects of life


photo copyDuring second period, the room above the seemingly silent gym transforms into a party, or to be more specific, a “Party in the USA” as sophomore Stella Thorsen and junior Amy Kelleher guide the dancers through an “Evolution of Miley” piece. The dancers are repeating moves over and over again, twirling and swaying in preparation for the approaching dance showcase. Despite the information given in the planner, the showcase was held from Dec. 4 to 5 at 7 pm. Tickets were sold at the door; five dollars for students and seven dollars for adults.

“The theme for the dance showcase, ‘Together We Dance,’ is an extension of the Piedmont School district theme of the year ‘Together We Teach’,” senior Eliza Kauffman said.

The theme for Piedmont’s 4th annual fall dance show was inspired by academic subjects, topics, and social interactions that occur in school. The dancers hoped that this performance would raise awareness of the dance program in a creative way.

“We’re trying to build awareness of the fact that dance connects to all aspects of our school community,” dance teacher Amy Moorhead said.

According to Moorhead, these original dance pieces choreographed by the students spawned critical thinking by having dancers engage with a teacher or staff member in their subject area of interest and come up with interview questions.

“Any story can be told through dance and there’s a line of thinking that says power point presentations should never be used, instead dances should be used to explain concepts, and that’s kind of what we’re exploring,” Moorhead said.

By asking math teacher Mr. Mahoney questions like “Do your students think of unique and interesting ways of approaching math problems?” and “Which mathematical graph do you find the most aesthetically pleasing and why?” junior Thomas Horn explored mathematical calculations and how they can be portrayed through dance, said Moorhead.

However some dancers took their interpretation of academics beyond school subjects with their internal reflections when dealing with school. Senior Robert Yu is choreographing a solo that grasps the personal reflection that comes with the college application process.

“My life has been full of so much darkness, yet it has shaped me to become the person I am today. My dance is to the song ‘Give Me Love’ by Ed Sheeran,” Yu said. “ I simply love his music, and I was inspired to choreograph to it. All in all, my piece is based on looking back and making the best of things, even at the worst of times.”

Interviewing his counselor, Ashley English, for inspiration, Yu asked her questions like “Do you think that kids with painful pasts cope well?” and “Do you think colleges have the intent to make people think about the past”?

“This theme is very abstract and not as concrete as our previous themes, like “Animals” last year,” Moorhead said. “It’s been stretching peoples brains a bit more and I think that’s a good thing. I want other teachers, staff, and students to feel more connected to what it is we are doing, and to feel more invested.”

Thorsen believes that the show really embodies the different artistic styles and talents of the dancers and differentiates from other performing arts because it allows a lot of wiggle room for creativity.

“With this, a lot of the art and creativity comes from the dancers, because we don’t have a teacher telling us how to move, which is great, because it makes us work really hard,” Thorsen said.