Following months of rehearsal and perfecting choreography, students and teachers performed in the Harry Potter-themed upper school dance concert March 2-4.
Students began working on the show at the beginning of the year once performing arts teacher Cyndy Winter settled on a theme. Some dancers in the show have performed in the show every year they’ve been at the Upper School while others were completely new to the dance program.
A key element of the dance concert is the participation of both student and teacher guest dancers. This year, upper school deans Celso Cardenas and Chris Jones, science teacher and coordinator of diversity, equity and inclusion Nate Cardin, math teacher Bill Thill and director of DEI and associate director of admission Janine Jones all participated.
“The most fascinating piece was watching it all come together,” Cardenas said. “Having heard about the theme months back, I wasn’t sure how it would be tackled, the idea of taking a story, a book that we’re all familiar with and being able to retell it in this super creative way, doing it all through dance, no dialogue and infusing it with some really cool, modern takes. I’m always in awe of the final piece.”
The mix of students and teachers in the show makes the concert one of the few settings on campus in which the two groups can work together as equals. For example, the show gave Cardin quality time with students in a way that he doesn’t get to experience in the classroom, he said.
“I am not as good of a dancer as I want to be and to have my students be really accepting of me and willing to work with me to help me improve was really great,” Cardin said. “It reminds me that I ask my students to be uncomfortable and learn new things in the classroom all the time so it’s only fair that I should have to do the same thing.”
The show also includes students from all three grades. Students choreographed the show by themselves in the months leading up to opening night. They then started rehearsing on weekends in January, which gave the dancers the opportunity to bond in the weeks leading up to the show.
“Friendships through dance are so strong and so powerful because you have to be vulnerable to create the best art that you can on stage,” dancer Caroline Cook ’19 said. “I really treasure those specific friendships, and creating them was so fun.”