The Makings of a CA Dance Show

Charlotte Ko ’20

On March 1st, the CA Dance Project held a show, Uprise, in the SHAC, centering around the concept of protest movement. As a dancer who performed in both the Fall show Colour Theory as well as Uprise, I can safely say that the process for both shows were wildly different but still equally satisfying.

Amy Spencer, the head of the dance department and the director of this show, wanted to try something new with this cast of CA Dance Project. This show was more about movement and the message behind each dance with a lot of theatrical elements incorporated throughout.

With the help of several guest artists such as Rika Okamoto, Lily Kind, and Destiny Polk, each one of their pieces, when woven together, created a beautiful story that was not only challenging us physically to dance, but also emotionally to put ourselves out there for our community. Each piece had its own distinctive concept falling under this category of protest movement, and each piece demanded a different type of attitude and style of dancing.

Personally, it was definitely a challenge to commit to a piece physically and also completely submerge myself in it mentally in order to invoke certain emotions to the audience. It felt like a whole new way of dancing. At first it felt awkward for me to comprehend how to make the audience understand what we were trying to say with our movement rather than our words. How will the audience understand what I’m trying to do? What if they think it’s too weird? Is this too much? These thoughts kept running through my mind in the beginning, but throughout this process I have learned that dancing and movement come with intention and intensity. When I was on stage for both shows on Friday, all the self doubts I had during this process went out the window. It was just us on stage, putting on a show that meant something to us. It was more than just a dance show, it was a form of expression.

I feel tremendously proud of all the work that we achieved as an ensemble together, from stumbling haphazardly through the dances in rehearsals to the chaotic tech week, we put on a show that combined something we all love to meaningfully reflect the times in which we live in. It wasn’t just a typical CA dance show — although no CA dance show is “typical” — it was us sharing a story to the CA community.