On February 29th, the Concord Academy community gathered to watch CA Dance Project’s production of Down the Rabbit Hole. The show was thirty-five minutes long and showcased a variety of dance styles and choreography, including some from the dancers themselves. It addressed the internet and social media and how they can lead us to a dark place.
The show, supplemented by voice-over narration, told the story of the descent of the audience into the world of technology, specifically a made-up app called The Rabbit Hole. All of the dancing occurred behind a large mesh screen that was meant to resemble an electronic device. The show began with two sides: the Fantasticals, a group of characters similar to those found in a fantasy novel, and the Hiveminds, a group completely engulfed in social media. The teams interacted in some friendly competition at first, performing short pieces that represented different clips in The Rabbit Hole app.
As the audience got deeper and deeper into the app, however, things got darker. The fight scene that occurred between the Fantasticals and the Hiveminds halfway through the show was representative of the fear and anger that emerges online when we have been isolated behind our screens for too long. Neither side won the battle, but in the end, they were able to make peace and find common ground.
Being a dancer in this show was exciting because I got to be involved in everything from the choreography to the storyline of my character, who was a winged creature on the Fantasticals. At the beginning of the rehearsal process, we were given writing prompts to explore our individual characters based on concept art. We learned what their names were, what world they were from, and what their lives were like. Getting to see our costumes in person was an exciting moment because it was a physical manifestation of what we had been writing and dancing about for weeks.
This show was also a great experience because of the variety of choreography we learned. We did everything from modern to hip hop and had two guest choreographers come in to teach us parts of the show. We even got to choreograph some of the sections for ourselves based on our characters and what we thought their movements would be like.
One challenge of working on this show was adapting to dancing with big props and costumes. In addition to the big screen across the whole stage, we danced with two smaller screens mounted on wheels that represented hand-held video games. It was a process to learn how to move and dance with them while ensuring that nobody got hurt.
When choreographing our individual pieces, we had to keep our costumes in mind; some people, especially the Fantasticals, had things like big ballroom skirts and feathered capes to consider. While these things definitely took some getting used to, they ended up enhancing the performance.
Overall, being a part of Down the Rabbit Hole was an experience I enjoyed, and I’m excited to see what Amy Spencer and the dance department has in store for next year’s Dance Project.