After a year-and-a-half-long hiatus, the Concord Academy Dance Project made its triumphant return to the studio. Last year’s edited videos were certainly entertaining, but witnessing each dancer imbue the stage into pure emotion and visual beauty is incomparable. Simply sitting in a steel chair and being physically present brought exceptional joy to both the dancers and audience.
The show—Un/interrupted—was based on the cumulative human experiences and events of 2020-21. No matter who you are or where you were, the choreography could resonate with something that you underwent during these tumultuous times.
Three performances took place on Friday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and November 13 at 1:00 p.m. Spectators started arriving 15 minutes prior to the performance, and were welcomed by relaxing music playing overhead. As the lights were extinguished and the audience went silent, the dancers swiftly took their destined spots and waited for the show’s music to commence.
The first dance, “Zuriel,” performed by the entire company—Gillian Foley ’22, Morgan Glazier ’22, Maggie Myslik ’22, Zoe Perlis ’22, Kelly Zhang ’22, Maureen Coffey ’24, Irene Jiang ’24, and Hannah Roznitsky ’24—represented the beginning of the pandemic and the start of 2020. The intense music and powerful moves of dancers symbolized social justice movements, political instability, COVID-19, and myriad of the years’ other unexpected events. At the climax, dancer Morgan extended her hands desperately towards the sky. This movement symbolized the inability to breathe during such a difficult and utterly confusing time.
“We could not breathe because so many things were happening one after another after another,” said Rika Okamoto and Alex Brady, co-directors of the dance program at CA and choreographers of Un/interrupted.
Next came individual performances by different groups of dancers. The solos and duets of Gillian and Morgan represented our daily lives during quarantine. Such ordinary experiences were weaved together by choreographies of two trios, inspired by threads of bizarre events. The first, “Minim,” is an ode to associate justice of the Supreme Court and prominent feminist, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and a representation of our lives stuck in limbo during pandemic times. The second, “Zamba del Colalao,” was strongly inspired by New Yorkers’ claps in solidarity at 7:00 p.m. every evening as a tribute to all medical workers.
The show concluded with the reopening of schools and the gradual comeback of pre-COVID lifestyles. The dance “Dream” represented the surreality of being in contact with someone for the “first” time. The transition into the last section by Kelly led the audience to collectively appreciate the joy of being back in person. From horror and contrasting initial attitudes towards the virus, to loneliness and idleness during quarantine, to gratitude and excitement in being present at school, the dancers poured unique emotions and experiences in the stories they told through movement. This performance took the audience on an incredible expedition and recollection of the past two years.
When asked what they hoped to achieve through this show, Rika and Alex responded, “I always want it to feel like when [the audiences] walk out, they want to dance. They interpret it. It’s up to them, that’s why art is free.”