As audience members ascended the central stairway of the Student Health and Athletic Center (SHAC) Saturday, February 26, evening, warmly-lit fairy lights hovering over the balcony illuminated their presence, transforming the space into the opening stage for the Concord Academy Dance Project: A Room With Us In It. This winter, the company of eight dancers––Gillian Foley ’22, Morgan Glazier ’22, Zoe Green ’22, Jessie Ma ’24, Maggie Myslik ’22, Zoe Perlis ’22, Hannah Roznitsky ’24, and Kelly Zhang ’22––revitalized the studio with performances suffused with their authentic narratives, soulful emotions, and the eloquent artistry that each awaited to share with the audience.
Near the end of last fall, several dancers of the previous dance project came up to the co-directors, Rika Okamoto and Alex Brady, expressing their wish to choreograph a piece during their time in the CA dance program. To this, Okamoto expressed, “That is a wonderful wish, and I wanted that to come true!” A focal point of this Dance Project thus became the storytelling feature of each individual dancers’ choreography in their respective solos and duet numbers. Along with this, the ability to select music of their choice helped the dancers to set the stream for crafting their expressive movements. “I want them to feel empowered, and, by creating their own choreography, to think ‘this is my piece,’ and to honor their own artistic voice,” Okamoto commented.
Beyond the diverse array of student-choreographed dances, the project also featured three CA musicians from the Chameleon Chamber group––cellist Jimmy Cai ’22, violinist April Shi ’22, and pianist Sonny Tang ’22. The three instrumentalists brought forth musical pieces they wished to perform alongside the choreography, contributing melodious live tunes to the dance show, weaving together the full student-personalized performance, and finishing off the night on a harmonious note.
When asked about what the company wished to pass on through this project, Okamoto responded, “Treat this just like a chapel. Because it’s [the performers’] own voice through movement. They are the ones telling the stories, so just like the way we leave the chapel each morning, I want you to be thinking about their voice and what they said.”