On October 7, 2022, the opening day of Family Weekend, the Concord Academy Dance Project performed for the CA community. Rika Okamoto and Alex Brady, the choreographers of CA Dance Project, teach their students weekly how to express emotions through movement and rhythm. The dancers in Dance Project communicate stories through their bodies and facial expressions rather than through verbal language.
The artists showcased their warm-up preparations and performed to “Escualo” by Astor Piazzolla. This vivacious piece of instrumental string provided the musical setting with its tense character and changing tempo. The music’s highs, lows, twists, and turns required the dancers to be precise and present with their movements. The performances engaged the dancers and audience alike. The windows, the dance room, and the abundant fall-colored trees also contributed to the audience’s enthusiastic reception of the story. The atmosphere complimented the dance, such that the participants of the Dance Project were centered physically and mentally. The modern dance used all aspects of the space around them to engage parents, teachers, and peers.
The expressive dance was a collaborative effort between eight dancers, using thoughtful and well-integrated choreography to perform individually and as a whole. The dance mirrored the artistic concept of ‘alone but together.’ When the dancers were warming up together, they each had different levels of strength, flexibility, and intensity. Yet, they were all performing the same movements of engaged exercise to help them stretch before dancing. Teresa Salvato, an audience member, expressed, “It felt like a dance rehearsal in New York City. Authentic but raw and very true to the mission of Concord Academy. I also loved the big windows and thought it showcased the dancers very nicely.”
The brain releases endorphins, while neurotransmitters trigger the sense of well-being, tranquility, and joy from the movement. The performers did a splendid job of executing this through every aspect of the showcase. Their expressions, the lively music, the worn wood floor, and the immense windows showcased positive emotions, visible joy, and happiness from performing students, educators, and parents. These sensations are always evident when putting aside the limitations of fear and enjoying movement with greater freedom, as modeled in this performance.