By Louisa Fish-Sadin
High School Religious Studies, Dance, and French Teacher
November 30, 2018
If you stick your head into our Dance Studio between November and February, you are likely to find students hard at work preparing for DanceFest (February 1 and 2, 2019). Almost a third of the High School participates in this annual and beloved performance – and for the first time a group of Middle School girls will be opening the show with their own number!
Student creativity and passion shine at DanceFest. All the pieces in the performance are choreographed or directed and performed by students. The girls run the technical elements of the show as well. In October, individuals or groups of students applied to choreograph/direct pieces, 50 students signed up to join one or more of those pieces, and 14 dances are now in the process of creation.
DanceFest this year includes dances in genres including Chinese Traditional Dance, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. Students with some to no level of dance experience can participate. Some of the dancers are in pre-professional programs while others might be performing dance for the first time in their life.
I’ve been impressed by the ways the students are showing leadership in this process. When I look into the dance studio I see a student coaching another on how to spin without getting too dizzy, students practicing along with videos made by their choreographer, students leading high-energy warmups before diving into their work, and choreographers fiddling with the angle of a hand gesture to get it just right. Student choreographers are responsible for managing their dancers during rehearsals, caring for the Dance Studio space, and planning their process so they will be ready for the show in just a couple of short months.
I love seeing the excitement our students have for dance, and the way they work across grade levels and experience levels to support one another and prepare for a jubilant performance.
- Forest Ridge Blog