story by Maddie Mason and Rebekah Street
Dance Five Honors students push past the everyday worries of high school life and focus on global issues to inspire a choreographed routine.
“Dance Five Honors has a capsulation project, or an honors project, that they get in December,” dance teacher Ginny Haynes said. “They have to chose a social or a worldly event…and in February, they have their proposal, music and research, and all the factual information that helps them with their choreography.”
The honors project, once the choreography has been completed, will be performed in concert on April 30- May 1.
Students were free to pick a topic that has been an influence on their lives, and portray that topic through dance.
“My topic was the devaluation and sexual exploitation of African American females in society and media,” senior Sara Alston said. “I chose it because it is a very touchy subject that not many people like or want to talk about, and it is also not a topic that people want to acknowledge that it is evident. I feel the effects of it personally, and I know a lot of other African American females my age do as well, so I felt the need to address it in some type of way to draw some questioning towards it because no one is talking about it.”
A range of different stories were told in the students’ projects.
“My old home was an abusive home,” senior Albert Green said, “so I feel like this topic is really something I can delve in and put a lot of my emotion and my experiences in throughout the whole thing.”
As the name implies, Dance Five Honors is a class where students release their creativity through the art of dance. This project, however, channels a different part of the dancers’ creativity; they would not be the ones dancing, but the ones producing the choreography.
Taking dancers out of their comfort zone made them look at the process of this project differently.
“The first challenge is looking at the dancers that you have to work with. It’s easier to choreograph yourself because you know your style and what you are capable of doing, but you don’t know what they are capable of doing,” Mrs. Haynes said. “So that’s the first challenge, is choreographing for their body types not for your body type.”
Students participating in the project were allowed to recruit others for the dancing. This allowed them to choose the proper dancers for their stories.
“I chose the dancers because I trust them a lot and I know that they are capable of doing everything that I asked,” senior Haley Plemmons said. “So instead of being a little tentative and having someone who I wasn’t really sure could handle it [do it], it was easier because I knew they could do it.”
Students were not limited to just dancers. They could use a variety of aids to get their story across to the audience.
“I could have chose to have someone come sing a song or play an instrument, use a prop or a voice recording, but I thought having a powerpoint would be easier,” Haley said. “It’s technology so I knew it would work.”
Because this project called for a more story-type dance style, everyone involved had to adjust to the differences from other styles.
“What’s different about this choreography instead of more abstract dance choreography is [that] it has to be able to portray the concept of domestic violence,” Albert said. “Instead of just having a turn there or a leap there, it had to be a hitting or some kind of connection that resembled domestic violence.”
Dance Five Honors is a class that prepares students and eases them into the groove of the types of situations they will encounter on the long road ahead of them.
“Dance five Honors has shaped me as a dancer because it makes you go the extra mile. We have different types of projects [than in Dance Four] where we have to take on leadership positions in order to complete a project,” Sara said. “We have a lot of extra things to do, like paper work to even qualify to complete this course. It just really has taught me dedication and hard work because none of this came easy, which is how it is in life. But I just appreciate being pushed and challenged, which is what this course is all about.”