The Record

Horace Mann Dance Company presents… Emotion in Motion

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Damali O'Keefe (12), Akida Joseph (11), Arriana Serrano (12), and Allison DeRose (11) perform in

Damali O'Keefe (12), Akida Joseph (11), Arriana Serrano (12), and Allison DeRose (11) perform in "Jealousy."

Abigail Kraus/Photo Editor

Abigail Kraus/Photo Editor

Damali O'Keefe (12), Akida Joseph (11), Arriana Serrano (12), and Allison DeRose (11) perform in "Jealousy."

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The audience quiets down in suspense of the beginning of the show. As the song “Incomplete” by James Bay plays in the background, five dancers perform a contemporary piece embodying the feeling of imperfection.

The Horace Mann Dance Company (HMDC) has been choreographing, learning, and rehearsing seventeen different dance routines since September in preparation for the Student Choreographed Dance Concert, titled “Emotion in Motion,” which runs from January 25th to 27th.

This year, the HMDC decided to center its show around emotions. Every number is based off of a different feeling, ranging from sadness to confidence to nostalgia, according to Alison DeRose (11).

Co-Presidents of the HMDC Lauren Smith (12) and Juli Moreira (11) have been preparing for the concert since the beginning of the year, Smith said.

The auditioning process for “Emotion in Motion” began in October, and sign-ups for choreographers and dancers started even earlier than that, Emily Yu (11) said.

Since then, the students in the company have been rehearsing during their frees, after school, and during a dance intensive trip to Dorr.

“The trip to Dorr was especially helpful for solidifying choreography and teaching dances to the group,” Grace Hill (12) said.

DeRose said that one of the amazing things about the Student Choreographed Dance Concert concert is that it was open to the entire Upper Division student body, including freshman and first-time dancers.

“It’s a really great opportunity that it is open to everyone and there are many dances that are different levels of difficulty. I think that this gives people the opportunity to grow a lot,” Yana Gitelman (9) said.

In addition, anyone who wants to choreograph can, De Rose said.

“This was my first year as a choreographer. I was a dancer for freshman and sophomore year. The whole process of creating something is kind of stressful, especially to have other people performing it too,” Yu said.

Hill knew that she wanted to choreograph something for this year’s dance concert since the end of last year’s performance, she said. She and her friend, Lutie Brown (12), are performing a tap duet that embodies joy, she said.

Akida Joseph (11) found that the most challenging aspect of choreographing was making something that would flow perfectly for a variety of dancers, she said.

Joseph’s biggest struggle during the process was creating a routine that would look good for a lot of different types of dancers with a wide variety of skill level or specific talents, she said.

“I’d say for my piece specifically, getting it to flow was difficult. I had to work really hard on working out how long to hold things and arm and leg placement; and with flow comes figuring out timing, because different people have different senses of timing,” Yu said.

The HMDC has many contemporary pieces this year, meaning that outfits mainly consist of leotards with skirts and dresses, Yu said.

Joseph’s dance, titled “Jealousy,” is choreographed to a song from the movie Oz. To keep with this theme, the dancers wear green leotards with green overskirts over romantic bell tutus.

The HMDC decided that they would keep the set very simple and just have the back wall and curtains of the dance studio.

In addition, the HMDC will be using the help of their lighting designer, Naomi Kenyatta (10), to help set the tone of the different emotions of the dances.

The experience of working together to prepare for the concert has had a very positive impact on the dancers, DeRose said.

“My experience preparing for the concert has been really great as a freshman and also as someone who is new to the school. Going in I didn’t know a lot of people, so just socially I have been able to become closer with a lot of upperclassman,” Gitelman said.

The team became closer by working together on specific routines, Nisha Sahgal (11) said.

“I think that this year’s concert is going to be really good. Everyone’s just so prepared and I feel like the dances this year have a lot more depth which I think is due to the topic this year, Emotion in Motion, because it really makes everything much more sincere,” Yu said.

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Horace Mann Dance Company presents… Emotion in Motion