When Upper School dance teacher Florence “Flo” Walker-Harris introduced her Advanced Dance students for the Live Virtual Dance Project Performance, she indicated the performance to follow would represent all their creativity and the importance of their journey to get there. Working in groups, students created a context narrative and performance in response to one of two prompts: the first was to create a time capsule of sorts indicating what they would say to someone in 100 years, while the second addressed the evolution of 2020 as a whole.
Each of the three groups chose their own music, choreography and costuming for the Zoom-based performance. Topics and themes included the use of face masks, impactful events and deep feelings that have encapsulated this tumultuous period of time.
Students presented their pieces, which depicted a wide variety of intensity and emotion, with poise and grace. Junior Isabelle Biehler and sophomore Nariya Cooke used specific downward and upward movement to demonstrate the duality of dealing with tragic events and coming together as a community to get through them.
The class itself had to come together to create these performances in a different way due to remote learning. Walker-Harris noted that, in a typical year, students would have seen what other groups were doing, but due to remote learning, this was the first time any other people had seen each of the performances. This circumstance allowed for true individuality in the choreography and, as many members of the audience and Walker-Harris pointed out, meant the students showed true growth during their semester in Advanced Dance.
After each group performed, Walker-Harris acknowledged the challenges of creating choreography remotely and said to the students, “I am thrilled and elated because I was really looking for you guys to step it up, and you’ve done that.”
Advanced Dance aims to deepen the connection between movement and social content, while immersing students in a world where athleticism and artistic vision meet. This course is another example of how Parker strives to empower each individual of our community with hope and possibility as it seeks purpose and meaning through its content and methods of learning.