Personal stories weaved into dance routines

Published 10:26 am Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Davie County Schools Art Smart Festival is Saturday, May 9 from 1-5 p.m. at Davie High School.

The Dance Department at Davie High will have its the end-of-year Spring Dance Concert, Thursday and Friday, May 14 and 15 at the Brock Performing Arts Center. Curtain is at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from a dancer or Terri Winchell at 751-5905, $6 in advance or $10 at the door. Children 10 years of age and under pay half price.

The dance concert is a variety show of original works choreographed primarily by the student dancers.

The Dance Company features seven seniors premiering their dances as partial requirement for course work: Katie Allison, Missy Cujas, Kirstie Hutchins, Katherine McGurn, Aspen Phillips and Savannah Priestley. The company also includes Caroline Bandy, Paige Berryhill, Jessica Boner, Lilli Butterfield, Tally Duke, McKenzie Folk, Jordan Hein, Madison Hooker, Mary Ellen LewisBrianna Lyons, Lauryn Mallard, Shariece Mance, Kayloa Moore, Faith Peterson, Morgan Sessoms, Kailan Thomas, Deanna Torres, Lexie Vaughn and Emily Wolverton.

“The senior dances are well crafted and very personal works,” said Terri Winchell, teacher. “The students have been working from a strictly disciplined calendar since March in order to present the dances this semester.”

It took three weeks for six seniors to teach their choreographies. Two seniors per week have shared space and time with approximately 36 minutes for each rehearsal period to complete their work, so they must be close to completely prepared to teach their choreography in such a short time. Their responsibilities also included cost-effective costuming, music choice, submission of a written proposal of intent, calendar management, and negotiating cast selection.

Katie Allison said: “My dance, ‘Uncovered View,’ is about incidents that seem terrible when they happen, but when you look back on them later, you see that they turn out to be a good thing. We start the dance by hearing about the bad news. Throughout the dance, our view on the news changes and we uncover a positive view. This dance has a personal connection for me, and I hope the audience and performers can relate to it, too.”

“My senior piece, ‘Kaitlyn,’ is about my sister and me throughout our childhood years,” said Kirstie Hutchins. “In the beginning, we are very young, and we are almost inseparable. Towards the middle of the piece, we become older and are a little more independent. Later, both of us start to face huge obstacles and realize we need to be there for each other and to help pick up one another during the hard times.

“My sister has been much more than just a sister to me,” Hutchins said. “I could not have asked for a better role model and best friend. I hope that the piece will show her how much she means to me.”

Paige Berryhill is the choreographer for “Anarchy.” “Here in America, we do not have to deal with dictatorship, no free rights, etc.,” she said. “My dance contrasts this with the image of a world with pure dictatorship, no rights or freedoms and violent, unlawful acts of authority to punish.”

Three select seniors have been accepted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and will receive their honor cords during the award ceremony Thursday evening after the concert. This distinction goes to Katie Allison, Katherine McGurn and Eavan Jennings, “all very special and dedicated students as dancers, choreographers, artists and leaders in dance as an art form,” Winchell said.

Students in the Dance Foundations and Dance Progressions classes voted for their favorite dances to be learned for the concert. Choreographers are: Sarah Stanley and Emily Gosnell; Jazmine Davis, Hannah Burroughs, Samantha Allred and Kayla Kirby; Brionna Speight and Xiia Tillman; and Shelby Gordy, Moriah Lane, Karly Turner and Catherine Whitley.

The opening number was created for the ArtSmart Festival and interweaves a tapestry of movement images from the economic concept of “interdependence,” an in-depth look at the strong women in their lives and the idea of tapestries, the theme of the ArtSmart.

“The students are not only learning about dance and movement but how to work together well, with respect, honoring a variety of differing opinions and suggestions,” she said. “This is a special group and I believe it will show on stage. Additionally, other classes are laying their first imprints of modern dance works making their way through their own journey into the arts that can change their lives.

“We are not just growing dancers we are growing a community,” Winchell said.