Dance Concert Lands on a Visceral Level

This year’s annual Rowland Hall dance concert titled, “Ground,” featured 87 Rowland Hall students, ages 11 to 18, and dance forms ranging from ballet to modern to hip-hop. The evening began with a high-speed chase throughout the theatre and culminated in an intimate reflection on dancers’ experiences of joy, sadness, and anger.
This performance engaged viewers with intimate and astonishing spoken narratives that framed each dance and talented performers who brought the stories to life.
For months, young performers enlivened the dance studio, propelling themselves through space with bungee cords, rolling off tables, interacting with large blowing fans, and creating a landscape of moving trees. It’s hard to imagine that this eclectic and high-energy process began with a group of teenagers scribbling in their journals on an empty stage.
According to Upper School dance teacher Sofia Gorder, “Our goal was for viewers to experience this concert as more than entertainment. These dancers boldly addressed the personal experience of living with a disability in a family, healing from traumatic illness, and finding a sense of identity once lost. The stories sought to deepen our own and the audiences’ understanding of these experiences on a visceral level. Our hope was that this performance live on in the hearts and minds of those who experienced it.”
Senior dancer Sophia Diehl said, “The theme, ‘Ground,’ was an investigation of personal experiences in which we were encouraged to share our stories through writing and movement. The task required us to confront our own fears, memories, and emotions and to ask questions about the greater human experience. How do we maintain a sense of self in a changing world? Where do we find meaning in the darkest or most joyful moments of our lives? Why do we matter?”
Those who attended the annual performance, perhaps found their own answers to those big questions and enjoyed a beautiful, thought-provoking evening of dance.

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