Spring Dance Concert 2016 Review


Gina Napolitano, Staff Writer

Upon entering the gymnasium on the evening of Friday, May 6, there was an arch of colorful boxes that welcomed visitors to the show. The room had been completely transformed.  Each box attached to the arch was the folded up, abstracted name of each student that had studied art that semester.  The setup had been carefully crafted by art teachers Jo-Ann Hastings and Jenna McNerney, with creative input from the students.  Many pieces of work were on display, in mediums including ink, water colors, and cartooning.  “It all came together almost the way I imagined it,”  said an enthusiastic Hastings. “The theme was thinking outside the box.”  And all the students

“It all came together almost the way I imagined it,”  said an enthusiastic Hastings. “The theme was thinking outside the box.”  And all the students did, in fact, think outside the box, in both literal and metaphorical ways.  The artwork was like none I’ve ever seen at MacDuffie- it was unique, and the sculpting and pointillism involved in some of the pieces must have been time-consuming.  The students were dedicated, and with the encouragement and advice from McNerney and Hastings, the art show was a great success.

      This year’s dance performance featured student choreographers, guest choreographer Candice Salyers, and dance teacher Angie Muzzy’s expertise.  “We are lucky that Ms. Muzzy put so much work into the dance concert,” said Senior Morgahn Rys, “and that I was able to enjoy myself one last time.”  Rys was not alone in the celebration of her final concert at the school.  There were 15 seniors that participated in the show this year, and the community will miss their vast talents.  Senior Carlos Gonzalez, who participated in a riveting duet with his sister Carina Gonzalez, MacDuffie Class of 2012, says the most enjoyable part of the concert for him was “proving to myself that I could do something I didn’t think I could do.”  

     There was also a strong friendship formed between the dancers, as explained by Senior Conor Cronin.  The most enjoyable part of the concert for him was “the family camaraderie and the bond that we built in the months together; an all-around good vibe.”  Seven-year senior Suzette Appiah had a good time with her final performance at the school as well, saying her favorite part of the process was “being able to rehearse with my class because we all had our own personalities and made everything fun.”

      There was also a lot of backstage work involved, including help from Junior Florence Tshimanga, math teacher Caleb Parsons, Sophomore Victor Godoy, Junior Courtney Hurley, and sophomore Khaylen Mahdi.  Tshimanga’s favorite part of the concert was “dancing backstage!”  And Hurley loved “getting to see the show multiple times.”  Throughout the months of hard work, Muzzy took pleasure in “teaching everyone moving material that was in my pieces and seeing them transform my work.  Seeing student choreographers put their work together and seeing their final products–working with everyone is so great.  I really enjoy the process.”  

      At 7:30 p.m, the dance concert began.  It started with an elegant interpretation of Salyer’s piece.  As mentioned by Muzzy at the beginning of the show, there was a commentary on social issues present throughout most of the choreography.  Spectacular lighting added to the audience’s experience, which was inarguably a positive one.  The costuming was well put together as well, with some dances using the same costume for everyone involved, and others varying the clothing while staying with the same color scheme.  In many of the group pieces, single dancers were featured for allotments of the song, allowing individuals to be highlighted.  

      Chaos and harmony were flawlessly combined through synchronization and lack thereof during many dances, in particular the almost 20-minute group work that featured three of Muzzy’s classes.  The concert also included fascinating song choices, some of which were in different languages and of many separate genres.  Concise footwork and fluid motions were essential in making this concert come together, and these were best exemplified by Junior Cassidy Polga and Senior Luana Silveira.  Students seemed to personify different emotions and experiences that many people will go through in their lives.  

      This was especially prevalent in the piece choreographed by Senior Jane Bannish, where all of the performers wrote nasty names and labels on their bodies while dancing to the song ‘Til it Happens to You by Lady Gaga.  There were also some pieces that looked as though they were trying to portray both physical and emotional violence, such as The Imperfect Giver and Hide and Speak.

      While there were many solemn expressions of social issues and unrequited love, such as in the number choreographed by Junior Whitney Peng, there were also more lighthearted pieces.  In one number, French and Spanish teacher Gloria Caballero joined bored students in a classroom that were just counting down the days to summer.  Senior Zehra Bayazitoglu and Sophomore Kayla Deecher created a fantastic trio of excitement with Caballero with their shimmering shirts and smiling faces.   

      In the finale, six seniors who gleefully leaped across the floor to the tune of WTF Were They From by Missy Elliott.  Each girl in the dance had a sassy nickname sewn onto the back of their shirts, ranging from Jay-B (Jane Bannish) to Mister (Morgahn Rys).  The collaboration necessary to make that athleticism, flexibility, and energy happen was immense.  During the bows, all of the students looked pleased and excited by all of the fun they were having.  Their focus was evident on their faces during the dances- I only wish that they had shown more emotion while performing.  That being said, the more joyful dances elicited greater reactions from all of the dancers.  If there were any mistakes, I certainly didn’t notice them!
      With so many students in our community involved, the school felt very close-knit that night.  The effort of about 50 students and faculty members, not to mention all of the artists exhibited in the art show, came together to create a night of well-prepared performances. I greatly enjoyed myself, and by the cheers and claps from the audience on both nights, they did as well.  A special thanks to the seniors, and everyone who had a hand in putting this night of artistic expression together.  

Dance concert

Tira Xia