Photograph by Christina McCarthy
One of the most highly anticipated student shows at Berkeley High School (BHS) is the biannual Dance Production Show.
This year the show, which is composed of student choreographed pieces, is taking place on January 12, 13, 19, and 20. The show features fifteen different dances with the styles ranging from hip-hop to modern to ballet.
The show also highlights the Afro-Haitian dance class, with one Afro-Haitian dance performance included in the show.
Lily Gee, a senior at BHS, began dancing in the seventh grade and decided she wanted to be in Dance Production after watching one of their shows as a freshman.
“It just made me more passionate about dance and sparked something that made me really proud to be a part of a community where great dance was being created,” Gee said.
This year, Gee is choreographing a piece, called “Inhale, Exhale,” which she said she loves because it allows her to create art and work to find her niche as a dancer. For this upcoming show, Gee said she is most excited “to watch the dances from the wings and scream for my friends as they do what they do best and have the same happen to me.” Gee added that one of the most wonderful parts of Dance Production is the community they’ve built. Gee said Dance production has allowed her to make “really strong friendships with incredibly talented people” which she wouldn’t have met or talked to if it wasn’t for being in Dance Production.
Another Dance Production member, Timothy Marston, a junior at BHS, began dance when he was just five years old at Katie’s Dance Studio. Marston said dancing was the first form of expression that clicked for him.
“It gives me confidence and freedom to do whatever I want and forget about everything else,” he said. Marston knew instantly that he wanted to be in Dance production after seeing one of their shows while he was in middle school. Marston says one of the best aspects about being a part of such a great group of people is the family they have built over the last several months.
“I feel I’ve built connections with everyone and I can talk to everyone. Also there’s just no boundaries, like I can try anything I want and not feel worried about judgement,” Marston said. He added that the best part of Dance Production is being able to perform in front of the audience which, as he described, is “just an auditorium of fun.”
Grace Schafer Perry, a junior at BHS, choreographed a piece in this year’s winter Dance production show. The piece she choreographed is called “The Acid Rapper,” which is a piece of music by Chance The Rapper.
“I wanted to choreograph because I have always wanted to create a piece of my own. I was inspired by Chance and his unique sound to create unique movement,” Schafer Perry said.
When Schafer Perry described why she loves to dance, she said “it feels like I am speaking another language. Dance takes people to places where words can’t. When I’m dancing I can say whatever I want without talking at all. It makes me feel free.” Schafer Perry also said that this is the first time choreographing for many of the dancers, which means many of the dancers are nervous, but excited to express themselves in a way they haven’t before.
For many of the Dance Production members, dance is a big part of their life and identity. As senior Lily Gee said, “I love dance because it’s just become such an integral part of my life, from the friendships, the discipline, and the creative growth.”
As for the quality of the production, the dancers hit all the marks. With new lighting technology implemented into the little theater, the performances were larger than life. Shades of blues, fuchsias, and oranges illuminated the stage, emphasizing each acts artistic expression and showing the fluidity of dancers’ movements. The moves by the dancers were both explosive and subtle, demonstrating the skill and range of the dancers. Some of the choreography bursts with raw energy, filling the theater with life. Others opted for a more grounded approach to not overwhelm the senses.
BHS’s Dance Production has a reputation of demonstrating high skill and exhibiting the vast talent of students. This year undoubtedly continues the legacy of an exciting and must-watch show that will surely bring delight to all. So while you still have the chance, make sure to check out the Dance Production for a night of awe and excitement as you watch your peers execute their craft.