The Winter Dance Concert returns live to King Theatre on March 3 for a four-show run that includes about 70 students and a wide variety of dances.
The show, which will run for a Saturday matinee for the first time, features dance styles from all over the world, including hip hop, African, Indian, Irish step, Chinese fan dancing, and modern dance, said director and Performing Arts Department Chair Kelli Edwards. The last live Winter Dance Concert at Milton happened just before the school went remote in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic—in 2021, a smaller production was filmed and shared with the community.
“The cast has worked very hard this year and the student choreographers are so eager to share their work,” said senior dancer and choreographer Audrey Volpe ’22. “We’ve waited two years to get back on stage for a live dance concert and we’re so excited for everyone to come to the show.”
Volpe, who has trained in ballet for 15 years, said participating in the concert has helped her branch out and try new styles, including Irish step and Chinese fan dancing. This year, she has choreographed a contemporary dance to the song “Fix You” by Coldplay, with the theme of personal connections.
“It’s about helping the people you care about through their personal struggles. I wanted to experiment with partnering and telling a compelling story where people connect and rely on each other to thrive,” she said. “Dance concert season is my favorite time of the year because so many people from different backgrounds and different levels of experience come together and create an outstanding show.”
“Having everyone back in person and having the ability to interact with the cast face to face (or mask to mask) has been fantastic,” said Aoidin Salmon ’22, who has choreographed an Irish dance for the concert. Salmon, a competitive Irish step dancer, decided this year to “go with more modern music and storyline. My dance follows the theme of a ‘take-off’ taking place.”
Taking the lead as a choreographer has been a good challenge, Salmon said. Similarly, Vivian Gao ’22, a lifelong dancer with a background in ballet and Chinese folk dance, said “The best part of choreographing has been getting to know the dancers on a different level. In my rehearsals, I try to have moments where the cast as a whole comes up with movements for a section of music. Making it collaborative has helped me know the cast not just as students but as artists.”
Gao’s dance mixes Chinese traditional fan dance—a style with more than 2,000 years of history—with modern dance.
“I see my dance as a symbol of community,” she said. “The 11 dancers are like petals to a flower that, despite having moments of disharmony, are still part of a larger group.”
The Winter Dance Concert opens in King Theatre on Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m., with additional shows Friday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, March 5 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Reserve tickets online. Audience members must wear masks inside campus buildings at all times.