Latin, African, Irish, Hip-Hop and Contemporary Dance: The Winter Concert Has It All

danceRobert Skinner (Class I) likens the campus-favorite Winter Dance Concert to a new episode of a beloved television series.

“There may be some familiar styles of dancing year after year, but the concert brings entirely different components with the choreography, new dancers, costumes and storylines,” Robert says. “It’s fun to see people performing a style of dance you never thought they would do, and it’s even better to see them performing that dance well.”

Dancers, choreographers and tech crews have worked hard throughout the season to put together a show that combines a rich variety of performance styles, says Robert, who balanced preparing for the Dance Concert with playing varsity basketball this winter. “It can be challenging because of the limited amount of time we have to practice and perfect the choreography together,” he says. “Balancing multiple activities with academics can get hectic at times, but the end result is worth it.”

Lucheyla Celestino (Class I) has been participating in the dance concert since her freshman year. Lucheyla is participating in seven dances and stretching beyond her comfort zone for her final Winter Dance Concert.

“Learning choreography that I am not necessarily used to has been a challenge,” she says. “The dances have taken a physical toll because I’m dancing, on average, 16 hours a week. Learning to take better care of my body and accepting the athleticism involved in dance has made me a better dancer.”

The challenges involved in putting on such a complex program pale in comparison with the joys, Lucheyla says. “Rehearsals are a good place to have fun and meet new people. The community built around the dance concert is one of the main reasons it is such huge event on campus. So many families and friends come to support the cast, and that is always heartwarming. The hard work the dancers put into the show translates beautifully on the stage, and I am extremely grateful that the Milton community acknowledges how amazing that is.”

This year’s numbers include Latin, African, Irish, modern, hip-hop and contemporary dance. New this year is a traditional Ukrainian folk dance, choreographed by a student from the Ukraine.

Approximately 70 dancers are taking part in this year’s Winter Dance Concert, along with six to ten student tech crew members, says Kelli Edwards, performing arts department chair and dance instructor. There are 16 dances, two of which are choreographed by faculty; one originated in a class, and the rest are student-choreographed. Science faculty member Kevin Moy choreographed the introductory dance, a big performance involving 24 dancers.

For the dance that she choreographed, Kelli asked Zan Huang (II) to compose some music—he ended up writing a piece for a string quartet, which will be performed live during the dance concert.

“We’ve been going back and forth, and I’ve worked on the dance in sections as the music comes along,” Kelli says. “It’s been interesting and great, but also challenging. It’s a very different thing to perform with live music, and I think that will be valuable for the students involved.”

The Winter Dance concert opens Thursday, February 28, at 7:30 p.m. in King Theatre, and runs Friday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 2, at 7 p.m.

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