April often makes people think of warmer weather or the impending end of yet another school year. However, for the dancers in Poly Prep’s community, April is the culmination of their entire year of hard work and endless practice as well as their final opportunity to come together and display their talents to their friends and family. Poly’s 22nd annual spring dance concert shocked and impressed the Poly community through its showcase of a vast array of styles of dance. From ancient Egyptian to contemporary to Afro-Caribbean, this year’s dance concert gave the dancers and their audiences the chance to travel through different cultures and time periods as they witnessed the dancers’ interpretations of technical styles of dance.
Poly’s spring dance concert is one of the unique occasions during which the middle school and upper school come together to showcase their talents for the Poly community. The spring dance concert often acts as a bridge for middle school students into their future years as a member of Poly’s performing arts community. The middle school students are given a chance to see how successful of a dancer they can become in a few years if they continue to dance, making the dance concert is often a place where talents are refined and passion is discovered.
Directors Danielle Bensky and Ashley Hacker not only organized the presentation and message of this year’s concert, but also choreographed most of the pieces that were performed. Together, they used their extensive experience in the world of dance to teach the dancers the very technical methods behind dance and push the dancers toward exploring the elements that go into creating an entire dance from just a song.
“With Ms. Pollock gone halfway through the year, Ms. Bensky was able to take control of the dance concert and it really showed through our performances,” said senior Eva Williamson-Kanter. “I truly enjoyed working with Ms. Bensky, and I think our final dances showed her hard work.”
The dance concert offered several students the opportunity to express their leadership skills and creative sides as choreographers. Seniors Ana Reyes and Olivia Whitmer led the Dance Team in their renditions of Bishop Briggs’ River and seniors Shakaa Chaiban, Lotoya Francis and Kayla Williams led Poly Prep’s Step Team in their piece titled Legacy of 18. Both groups, as well as Poly’s African Dance and Drum Club, were supported and advised by French and Spanish teacher Angela Gittens.
“It has truly been a labor of love working as the adviser to the Poly African Dance & Drum Club, for which I also serve as their resident choreographer, and the Step and Dance Teams,” Gittens said. “While this year was especially challenging due to the need to balance each of the club schedules, the senior co-captains each used their skills as leaders and their talents as dancers to organize rehearsals and help the groups shine onstage. And what a delight getting to know Bensky who led the way with her artistic vision for the concert!”
The ending of the spring dance concert is always bittersweet. Poly’s dance community is finally rewarded for their year of hard work. However, the community must say goodbye to many talented and passionate senior dancers. Although saying goodbye to the senior dancers is very difficult, the dance community at Poly is always hopeful that it will welcome another new year of skilled dancers and creative minds.