Putting a New Spin on the Spring Dance Concert

Sadie Schoenberger, Arts Editor

On Saturday, April 15th, Poly’s Dance Department had its annual Spring Dance Concert— this year with a twist. As the theater continues to undergo construction for the new Arts Building, Upper and Middle School Dance Directors Ashley Hacker and Sam Turner utilized Poly’s twenty-six-acre campus and turned it into their stage. Audience members traveled to many locations, including the Theatre, the Quad, and the Novogratz Gym to watch dance numbers ranging from Seventh Grade Dance to Advanced Upper School Dance perform. 


“Because the dance concert includes grades seven through twelve, there are always partnerships and supports we seek every year ranging from operationally getting the show on its feet, collaborating with Mr. Higham on lighting, and soliciting faculty helpers to manage students before they go on stage,” explained Hacker, the middle and upper School dance, debate, & drama coordinator. “This year we had to call on the community in a vastly different way.”


“Construction was the driving force pushing Mr. Turner and I to creatively problem solve and explore different avenues for the concert — there was just not enough space to house all of our dancers backstage for the entirety of the performance,” Hacker said. “Our conversations about the concert actually began right after last year’s dance concert and continued evolving as we navigated our first few theater productions. As we planned, we talked to a wide variety of folks — visual and performing arts faculty to include their works, operational staff to figure out what we could and couldn’t achieve, the athletics department members to get a sense of space, Chef Lou to nourish us, the division heads and many others to get clearance, gather feedback and solidify the shows’ progression.” 


“As you can imagine, we were met with a lots of questions — this is something no one has ever tried before on our campus! But Poly is a supportive community and we’ve had phenomenal assistance along the way. I am beyond thankful to work with such brilliant and caring colleagues,” Hacker continued. 


Another new component to the Spring Dance Concert is Kim Griffin, the costume designer for Poly’s plays and musical productions. “This year we were lucky to also collaborate with Ms. Griffin on the dance costumes, tailoring our vision in a way that has never been accessible before because of our production timeline,” said Hacker. “She’s a complete joy to work with and the costumes will be a true representation of each piece and the students involved.”


“I believe that dance is a universal language, where words aren’t necessary when you listen to the beat of your heart. In middle school, my students and I spend a lot of time exploring how dance exists in other continents and cultures, serving as a wonderful reminder that dance occurs everywhere — not just on a proscenium stage — and for a multitude of reasons. Mr. Turner and I took a look around our vast campus and were driven to remind our students and audience members of that concept,” said Hacker. “We were inspired by spaces and excited about altering viewing vantage points for our audience members, resulting in the creation of incredible three dimensional works. This is also another way for Dance to be more integrated on campus — we thrive on supporting our community at events and assemblies and strive to continue our expansion in all directions on this campus.”OK SILENCE in the oval- student band