The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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Another Year “On Pointe”: Inside the Spring Dance Concert


The Spring Dance Concert, a showcase of Poly’s Upper and Middle School Dance Program, was held on April 12 and 13. Students who participate in Dance at Poly perform an array of pieces, each dance showing off the dancers and representing them as skilled performers. Sam Turner, the Upper School Dance Teacher, choreographed all of the Upper School dances in the show. Turner shared that his initial vision for his choreography was “to create movement phrases and then make those phrases into bigger, cut pieces of composition.” More specifically, Turner came up with the idea to create a three-act composition titled “Dreamscape,” encompassing three different dreams in three contemporary pieces. The first dream, he describes, “is being lulled to sleep,” and the second, “a foggy dream on the ocean with sunsets and clouds.” His vision was to make the piece “a soothing sense of sleep before you enter your realm stage,” which is the third dream. The third dream is “a little bit more color and a little bit more jazzy,” the kind of dream where once you wake up, “you knew you had a really awesome dream but you really can’t remember all the details, but you do remember what it felt like.” For the other class pieces, Turner used old pieces of repertoire that he had previously choreographed, creating a portfolio where the students can reflect on the established skills that they have learned.

In addition to choreography and music, costumes capture the essence and mood of each dance. After going through the fitting and alteration process, Turner ensured that each costume “fit the piece as well as the whole three-act selection to make it cohesive.” Costumes ranged from blue two-piece sets that flowed, fitting the ocean theme of their dance, to sequin pants to match the upbeat jazz piece. Turner wished to highlight the dancers in multiple ways, pushing them to “accentuate their line” and heighten “the movement that they are doing.” Turner also made specific music selections to accompany each dance. He connected with several songs he had been listening to during the summer. When he saw the movement to these pieces of music, he “paired each class with those pieces, and it transcended all from that.” The music created a mood that could then evolve during the choreographing process. 

The senior dance was created in only two weeks and was the last piece to be created out of the entire show. Turner shares that because we have many seniors in the advanced dance program, he “wanted to do something special for them so they had a piece just featuring them.” He was inspired by a dance he had choreographed ten years ago, as well as concepts from two documentaries by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Ohad Naharan that had seated positions with movement. In addition, he had inspiration from a choreographer in Israel who had the dancers in a semicircle in chairs. Turner shares that “with those three concepts,” he built a piece to “show [the students] off with their capabilities and their skill set.” The meaning behind the dance is that we are all human beings which he describes as “flesh and blood and bones with these minds that drive us forward,” connecting to how the seniors are leaving Poly and entering the world. For costumes, he chose a skeletal shirt with a sequin heart on its chest, illustrating said idea of universal humanity.

Turner explains the many highlights of creating the concert. What he particularly enjoys is when pieces that were rehearsed by classes separately come together. For example, “Neverland Is Home” is a two-class piece. Turner found it “very interesting” how, when we came together on stage during a tech rehearsal, his expectation of disaster was proved otherwise. He saw “everyone keep their relative spacing while keeping their movement qualities together.” Additionally, by show time, everyone has a common mindset that “we all need to sync up right before we go on stage,” and those successful moments are prominent highlights in the creating process. 

There are many hopes for what the Poly community takes away from the Spring Dance Concert. Many of the students in the dance program are also athletes, actors, singers, and more. Turner emphasizes that “sometimes the dance program or the arts program gets a little lost behind some of the other strengths the school has.” He wishes to show the people coming to the performance that the students who are sports players “come on stage and are just as strong in dance as they are and those other things that they do at Poly.” It is a hope that dance can be supported and represented in both an athletic dynamic and an artistic mindset.

From a student perspective, Eve Harris ‘26 shares her experience being in the Spring Dance Concert and being in three different dances. She shares that being in three dances was “definitely a little stressful” as “it’s a lot of responsibility to learn a lot of different dances in a really short amount of time,” however, “overall it’s fun with the environment that is very supportive.” In addition, she mentions the highlights of being in the performance. Both Turner and Harris communicated how rewarding the sense of accomplishment is when you are done and when everything comes together. What she hopes the Poly community takes away from the show is that “we are talented and we try really hard while working together to make something beautiful for the Poly community.”

The Spring Dance concert, although not discussed heavily among the school community, is an important moment for the representation of dance at Poly. The students who may be viewed as athletes, musicians, singers, etc. get the opportunity to present themselves as dancers, expanding their range of capability. With the choreography, lighting, costumes, and more, the performing arts community at Poly worked extremely hard to put together a fantastic performance.

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