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Advanced Dance puts on dance concert in Black Box studio featuring York Dance Company

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On Wed. Nov. 8th, the Advanced Dance class put on a dance show in the Black Box dance studio featuring choreography from teachers Anna Sapozhnikov and Michelle Jensen, along with two dances from York Dance company. The show was choreographed by student teacher Annie Pinta and guest choreographer Ruthie Picha.

The movement featured in the three Advanced Dance pieces differ in each piece, ranging from upbeat swing dancing, to movement based modern, and even distorted abstract dance. All of the students find ways to put themselves into the dances and express their emotions differently.

Photo by Nate Swanson
YDC Company 1 dancers danced a routine choreographed by Ruthie Picha. Nov. 8, 2017

“Our students learn different ways of expressing themselves through movement,” said dance teacher, Anna Sapozhnikov. “Sometimes that movement is literal and tells a story, and sometimes that movement is more abstract, and both are equally as important.”

The concert began with York Jazz Band performing “Blues to Begin With” by Bill Liston, followed by the band also accompanying the first piece, a swing dance to “Jump, Jive ‘An Wail” by Louis Prima. The dance was upbeat, joyous, and told a story emulating the 1920’s jazzy feel. For many dancers, storytelling is a huge part of why they love to dance, and being in Advanced Dance is the best part of their school day.

Photo by Nate Swanson
Swing dancers about to “sugar” during the dance to “Jump, Jive ‘An Wale”. Nov. 8, 2017

“I love being in the dance program not only because you don’t have to take a regular PE class, but I get to start out my day with doing what I love most.” Junior Kendall Vorel said.

Others love the class because of the hardworking, passionate teachers that make the dance program as talented as it is. Although Sapozhnikov teaches semester one Advanced Dance, semester two teacher, Michelle Jensen, choreographed one of the pieces in the show: She created, “Quelqu’un m’a dit – Frenchie” which transported the audience to France, with the graceful movements and gestures, along with the stunning costume choice of blue cap sleeved shirts and berets. The show would not have dazzled the audience without these two talented teachers.

Photo by Nate Swanson
“Quelqu’umn m’a dit – Frenchie” was originally choreographed by Jensen in 2009, and reset to show in this year’s dance concert. Nov. 8, 2017

“[Mrs. S] is one of my favorite dance teachers I’ve ever had,” sophomore Isabella Panzeca said.

Along with Mrs. S’s advanced dance students, York Dance Company (YDC) also contributed two dances; Company 1 performing “Smooth Sailing”, a jazz piece choreographed by Ruthie Picha (alumni 2011), and Company 2 performing “Chin Up” choreographed by student teacher Annie Pinta.

Photo by Nate Swanson
The YDC Company 1 dancers leap across the floor during “Smooth Sailing”. Nov. 8, 2017

Photo by Nate Swanson
YDC Company 2 members curl up on the floor during a dramatic dance number. Nov. 8, 2017

“Our dance is such a powerful movement entailing jazz and modern styles,” Grace Weinstein,  junior and Company 1 member, said. “YDC is such a family and we all have so much fun.”

In addition to the YDC collaboration, the concert also included two guest performers. Sarah Anil (alumni 2017) performed a self-choreographed piece, “Radha NaChegi”, and dancers from the Chicago Repertory Ballet, John Cartwright and Miriam-Rose LeDuc, performed “Duet(2)”.

Photo by Nate Swanson
Miriam-Rose DeLuc and partner John Cartwright perform a ballet duet. Nov. 8, 2017

Photo by Nate Swanson
York Alum Sarah Anil strikes a pose during her self choreographed routine. Nov. 8, 2017

The audience reaction to the concert was spectacular. The show demonstrated all forms of dance and movement, which demonstrated for the audience what the dance program at York is all about. One dance that really stood out was the finale dance, “Little Neighborhood”, with its abstract movements, surprising and intriguing the audience members. This was also a favorite among the dancers.

Photo by Nate Swanson
Dancers split into two groups for “Little Neighborhood” as they take the dance to the floor. Nov. 8, 2017

“My favorite dance is the Little Neighborhood Piece (dolls),” junior Ashley Homolka said. “I think it’s so creepy and all of the movements are so different and weird, but when it all comes together it’s a super cool, abstract dance.”

Photo by Nate Swanson
The dancers pose like broken dolls for their entrance into “Little Neighborhood”. Nov. 8, 2017

All of the dancers shined last night in the black box studio, closing out the night with an exciting end to the showcase.

“Little Neighborhood (dolls) is my favorite dance because it tells a story, and yet it uses abstract movement, so in a way it’s such a great marriage of the two seemingly opposite ends of expression,” said Sapozhnikov.

Photo by Nate Swanson
Dancers celebrate 10 years of the dance program with cake. Nov. 8, 2017

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