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Fine Arts Week dance concert expresses student artwork and photography through movement

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This year, Advanced Dance decided to spice up their usual Fine Arts Week performance by incorporating other forms of artistic expression into their dance pieces. Dance teacher Michelle Jensen drew inspiration from artwork by senior Tessa Vermeulen and photography by senior Nate Swanson.

Photo by Nate Swanson
Senior Tessa Vermeulen (right) explains her artwork titled “Shine On,” inspired by the Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”

“It’s so exciting to be a part of the creative process that incorporates so many different types of art,” senior Emma Phillips said.

The concert opened with “Shine On” a dance inspired by Vermeulen’s artwork, which was inspired by the Pink Floyd song. The dancers captured the artistry of Vermeulen’s vision and depicted the passion and energy that was put into the painting.

Photo courtesy of Tessa Vermeulen
Vermeulen’s artwork, inspired by “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, used as inspiration for Advanced Dance’s piece.

“For my 12 piece concentration series in AP Art, I decided I wanted each work to be inspired by a song that means something to me,” Vermeulen said. “The art that was used for this dance is based on what I imagine when I listen to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd.”

Photo by Nate Swanson
York’s Advanced Dance class performs their dance that was inspired by Vermeulen’s artwork.

“I tried to capture the surreal mood of the song while leaving the exact meaning of the image up to the viewer’s interpretation,” Vermeulen said. “I was thrilled when it was selected for this dance project and I was amazed at how the dancers somehow brought my imagination to life just by seeing the art.”

Following Tessa’s dance, a piece inspired by Nate’s photograph of a girl with a red umbrella, duplicated in a Fibonacci Sequence was performed.

Photo by Nate Swanson
Swanson’s photograph, based on the Fibonacci Sequence, that was used as inspiration for the Advanced Dance gestural piece.

“The dance that interpreted my photo had me in awe,” Swanson said. “My photograph featured duplications of my subject in my piece, and the way that the dance used the same idea with a pair of twins that mimicked each other’s movements was hauntingly accurate to how I would have depicted the dance to be like.”

Photo by Nate Swanson
Two members from Advanced Dance use a red umbrella as their main prop for their interpretation of senior Nate Swanson’s photo.

The dancers dressed in all black with a bright red umbrella used as an eye catching prop, mimicking the picture. The dance was centered around the umbrella and the idea of repetition and gesture- based movement.

“The way they used the umbrella and the idea of the Fibonacci Sequence that I kept in mind for my piece was unbelievably creative,” Swanson said. “And I have so much respect for the dance department for putting together such a creative dance in such a short amount of time.”

Photo by Nate Swanson
Advanced Dance performs their interpretation of Senior Nate Swanson’s photo.”

The dancers were given 23 movements to make into their own sequences, which were combined to create the dance as a whole.

“The dance was really interesting because it was the same movements over and over, but they were put together in a way that always kept it fresh and interesting and never got boring,” sophomore Julia Stone said.

Intermediate dance also performed a piece choreographed by Mrs. S, based off of a 3-D piece created by York alum Reilly Winters.

Photo by Nate Swanson
Junior Jake Rehling (right) and sophomore Ari Denning circle each other during Intermediate’s dance performance.

“Intermediate dance is so fun,” junior Jake Rehling said. “Mrs. S is a great teacher and really pushes us to do well. We were given the opportunity to dance in fine arts week this year which was really fun!”

Photo by Nate Swanson
Senior Ella Glabus performs her solo piece that was created by York Dance Company.

Senior Ella Glabus performed a solo taken from YDC choreography and a native Chicago guest artist, Aaron, was featured performing improv to junior Sam Uditsky’s photograph during the concert.

Photo by Nate Swanson
A professional dancer, native to Chicago, improvises his dance that was inspired by junior Sam Uditsky’s photograph.

The audience reaction to the dance concert was overwhelmingly positive. Many teachers were pleased to have been a part of this concert who have not gotten to see dance perform in the past. The students were proud to see the skills and talents of their fellow classmates all come together.

“It was so cool to see my friends express themselves through dance,” senior Regina Hughes said. “It was great to see all of the hard work they put into it pay off.”

Photo by Nate Swanson
“I really enjoyed “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” because of how it imitated Tessa’s art piece,” senior Grace Vincent (center) said. “I loved dancing in it and working on it every day with the Advanced Dance class.”

Overall, everyone who watched and participated in the Fine Arts Week dance concert had an excellent experience and are excited to perform again shortly in Tuesday’s York Dance Company concert.

“I would encourage other guys to do dance at York,” Rehling said. “Some people might think it’s weird but dance is really fun and interesting! I would highly recommend for anyone interested in dance or theater.

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About the Writer
Isabelle Dyer, Features Editor
Isabelle Dyer is a senior, and this is her first year on staff as Features Editor.  She is involved in Drama, Concert Choir, and York Dance Company, so you will mostly find her in the Performing Arts department. She loves watching Netflix and hanging with her friends. Fun Fact: she has a black pug named...
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Fine Arts Week dance concert expresses student artwork and photography through movement