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Dance Company’s ‘spirited’ performance captivates and enthralls

Eshaan Mani
The Dance Company performs guest choreographer Ms. Lina Yeh’s traditional Chinese dance piece.

Students took part in the Dance Company’s performance of “Feel the Spirit” this weekend, tying in various cultures and dance styles. 

One of the most memorable pieces I watched was “Sweet Sweet Spirituals,” which incorporated unique moves and live singing performed by Encore.

This piece was choreographed by Upper School dance teacher Mrs. Danyale Williams based on her personal experiences.

 “I have a background in liturgical dance, so when you say spirit to me, that is what comes first,” Mrs. Williams said. 

For me, the piece was most enjoyable to watch because the dancers were mainly freshmen who are my classmates. 

Senior dancer Catherine Moursund said that this dance was unique because it was the first of its kind at Kinkaid.

“This is the first time apprentices have had a piece of their own inside the show,” she said. “The songs are hymns sung by the enslaved people in North America.”

Singers and musicians also accompanied the student dancers during the fall showcase. 

Dance teacher Ms. Anjaly Thakkar’s piece, “Transcendent Energy,” included a live performance of “Stay” by Rihanna, sung by senior Claire Hartung with a piano accompaniment from senior Julia Nguyen and tabla by freshman Rohan Shah. 

Moursund said that the dance, which was the first of the showcase, was about the spirits of ancestors. 

“It explores the feelings of having our ancestors watching over us and the stir fry of the American dream,” she said. “There are three groups of dancers. We have the eldest generation who’s on pointe, the middle generation, or the student, and then you have the youngest generation who’s begging their ancestors to stay with me.”

Using Kinkaid talent throughout all aspects of this dance was really unique to watch. In “River Deep Mountain High,” Tina Turner’s vocals mix with the melodies of senior Patrick Riley’s guitar and freshman Maureen Min’s violin.

Another piece that stood out to me for its spooky nature was “A Haunted Aura,” performed by intermediate dancers. 

“We’re going to have Mason Howes come on stage again; he was Michael Myers last year for the intermediate dance, and now he’s going to be the Man with the Red Right Hand,” Moursund said. 

Like every fall showcase, “Feel the Spirit” included a piece performed by the entire Dance Company and choreographed by a guest. This year’s guest choreographer was Ms. Lina Yeh, an expert in traditional Chinese dance. 

Before Ms. Yeh’s piece, which closed out the second act of the showcase, a short video was played displaying the rehearsals that went into the number and the meaning behind that particular dance. 

Ms. Yeh based her piece on her Chinese heritage and personal story in dance. She said the dance was meant to show the blooming of cherry blossoms in the winter.

“It is important for dancers to know not just different styles of dance, but different cultures as well,” Ms. Yeh said in the video. 

I was captivated by the almost-rippling effect of the dancers’ moves and the serene, traditional music.

After months of rehearsal, including two grueling tech weeks, all the dancers’ hard work came to life in a beautiful performance. 

Sitting among the audience during the Sunday afternoon show, I was mesmerized.

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About the Contributors
Zoe An, Staff Writer
Eshaan Mani
Eshaan Mani, Editor-in-Chief
Eshaan Mani serves as the editor-in-chief of The Falcon. This is his fourth year on staff. When not 'journalizing,' Eshaan is championing World Update Club and South Asian Heritage Club, managing his wellness website WellBase, shooting or watching films, listening to Bollywood music, spending time with friends on campus, or playing an Indian drum called the dhol. 

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