Annual DANCE/works Winter Show Inspires and Pays Tribute


Vera Targoff

Modern Dance Company’s dancers shone in the recent DANCE/works performance.

Cecilia Barron, Editor-in-Chief

On December 14th and 15th, parents, teachers, and students alike wrapped around the hallways of the Arts Building in order to get a seat for the always entertaining, always inspiring annual Modern Dance Company (MDC) Dance/Works show.

The culmination of a semester’s work, the showcase features dances from advanced dance classes, student choreographers, guest choreographers, and teacher choreographers. With dance styles ranging from modern to hip-hop and music ranging from Billie Eilish to the Willy Wonka soundtrack, there is always something for every audience member to connect to in each Dance/Works show.

Senior Emma Beaumont-Smith, a co-captain of MDC, touched on the independence MDC gives its members. “This was my second time choreographing, which made it a bit less stressful. It’s sometimes difficult to get everything exactly the way I want it, but the best part is seeing the movement I once imagined in my head come to life onstage—it’s so rewarding.”

Each dance takes hours of work and practice before it is shown to the hundreds of people who come to see the performances on the two nights it is onstage. While, as Beaumont-Smith mentioned, the rehearsals can be stressful, the best part about MDC is being in MDC: “MDC is much more than just a dance company, because it honestly feels like a family before anything else. While everyone is technically there to dance, people like myself who have been there for so long know that the community aspect is ultimately what is most important to the program,” Beaumont-Smith said. Senior Nia Callender, the other co-captain, also touched on the familial aspect of the dance company: “I just feel like a proud mama all the time!”

Ms. Divelbliss, one of the two dance teachers, added that this year, the dance program made concerted efforts to bring all the members together: “There was a lot of community-building and that was really lovely to see, from choreographers doing bonding activities with each class to a full company movie night.”

This show was especially moving to the MDC community, as it honored Richelle Robinson, a freshman who passed away this past summer. Robinson was an active, dedicated dancer in the company. Ribbons were handed out in the lobby before, during, and after the show in her favorite color, purple. Additionally, the dance program is running fundraisers throughout the year in order to establish a scholarship in Robinson’s name.

Ms. Thigpen, the other dance teacher, choreographed a piece in memory of  Robinson, “Ascension,” with her Advanced Dance class.

The piece was inspired by a Little Dragon song Ms. Thigpen had heard shortly after her passing, “Butterflies”: “The lyrics inspired me to think of Richelle as a butterfly or an entity that transforms. Although Richelle is no longer with us physically, she remains ever present in our memory of her. It was my hope that choreographing this tribute to her would provide a constructive and collective place to mourn our loss.”

Senior Eva Beram, who performed in “Ascension,” said “because she was such a fun, talented, and positive light in the dance community, being able to remember Richelle through our dance allowed us to revive her presence in the dance studio and onstage.”

After months of hard work, the hundred-some dancers who performed on the 14th and 15th were proud of their work. As senior Josie Kuchta put it, “It was definitely a long process, and was difficult sometimes, especially since we all have slightly different dance styles, but it was really rewarding in the end.”


Anya Harp also contributed to this piece.

This piece also appears in our December 2018 print edition.