As Martha Graham once declared, “Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
The Upper School students in Dance Club certainly have passion to spare, along with an abundance of talent, creativity and perseverance. These qualities were on bold display during the club’s shows on May 2, 3 and 4. Accompanied by evocative music and luminous lighting, the array of dances brought the Assembly Room to life and the audience to its feet.
“It is incredibly rewarding to see students push themselves to take risks, wrestle with how to best express their ideas, drum up the courage to put their ideas out there, and eventually share and express with confidence a part of themselves,” commented Sarah Rutledge,* Upper School Arts Integrator and Dance teacher, who has been overseeing Dance Club for the past 19 years. “The audience gets to see the polished product, which is always exciting, but the process of getting there is what keeps me engaged.”
This year, the 52 members presented solo, pairs and ensemble dances that celebrated a variety of genres, including modern, jazz, hip-hop, ballet and tap. The final performances represented the culmination of months of dedicated practice, during which the students choreographed and rehearsed their complex pieces. They also formed what will likely be long-lasting relationships.
“As cheesy as it sounds, Dance Club is truly a family. I’ve never met a more supportive or loving group of people and am so lucky to be a part of it,” remarked a Dance Club member. “I’ve met some of my best friends in the world through Dance Club. It provides us with a space to form some of the strongest bonds at Chapin. In addition, the club is a place where you can wholeheartedly be yourself.”
One of Chapin’s longest running clubs (it’s the Club’s 80th year!), Dance Club is open to all students in Classes 8-12, regardless of experience. Through this inclusive, supportive environment, members have the opportunity to explore the entire compositional process and, ultimately, see their work realized on stage – an electrifying experience for sure.
Here are a few additional comments from this year’s Dance Club members:
“Wearing the costume and dancing under the stage lights felt special and really put me in the zone. I felt the thrill of it for many hours afterwards.”
“Dance Club is proof that putting in a lot of work produces great results. I’ve learned that with dedication, we as a club can share a product that we are proud of with the rest of the community. Every person involved contributes, and it’s amazing to see it all come together.”
“You will get to know some of the most talented and passionate people, be a part of an incredible show, and treasure all of the memories you make along the way!”
*In addition to Dance Club Director Sarah Rutledge, Dance Associate Teacher Samantha Sherman (Production/Stage Manager/Rehearsal Assistant) and Tallulah Léon, Class 10 (Lighting Board Operator) contributed to the club’s success.
Browse photos (taken by Michael Sherman) from the Dance Club performances below: