By Brittni Webb ’12
A senior at Chaminade, Brittni, dances with the High School’s Dance Company and wrote her reflections after the first performance weekend of this year’s dance concert, “The Attic.” This is the company’s first time taking the stage in Chaminade’s brand new, Tutor Family Center for the Performing Arts.
As I hang in the rafters in the hammock, I watch the sheets get ripped away.
The Irish Princess stretches from years of spending time in the attic, while the dancer inside of her stretches in excitement to once again performing in the annual dance concert after a year off. She takes a deep breath, a flood of memories rush back to her.
“What’s it like?”
“What’s it like what?” I respond, a bit confused and mostly just over-tired.
“Dance Company….” After a few moments I pause and in a hushed reply I say “I don’t know how to explain it to you.”
What’s it like? What’s it like to perform? What’s it like to be exposed to such inspiring dancers and choreographers? What’s it like to make history? What’s it like throwing your old life to the side and creating a whole new one, only knowing that it will be over in less than three weeks? It’s worth it.
Whether it be varsity soccer or Future Doctors of America, there are plenty of programs on campus at Chaminade that offer students the chance for self-improvement, but the Dance Company is the only program where one not only learns more about themselves, striving for both physical and mental self-improvement; but one is given the chance to create themselves. Many of us dancers claim that long practices and little sleep are the reason for our different behavior around the time of the performance; however, the truth is that reality is simply going through the motions; we are living in a total different state of mind. We call this state, the “In-between”. In the “In-between” we not only develop empathy for our characters, we become them. The outside world is a myth, for our mind is not focused to getting through the piece, but living the piece. For the hour or so performance, we are real, alert, alive, breathing loudly to feel out the other dancers.
Dance Company is not the long hours of preparation, the lack of sleep, and sore feet, but the feeling of unity that cannot be found anywhere else. We are living in the realm to which we normally escape. The real world is boring in comparison. The pieces we perform are so close to our hearts and honest because they are created by students, reflecting human issues, and conflicts we deal with everyday as high school students. Dancing these pieces allows us to escape from the pettiness of high school, confront our issues and realize that they are universal. The connections and friendships that are formed in company are not credited to the long practice hours and lack of cell service in the dance cave, but the honest, encouraging environment to which Dance Company provides us.
So as the sheets are pulled off and I descend from the aerial equipment, know that as you, the audience, watches us, we are breathing with you, letting your applause cue our beating hearts. You are joining our world of the In-between and changing the way we dance, changing the way we live in both worlds.