Arts / Community

Dance concert on film

This year, Dana Hall’s annual dance concert, Affinity, aired on Youtube Live on Friday, March 26, instead of being performed live in Bardwell. This change in medium and venue was made possible by dance teachers Devon Fitchett and Mikaela Bradley and student choreographers Ellie Fazio ‘21, Ellie Wellington ‘21, and Hallie Zhou ‘23, as well as Olivia Blaisdell, a guest choreographer and filmmaker.

The annual spring Dance Concert last year took place just before Covid-19 hit the United States, so this year’s dance concert marked an anniversary of sorts for performing arts at Dana Hall, a year in which theater and music and now dance have all moved out of Bardwell and onto film. Performing Arts Department Head Ms. Fitchett said, “Bigger picture differences when we’re having a concert is that there is a energy change between the audience and the dancers which is very vital, and this is one of the biggest [changes] for me.”

The dances were choreographed in Trimester I. “We did lessons that would last more than one class; these lessons would explore identity and how it was connected to dance,” said Ms. Fitchett. Dancers and teachers had to think about how to incorporate both cohorts into the same dance. “We danced in tape squares so that everyone was socially distanced which was different from a concert without COVID; there is a lot of group parts and partner work,” says Nika Kirsonova ‘22. “Even though it was a bit hard at first, we made it work.”

The filming took around three weeks and was challenging because of the two different cohorts. In-person and remote students participated synchronously or asynchronously, and when the time for filming came, those who were remote would sent in video footage of them so that Ms. Fitchett and Ms. Bradley could edit it into the video.

The editing process which followed required around six hours for each dance. The lighting at home and in the studio were different, so choosing a filter to put over the videos to make it uniform was one of many challenges.

The name of the concert, Affinity, was chosen because the word refers to coming together as a group with an identity that you share, something that you are passionate about. “Our shared love for dance and passion and being able to come together even though we couldn’t have been physically together is something that helped us in this pandemic. I don’t know what I would do without that,” Ms. Fitchett shared. 

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