May 14: Reflecting on how my last spring dance concert went virtual

Senior dance co-captain Lauren Kim (far right) and some of her fellow Dance Production [DP] members put on a costume and create a pose Feb. 20 in the dance room. Kim didn’t expect that she would never be able to perform with her senior DP team at the April 9-11 spring dance concert, which was among the campus events canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Image used with permission from Leiana Volen.

LIVING UNDER THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

This is part of a series of columns from The Accolade staff about their various experiences during the school closure because of the coronavirus pandemic. If you would like to submit some of your experiences, please email us at theaccoladeshhs@gmail.com.

Sitting in one of the wings of the Performing Arts Center with my best friend, Aimee, in our freshman year back in 2016, we watched the seniors perform their bittersweet routine together in awe as we pondered upon when it would finally be our chance to take that stage as veteran dancers.

Flash forward four years later, and I am sitting on my couch watching one out of the countless number of dances we had prepared on my television. Watching myself and my team perform the dance, “Corners of the Earth,” for our April 9-11 “Beyond” spring dance concert left me feeling all sorts of emotions: anger and disappointment, yet still feeling hopeful and lighthearted about the whole situation.

On March 17, the Tuesday before we were ordered to start distance learning, my team and I discussed what we would potentially do if our annual spring concert were to be canceled. We did not expect the news that distance learning would be extended beyond spring break, so we continued to practice our routines throughout the week in preparation of our concert the next month.

Although we had no anticipation of the current situation, we discussed back-up ideas like meeting up to record our dances together and sending them around or having multiple concerts with limited people in the audience. Hearing about the governor’s stay-at-home order was really disappointing because as a senior, I was so excited to get to perform a senior dance and receive special recognition through our picture and video slides. 

But since we needed to move our concert online, I wouldn’t be able to gain the full experience that would have included many hugs and tears with my team.

Before that final decision was made to post videos online, my team met up through Zoom, and we frantically discussed ways we could still “hold” our concert, since it is an event that we have been working toward all year. We had dances set by outside choreographers and students, so we valued the importance of finding a way to still share them.

It was only recently that we had settled on the idea of putting together practice videos from the dance studio and through virtual meetings on Zoom. We agreed that that was the best option, as it would allow for us to have more freedom in how we edit the videos to convey the backstories of our dances.

Technology offers so many ways to enhance the dance – visual effects and audio voice-overs. Even though this is not what we had hoped for, we are still pumped that we are able to show our work to the public. 

Not only was I looking forward to showcasing the pieces I choreographed for my team, I was most excited for getting to perform our senior dance. On March 6, the seniors of Dance Production [DP] were excused during the day to learn our routine choreographed by DP coach Leiana Volen. The senior dance is the most sentimental part of the concert, and we were all so excited to get to perform it together, until we realized we couldn’t.

Since we had just learned it and did not have too much footage of the piece, we decided on putting together a video of all the seniors in the dance department. Volen asked that seniors send pictures, videos of them dancing and a clip of them saying “Class of 2020.” This isn’t anything like getting the opportunity to perform on stage one last time with the team, but I’m still really thankful that Volen made this effort to try to make this memorable for us seniors.

This situation has brought many hardships for not only our team, but for everyone. It’s definitely pushed people to think beyond and find other ways to go about different situations.

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