By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
Students from Kenwood Academy’s new Dance Department celebrated their first year Friday night by showcasing their performance with a student choreographed concert titled “Dance Inventions” at the Kenwood Academy Auditorium, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave.
The high school performance, which was open to the public, wowed the crowd with its energy and diverse mashup of dance pieces throughout the production. Performances ranged from lyrical and ballet, to hip-hop, tap, and contemporary to name a few. Musical selections accompanying the student-choreographed concert represented a variety of themes, including finding one’s self and celebrating comradery.
“I believe that all students have a variety of unique skills and experiences that allow them to be successful in an out of the classroom,” said Ms. Lola Schaefer, the head of the dance program at Kenwood Academy High School. “They had all the cool ideas, all they needed was a platform. I can’t believe that there was all of this energy in this school before not being utilized and now they have something that allows them to present themselves and that means a lot.”
Kenwood Academy Dance, provides students from all levels of dancing the creative outlet to take ownership of their own potential by stimulating them to create their own grounds of performance. The curriculum offers Introduction to Dance, where students have the opportunity to survey multiple dance styles and genres such as ballet, jazz, modern, and social dance in four week units; Intermediate Dance, an honors levels course that requires projects, essays, and critical thinking aside from dancing; and the Kenwood Dance Project (KDP), a group dedicated to original choreography, performance and community outreach. Members from the KDP will take a 100-minute block as part of their academic schedule which functions as a technique class as well as rehearsal time. Members of the KDP also participate in volunteer activities as well as additional performance opportunities throughout the year.
“Before this program was installed by Dr. Gregory Jones (Kenwood Academy Principal), the school didn’t offer students a curriculum where they could dance and perform like this. I just really love my students and being a part of this community now,” said Schaefer.
Earlier this month, students from the Dance Department sent out a mass invitation to invite their favorite person, Chance the Rapper, to the event and let him know they would be holding a couple of seats open for him in the front row. Although the artist didn’t attend, the Kenwood students received a standing ovation from a full house of parents, staff, and community members that came to celebrate their big night.
All proceeds from the concert went to the Dance Department for future performances.
For more information visit: https://www.kenwoodacademydance.com/.