Three dance educators, 270 student dancers, two shows, four performances, plus the gratitude project combine to create a first-of-its-kind fall dance concert, which opens today. Yet behind those impressive numbers and innovative ideas is the founding tenet of the dance program: enable students to grow their creative talents and share them with the Gibbons community.
The numbers also reflect the growth of the program, which increased to 270 students in the last 14 years. With that growth came the need to create two separate shows, noted Brooks Owens, dance director. She together with dance educators Alina Vance and Erica Seninsky have been organizing and coordinating the shows since the end of the last school year in May.
“We simply have run out of space for all classes in our program to perform together,” said Owens, who has headed the Gibbons Dance Program for the last 14 years.
“Having two shows enables us to showcase more of our students - they get more stage time, more backstage space, more one-on-one rehearsal time with educators,” Owens added. “The older students mentor the younger ones, and the younger students learn from the older dancers – it’s like a sisterhood.”
She said audience members also benefit since they have the opportunity to view two different experiences from the performances.
One show, coordinated by Vance and Seninsky and featuring students in Dance I and II, will be performed at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 21. The other show, coordinated by Owens and featuring dancers in Dance III, IV, and V, will take place on Friday, November 22, and Saturday, November 23, at 7:30 p.m.
This year, the concert also includes the Gratitude Project, presented by Dance I and II. According to Vance and Seninsky, the project grew from the desire to bring our community together through a common goal – giving thanks, since Thanksgiving is next week as well as involving the entire school.
“Our students have worked hard to capture what they are most grateful for within each dance,” the two educators wrote in the November 21 program. “Through experiencing our performance collaborating with the Choral Program, Media Department, and Art II Classes in addition to participating in our food drive benefiting Catholic Parish Outreach, we hope for our audiences to join us in celebrating Gratitude and continue to grow with us as a community at Cardinal Gibbons.”
Owens added that she wants her show to tell audience members a story and not only leave them inspired but also with “a piece of Gibbons Dance imprinted on their hearts forever.”
All shows will take place in the Mainstage Theater. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased in advance.