Finding my place: Another way to look at dance
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The lights shift into a hazy cerulean blue as the music climbs up a sloping crescendo, glazing the stage with an aura reminiscent of sunlight beneath the ocean waves. Dappled lights flicker across the back of my hand, like the scales of fish rippling in deep waters, so mesmerizing that I almost forget to lift my eyes and look up at the right count. Below the stage, a sea of students coated in shadow curiously stare at us beneath red and white circus draperies hanging from the ceiling.
I had been one of those students, watching the upper school dancers with awe and admiration. Throughout lower and middle school, I only performed ballet and Chinese folk dance pieces, and I intended to stay in these two genres, never to venture outside what I knew so well, never to broaden my miniscule scope of experience.
Perhaps I was inspired by the vivacious energy of the production, perhaps I was simply curious to learn more about contemporary dance styles. Nevertheless, I decided to participate in the dance show this year, a choice I have not regretted since. The conservatory at Harker is so unique in that students have a chance to glimpse into the professional world of performing arts, either in choreographing a piece or participating in one choreographed by a peer rather than a teacher.
It really amazes me that such a STEM-oriented school would nurture their conservatory in so supportive a manner that 160 students, many of which pursue passions in engineering or science, would participate in the annual dance show, that millions of dollars have been invested into building a new performing arts center.
This patronage is not without reason, for the arts certainly play a prominent role even in the technology-based community we live in. We depend on the arts to remind us who we are and how far we have come, to bring to light the flaws in our society through comedy and, most importantly, to provide a field of gray where we all can find a place for the artist inside us all to flourish.
Technology cannot advance without creativity of artists, and the arts cannot survive without the support of technology. We need each other in order to continue moving forward and mend our faults along the way.
This year’s dance production has taught me that the confines of our comfort zones are meant to be broken past so that we find a completely different world outside, a world where there is no black and white answer to everything, a world waiting to be discovered by each and every one of us.
This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on February 21, 2017.