On April 23, the online show will feature everything from humorous dances to choreography reflecting life in quarantine, providing a unique experience for the BHS community and all viewers.
In the face of unprecedented circumstances this year, the Dance Production (DP) class at Berkeley High School (BHS) seized a unique opportunity to explore digital dance during their annual performance, which will take place on April 23.
Linda Carr, who teaches DP, explained the 2021 showcase online model. “Each student created their own digital dance, and [the audience] will see 17 short films that [range] from one to four minutes, ”Carr said. She also mentioned the intentions set by each dancer for their work: “Each piece takes you on its own journey. Some of them are funny, some are dark or serious, and some are celebrations of the movement. Others are like mini-movies that have their own storyline, and dancing is a part of that story. ”
The dancers worked independently and on Zoom to create a script for their film and experiment with the choreography. Carr was able to distribute special camera equipment to the dancers to enhance their shoot.
There are currently 18 students taking the DP course. With a group of two and the rest working solo, the dance film festival will present a plethora of stories. DP at BHS is a one-off class, in which dancers undergo an audition process the year before reaching a place for the following year. Students work throughout the year to create choreography and learn from guest artists.
However, with online learning, PD plans were turned upside down. “Dance relies on face-to-face communication and teamwork; [this year] it was more difficult to collaborate with other students, ”said Sasha Alley, a senior at BHS in her second year of DP. Zoom classes and rehearsals made an in-person production impossible, so Carr and her students opted for the digital dance festival instead.
Alley described the process she and her classmates went through to create her digital piece, saying, “I work with another student, but most of the time. [films] are independent. We made a maximum of 4-minute dance films that we made and created ourselves, then edited to integrate them into a compilation. Alley commented on the benefits of the online showcase and how it allowed him to experience choreography in a new way. “Because we do it ourselves, we can do [the dance] look exactly the way we want, with no restrictions because there is no stage, ”she said.
Julianna Prudente, a junior dancer and DP from BHS, also saw the benefits of the model online. “The [experience] gave me a better idea of what I wanted to specialize in, in college. And the project was very interesting, ”she said.
Carr enlisted guest artists to help students create and edit their films in semesters one and two. Lindsay Gauthier, a San Francisco-based filmmaker, connected with the students to apply her camera skills to their projects.
“We were able to have [Gauthier] come for three classes in the fall, where she gave us a crash course in filmmaking and editing, especially digital dance, ”Carr said. The sessions with Gauthier and other guest teachers, in addition to Carr and the student’s prior knowledge of filming for dance, collectively prepared the dancers to make exceptional films.
To get a feel for what viewers can expect to see on Friday, just look at the choreography of Philippa Kennedy, another junior in DP. Kennedy described his dance film to Jacket, saying, “For my dance, I was inspired by life in quarantine. My first half is filmed at home, and it mimics everyday life in quarantine. Then I go back to bed and have a dream streak, where I’m at the beach, and it’s very liberating. The public can watch the festival live on Zoom at 8:00 p.m., as well as a recorded version after the show. Carr and her DP students have worked inside and outside the classroom to create some unique dance movies that we can all watch on April 23. Prepare to see the same level of intense emotion and dazzling talent for DP dancers as in previous years, with a spin.