In April, the DAPpers were invited to perform in the final dance concert of the academic year, the Commencement Dance Concert. The performance would include DAPpers, Brown Dance Extension, Central Falls High School dancers and dancers from Dancing Legacy, ADLI’s professional company. Typically, once the March lec/dem is over, we set aside the etude we’ve worked on for the last 3 months and begin focusing on new material. The invitation to perform motivated us to continue to rehearse the etude.
Two days before the concert , we had a very short rehearsal and while a great deal was accomplished in that brief time, it was clear more work was needed. The DAPpers were going to perform their choreography as usual but the other groups had a some restaging to do. Just before the show on Saturday, we held a run-through which helped work out the kinks and calm the nerves of everyone involved.
A major shift for our DAPpers for this performance was that I was asked not to speak. Typically, I cue the DAPpers by speaking throughout the dance but during the rehearsal on Thursday, my speaking proved too disruptive and I was asked not to talk. I knew this would unsettle the DAPpers so I decided not to tell them until Saturday night. When I told them, they were definitely shocked but also ready to take on the challenge. It was time for the training wheels to come off.
During the performance, I sat in the front so that the DAPpers could follow me. As a result, I never got the full sense of what was going on behind me. I could feel the energy of the 20 dancers on that stage and I felt the electric charge of the lights shining down on my dancers, most of whom had never performed under the lights and on a stage. The result was exhilarating. The curtain rose as 4 distinct groups came together blending as one.