Dance Company Prepares for Eighth Annual Show: Juxta-performance


Last year’s company performs the finale of their show.

Stephanie Sem

Last year's company performs the finale of their show.
Last year’s company performs the finale of their show.

The Walpole High School Dance Company has been a hit for the past seven years and this year’s performance is expected to be just as successful. The company will showcase their talents on Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22 at 7:30. This years performance is entitled “Juxta-performance” since every piece is very different from the others. Dance Company director, Mr. Richard Kim, said, “Even though our technique is modern dance-based, I can see their passions and talents from other types of dance influenced by the choreography they choose to put into the show.”

The show has a total of ten dances, each with its own different spin on it, hence the title “Juxta-performance.”  The show is based off of the idea of Juxtaposition, which is composed of opposite dances being put together to make one overall show.  Mr. Kim said, “I like to keep the show within the style of past Dance Company shows. A similarity between many of the shows is that we don’t really have a formula for anything. Our style is that we have no style.”

Out of the ten dances, there are two that the whole company dances in, and each performer has the option to be in up to six additional non-company dances, which are dances with select groups of dancers in the company. These dances are learned and practiced during their four to seven hours of practice every week, along with a few all-day Saturday practices.  Emphasizing the hard work put into the show, Mr. Kim said, “The girls learned a brand new company number about 3 weeks ago. I decided that the one we were working on was just not developed enough and was just plain boring. I don’t want even one dance to jeopardize the pacing of the show, so we completely scrapped it and learned a new one.”  Each performer is expected to rehearse all of their dances outside of pratice as well so that they can all perfect their technique and choreography to ensure the performance will go as smoothly as possible.

Every dance is made up of original choreography by Mr.Kim and the student choreographers —  head choreographer, senior Caitlin Conlon, juniors Mary McAvoy and Katie Gillespie; and sophomore Kia Kaizer. Having multiple people choreograph parts of each dance shows all of the different interpretations of each song, giving every move its own personality.

The performance is meant to make the audience think about each and every dance.  Mr.Kim said, “I like to play with peoples’ perceptions of dance and what they expect from a dance show in general. I am always questioning what and why I am doing what I do in a dance, and I want the audience to ask those questions as well.”  By using this technique, the audience keeps on wondering what will happen and why the dance was choreographed the way it was.

The Dance Company is using their knowledge of what is currently happening  in the dance world, which right now is breaking the mold of the idea “ensemble”.  This means that every dancer is on stage, facing the audience, and doing the same choreography, which is usually seen as being “visually pleasing”.  This is not the case in Juxta-perfomance, where there is one specific dance called “Creatures of the Wind” where there is no choreography.  All of the dancers step onto the stage, in no type of structural form, and improvise for two and a half minutes straight; not one dancer is doing the same routine as another.  Mr. Kim describes the dances as, “little experiments.”

Juxta-performance, featuring 38 Walpole High School Dance Company performers, will be shown in the auditorium on Thursday March 21 and Friday March 22 at 7:30.  Mr. Kim said, “I think this show is weird, very mature for high school kids to be performing, and the girls really know how to sell it. They are great performers and I look forward to watching them on stage.”