Imagine a stage where the art of dance meets the magic of technology, where graceful movements are illuminated by majestic light and sound. Well, Concord Academy’s Fall Dance Project accomplished just that. The fall CADP performance, this year titled “Dark Before Dawn,” transported audiences to a beautiful and captivating world. On the evenings of October 27th and 28th, the stage came alive with dancers thanks to behind-the-scenes crew members. Step behind the curtains and come along on a journey where creativity has no limits and where the power of movement and technology blend to create a performance like no other.

While the dancers and their enchanting choreography take center stage, the workings behind the scenes of a performance like this are equally remarkable. In this production, the tech crew, composed of ten members, takes on a wide range of responsibilities, from managing soundboards to overseeing the stage itself. Collaborating closely with talented professionals, these students acquire the skills and techniques necessary to independently stage a show, forming mentorship bonds that they will fondly look back on after their time on the crew.

Production Manager Deanna Stuart and Technical Director James Williston lead the students, passing on the little-known secrets of backstage magic. Under their guidance, the crew learns the art of design and creation, master stagecraft, and ultimately combine their talents to form a masterpiece.

What sets a dance performance apart from a theater production? The answer lies in the design of the production itself. Dance emphasizes movement and the graceful flow of a dancer's form across the stage. The lighting and set must complement the dancers, enhancing their beauty rather than overshadowing it. In the case of “Dark Before Dawn,” the set is minimalist, while the lighting colors and patterns add to the choreography to tell a story. Similarly, costumes for dance are different from those of a traditional play, as they are more necessary in storytelling, adapting in style according to the specific production. Dance conveys stories through movement so surroundings and technological workings serve as a setting. The inspiration and complex collaboration between the costumes, set design, and lighting differentiate dance productions from other theatrical performances through their attention to detail.

Ultimately, much like CA itself, CADP has unique, behind-the-scenes qualities rarely found in other high school dance productions. In addition to their collaboration with professionals, crew members receive training in set creation, design, and deck management. Students are the foundation of the performance, arranging both the on-stage and off-stage aspects. Notably, in “Dark Before Dawn,” deck work assumes extreme importance due to a creative choice to implement falling snow into the performance. Throughout the fall season, the tech crew worked tirelessly to create a discreet snow machine, concealed from the audience's view. After many hours of brainstorming, the solution they devised fit perfectly. It enhanced the overall magical and enchanting experience that watching dance should be. All in all, through its dancers' meticulous movements combined with its detailed costumes, lighting, and music, Concord Academy’s Fall Dance Project told a story like no other.