With the fall athletics season drawing to a close, the final performance for the Dance Project is approaching. Through unwavering dedication and commitment, dancers work with the tech crew to combine various elements into the final production presented in the dance studio.

A new aspect introduced to the daily training has been the usage of masks. Rika Okamoto, the dance program director who had previously come to Concord Academy as a guest artist five times, commented, “We were on Zoom for a long time in the spring, and I didn’t realize how much I was relying on face expression, which masks made harder.” Despite the challenges posed by this, dancers are still working hard as they find ways to manage their time in addition to their academics. Dancers will take part in five-hour long rehearsals from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each day during the week before the final performance. Along the way, this has fostered a sense of camaraderie among the group, promoting an uplifting atmosphere and forming a tight-knit bond.

As the dancers embark on a journey from persistent practicing to performing for the school, Okamoto reflects on how individuality shapes the community dynamic: “People with different backgrounds can be together, [and it is] celebrated in the classroom [as we] learn to dance collectively. We appreciate, influence, and respect each other.” With creativity coming into play, a new spark is ignited through the art of dancing.

Dance itself has great potential to connect the mind and the body through training and performing. Dancers share the same space and orientation in time and music as they practice the exercise of mind and body.

So join the dance classes, as Okamoto puts it, if you have always been interested in expressing yourself with an amazing group of people. Even if you have not taken a dance class before, it is important to not categorize dance into a specific style. After all, White-Out and the Halloween dance proved otherwise, with swarms of teenagers dancing the night away in sweaty air.