Through expressive, inspiring choreography, the Masters Dance Company set out to soothe souls in their aptly named spring concert, “A Time for Healing,” on May 13 and 14 in the Claudia Boettcher Theatre.
The 12-member upper school student troupe, led by director Shell Benjamin, let the emotions flow using modern, jazz, contemporary, ballet and yoga mudra moves. “They are dancing beautifully, and it has been a pleasure to work with these committed dancers,” Benjamin said. “This is a season where, equipped with courage and honesty, we must make and take the time to do our inner work to restore our mental, physical and spiritual well-being.”
“We have had a very hard few years,” Clara Nalle ’24 said. “Ms. Benjamin saw how much we needed to heal, so making that the theme helped us in the end.”
The “dancing advocates” dedicated their concert to the Kindred Collective, a nonprofit organization that supports the healing justice movement while addressing collective harm and trauma.
Ellie Yang ’23 took the stage with Haile Coore ’23 for “We Met,” a piece they choreographed. “In it, two strangers with their own stories and struggles come together in a process of healing themselves and each other,” Yang explained.
Guest teaching artists Juan Michael Porter II and Josh Zacher lent their expertise and experience to choreograph “Help Me Make it Through the Night,” “Lift Me Up” and “Another Beautiful City.”
“We had the privilege of working with incredible choreographers who gave us all the space to truly feel the movement and add our own emotions to it,” Angelica Lopez-Tucker ’23 said.
For Nicolas Riley ’23, being the focal point of “Help Me Make It Through the Night” was a highlight: “It pushed me to work on my stage presence and to better understand how to tell a story through my movements.”
Ultimately, leaning on and learning from each other is what allowed these dancers to create a cohesive, meaningful and powerful performance.
“The older dancers have taught me how to find joy in performing and not stress too much over perfection,” Nalle said.
“We're a tight-knit community with a very supportive atmosphere,” Riley added. “Combined with that, it's been amazing to watch how as our connections deepen, our dancing together also gets better because there's a better understanding of each other's strengths.”