By: Mathew Tavarez ‘22 News Reporter
COVID-19 has drastically changed daily lives at Mercersburg Academy and how students interact with one another. Most after-school activities look vastly different this year, and dance is no exception.
The Director of Dance Denise Dalton said, “Beginning the fall term later than usual, regulations limiting the numbers of dancers allowed in a dance studio at one time along with wearing masks have all proven to be a challenge to put together a cohesive program. That being said, the dancers have done a remarkable job aligning themselves with the protocols in place and showing up with a positive attitude, one of acceptance and not resistance.”
Many aspects of dance changed, such as limiting the number of dancers in the studio due to the six feet regulation, dancing in little boxes marked by tape in the studio, and sanitizing everything touched during class.
Limiting the number of dancers in each studio affected the structure of dancers’ technique classes throughout the week. Wren Dahbura ’21 said, “Due to limited capacity, we had to split our dancers into three dance groups, with smaller amounts of people in each group. This meant less time in the studio as a whole so that each level can take each genre of dance.”
Despite the limited time in the studio, dancers are remaining grateful and optimistic. Destiny Rodney ‘22 said, “I appreciate all the time we get to have in the studio together. Being in person sharing the dance studio is better than sharing a google meet together.”
Due to COVID-19 regulations, the Fall Dance Concert will unfortunately not be an in-person performance. The Dance Concert will be held virtually, and there will also be a brief live component. Dalton said, “I am especially excited about a site specific piece I choreographed, “Boundaries”, inspired by the pandemic and quarantine, where the dancers are each in a window of the Lenfest library, lit from behind.”
It will premiere on Saturday, October 31 at 7:30pm. The live performance is open to all members of the Mercersburg Academy community, and will also be filmed and included in the Fall Dance Concert. The complete concert will premiere on Saturday, November 7 at 7:30pm in the Hale Field House.
Having a virtual dance concert allows dances to be recorded anywhere on campus. For example, one duet is being filmed in the Boys Garden, while Dalton’s piece is being filmed behind the Lenfest Library windows.
Dalton said, “[Dance] continues, no matter the circumstances, to be an honor and a privilege to work with these amazing students.”
It has been difficult to prepare for a concert, and even to have after-school dance, during these strange times. However, with lots of energy and a great director, dance is overcoming these obstacles and ensuring a wonderful performance.