A Dance Celebrating 50 years of Northwood Women
by Mandi Maiore
The creative process for this trimester’s elective, The Choreographic Mind, began with a series of questions: What are you passionate about? What have you discovered about yourself while here at Northwood? If you could create any dance piece, what would it look like? What message do you want to communicate to your audience? From these questions bloomed a beautiful response from three students doing a group choreography project together.
Jillian Clark '23, Ruby Maiore '22, and Ruby Lewin '22 answered these questions and began to see correlations amongst elements of their learning experience since being drawn to Northwood two years ago as part of a new dance program. All were female local day students, new to private school, choosing Northwood to further develop their passion for dance. Through this project, they realized that they all had struggled during their high school years with confidence. Their written proposal stated, “We are passionate about each of our personal journeys to the growth of confidence and truly finding ourselves as individuals, standing on our own, and embracing the confidence it takes to be independent, strong young women. We feel this journey is one of the most important things we are doing while at Northwood. Being where we all are in life, female high school students in a new arts program within a predominantly male athletic school, every girl is trying to figure out who she is and where she stands. We would like to create a dance trio that showcases each dancer’s journey towards confidence, how we have struggled and been supported along the way and how we each take different pathways to move towards independence. We will start out dancing together, relying on one another, just as we did especially over that first year, but then we will break out into different solo movements showcasing different dance genres and steps that match our unique personalities and pathways towards growth, to standing on our own and being truly comfortable in our own skin. Just like flowers can stand tall together supporting one another in the wind, we all need to grow deep roots of individual strength. Even the leaves and petals of the same species can have different rates of growth or different shades of color, however, the end result is always beautiful and unique. We will title this work, Bloom. As three young women, we are proud to dedicate this piece to Northwood’s celebration of fifty years of women. We aspire to have the amount confidence and perseverance that our predecessors had and to continue the legacy of strong and brave women at Northwood.”
As a dance teacher, I am always encouraging my students to really think about the movement. Creating dance shouldn’t just be about the mechanics of creating the steps, but an art form with a unique platform upon which to create. It’s about finding something to say and using dance to connect to others. Just as painters have their brush and canvas to paint on, dancers can use their bodies as beautiful tools to communicate their art form to their audience. Dance can express feelings and emotions in a way that words sometimes cannot.
These three amazing young women are doing just that, taking their own personal stories and bravely putting them into their movement. I hope you will take the time to watch and experience the beauty in what they are trying to say. This piece will be performed as a part of a spring showcase in collaboration with the music, art and dance departments at the LPCA after formal dinner on Wednesday, April 27th.