“CA Dance Project reminds me that dance is not all about discipline and structure,” says Maureen Coffey ’24, a third-time participant in the company. “It’s about the freedom to express myself.”
This joy of movement comes to life in the fall Dance Project performance, choreographed by dance faculty Rika Okamoto and Alex Brady. This year, student dancers will perform three distinct numbers, interspersed with the rhythmic talents of CA student musicians.
The opening number Shiver is a blend of modern and contemporary dance, portraying the discovery of a new world. The piece begins with the sound of a heartbeat and transitions seamlessly to Mozart’s Serenade for Winds, in which dancers, adorned in autumnal-colored dresses, explore organic movements.
“This piece is very fun to perform because we had the opportunity to discover different ways to illustrate the idea of self-discovery through dance,” Juhi Kundu ’25 shares. “Through the exploration of these movements, everyone was able to find their own personal style.”
The second piece, Blue Moon, is a fast-paced ’50s-inspired routine. Dressed in jumpsuits and polka dot dresses, dancers rock the stage to hits from the decade, including Bobby Day’s Rockin’ Robin. The choreography is jam-packed with hand jives, cartwheels, twists, and kicks.
“When I perform it, I can’t help but have a genuine smile on my face,” Maureen shares.
The grand finale is “The Waltz of the Snowflakes” from The Nutcracker. The Dance Project presents a new take on the neoclassical ballet choreography. Students in flowing white tutus perform a highly athletic version of the dance with strong jumps, leaps, and swift entrances and exits. The powerful number ends with snow, which transforms the dance studio into a winter wonderland.
For Okamoto and Brady, the highlight of preparing the performances was their collaboration with the students: “We can see that they grew individually and collectively and bonded over the rehearsal period and performances.”
The Dance Project balances complex choreography with the spirit of camaraderie. “All the dances this season are very dense in the materials,” Okamoto and Brady share. “The students had to learn so much every day, and they rose to all of the challenges! What makes us happy is when dancers are having fun together, both off and on stage.”
Audiences were delighted by the creativity and versatility of CA’s students in the Dance Project fall performance.