After months of hard work, the Dance at Franklin program presented their annual Winter Dance Showcase. With only two shows to display their accomplishments, on Dec. 9 and 10, Dance at Franklin performed both original dances and renditions of pieces across various styles of dance. Every single dancer brought energy to their performances, and although there were a few mishaps and technical difficulties scattered throughout the show, the performers handled it professionally and recovered smoothly.
The show opened with a ballet number, titled “Cours de Ballet.” Despite the ballet techniques being beautifully executed, the majority of the movements were stationary and the piece was long, which didn’t allow the piece to highlight the excitement and energy embodied by the rest of the event. As a result, it didn’t feel like the strongest choice for the show’s opener.
Following “Cours de Ballet,” the beginning and intermediate classes performed a couple of routines. Although these classes have less dance experience than the advanced classes, the energy brought to all of their dances was palpable. “Inside Out” performed by the period five advanced dance class, was noticeably fluid and meditative, which created a nice contrast when it transitioned to the sharper, arachnid-like beginning of intermediate dance period three’s dance, “Hold Me Down.”
It was particularly impressive to see the dedication of dancers in the advanced classes display their expertise and talents. A great example of this is advanced dance period two’s performance of “All That Jazz.” Led by dancers Everette Cogswell and Twylo Landey, the class was split, performing two sets of choreography for the same song, both groups equally displaying their talents.
Perhaps one of the most compelling routines of the show was the tap trio performance to “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake. Senior choreographers Everette Cogswell, Marlee Dorn, and Lucia Gasca brought their all to the number, filling their routine with their immense tapping skill as well as their contagious confidence. The routine was so playful, it was impossible not to smile alongside these dancers as they added in little quirks, including the pulling of their ties and a trust fall between Cogswell and Dorn.
The most interesting part of the show were the pieces choreographed by Franklin students. Their pieces brilliantly showcased not only the performing talent of these students but also their artistic creativity. In particular, “D.N.A” choreographed by junior Bo Bah and “SLAYNATION” choreographed by seniors Anabelle Jukkala and Isabel Deumling, stood out due to their fast paced moves and the excitement they brought to the room. The energy that Bah in particular brought to her piece was infectious, and created an excitable atmosphere in the auditorium that continued through the next piece. “SLAYNATION” was a perfect conclusion to the first act. Despite knowing that the piece was a work in progress, the energy and talent of the dancers made it feel too short, aiding in growing the anticipation for Arts Alive in the spring.
The duets and solos that graced the auditorium floor were particularly impressive, as it was easier to focus on the movements of each dancer rather than a big group. Wrigley Cook and Abby Curley’s duet to “The Producer” by Labyrinth was a treat; both dancers moved so fluidly and were beautifully in-sync. Josie Wagner’s contemporary-ballet solo, “November,” was mesmerizing and mythodic, and her movements looked so effortless, which was made particularly impressive considering they were sick and wore a mask when she performed on Dec. 10.
Interspersed between the performances of Franklin’s talented dancers, artists from other performing arts disciplines were able to showcase their talents. Junior Sky Armstrong performed Billie Eilish’s “Lost Cause,” Opal Rockett and Leo Edwards played “Petite suite for four hands, en bateau” by Claude Debussy on the grand piano, and Franklin’s a capella group, Fresh Aire, performed “Take Me Home” and “White Winter Hymnal” by Pentatonix. Despite missing multiple crucial members of their choir and their starting pitch, Fresh Aire recovered from an initial delay and performed their songs beautifully.
A highlight of the non-dance features was Rockett’s cello performance of Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major,” which accompanied advanced dance period five’s improvisational piece. Although the improv was fascinating, Rockett’s accompaniment was captivating and the most compelling part of the piece.
Sticking to the winter theme, the closing number of the showcase was a duet by seniors Delia Graham and Crea Sisco of a medley of songs from the movie “Frozen,” accompanied by an assortment of dancers. This number captured the playful and chaotic spirit of the winter holidays and in particular, appealed to the younger children in the audience who gasped in surprise at the entrance of Graham and Sisco in their “Frozen” themed outfits.
Every single piece performed by Dance at Franklin for the showcase made it apparent the time, effort, and energy each dancer put into their work, and how much it paid off. Not only did this show stand alone as a great performance, but it served its purpose perfectly as a sneak peak for the spring showcase, Arts Alive!. Based on the performances given for the Winter Dance Showcase, we should all be waiting in anticipation for what Dance at Franklin will bring us in the spring.