When you see a dancer performing with passion, it is truly mesmerizing. Each movement, gesture, and facial expression can convey so much. In Taunia Soderquist’s Choreography class, seven students are learning the power and grace of dancing individually and as a group. Her focus is on teaching “a solid foundation in the basics of music, movement, and skills in dancing, teaching, and executing and teaching choreography.”
Each class starts with a student-led warm-up designed to help the dancers stretch and prepare for practicing the day’s choreographies. Following the warm-up, students watch and discuss an inspirational dance video. By viewing and critiquing many different types of dance, students are gaining exposure beyond the usual styles they see.
Since Ms. Soderquist teaches both the Choreography and Introduction to Music Theory (as well as Chorus), she created a unique way for the two classes to complete an interdisciplinary project. First, the dancers improvised a one minute piece and then the Music Theory students were tasked with composing a piece that was a good match for the movements. This gave them a glimpse into what it is like to compose a film score and the challenges and creative opportunities that presents.
Students are hard at work on their final project, which involves developing and practicing the choreography for two songs that they will perform at the Winter Concert on Friday, December 14th at Gordon College. Ms. Soderquist explained: “Both songs will be incorporating other musicians from the music department. “Santa’s Coming For Us,” a fun and Latin-infused song by Sia, features the APH Chorus class and a fully choreographed dance by the Choreography class, created entirely on their own. “Cool Yule,” features jazz vocalist Lily S. ‘19, and the music has more of a swing and big band feel to it. They’ll be incorporating east coast swing, lindy hop, and tap dancing into this number that they’ll also be choreographing and performing while Lily sings.”
One goal of the class is to create opportunities for students to learn from each other. Many of the girls have formal dance training but in very different styles. Two are Irish dancers, one competes in modern and contemporary dance categories, and others have learned styles involving hoops and other props. Ms. Soderquist finds it gratifying to help the girls work together to create unique pieces that draw on their strengths or let them try something new. It is clear that the students truly enjoy collaborating with each other and have a shared love of dance.
We look forward to seeing this talented group of young women perform at the Winter Concert!