The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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Springing Into Choreography

Hockaday dancers choreograph their end-of-the-year performance.

Hockadance took to the stage on April 25 for their annual Spring Concert. As per tradition for the Dance Department’s final performance at the end of each year, students led the entire production, selecting everything from songs, dance styles, choreography and costumes. 

Following the performance of the Harlequinade, students immediately jumped into choreographing their own dances, combining their creativity with the techniques they learned over the course of the year. They had two and a half months to finish their pieces, perfecting the details right up until the moment they stepped on stage. Dancers used feedback from the judges at ISAS to work through their pieces before bringing the final product to the Nasher-Haemisegger Theater. 

“We watched our video from ISAS, and we were able to take all that material and work it into continuing to polish those particular pieces,” dance instructor Christie Sullivan said.

The complex process of creating choreography follows the order of choosing a song, coming up with the movements, picking a costume and then teaching the piece to the rest of the class. Students had the option of choreographing a dance themselves or working in a group. 

Senior Maddy Grace Sporl performed her fourth spring concert this year, growing from her past concerts to create one final piece. 

“Once you get out of your head, it’s an easy transition to go from dancer to choreographer,” Sporl said. “Freshman year, I was in my head and I was really timid about the moves I did, about the songs I chose. I wanted to do something that was very by-the-book. As a choreographer you realize that you have creative freedom and you can do whatever you want.”

Dance teachers Alex Farrior and Sullivan are Hockadance alums. The personal connection the dance instructors have ties into their understanding of the assignment dancers are undertaking. Through the spring concerts and choreographing for the Hockaday ensemble during her time in upper school, Farrior learned about leadership building and exercising her creativity, which fed into her personal career in the arts as a professional dancer. The opportunity for choreography provided by spring concerts was one of the highlights of her dance experience. 

“Even though I don’t remember every detail, I remember the pride, the camaraderie and all the good energy that I felt being in this room [the dance balcony], and it really fed my passion for dance,” Farrior said. 

Sporl explained the empowerment she received from her choreographing experience, expressing her takeaway from the concerts as never previously being able to believe she could choreograph a dance so easily. 

“You can do a lot more than what you think you’re capable of,” she said. “And then you start, and you cross that bridge and you all of a sudden start flowing with choreography.” 

She explained that the experience not only made her feel more confident as a dancer, but also as a person. The experience makes her excited for college because the skills she learned of leading a crowd, performing under pressure and completing a given assignment can be applied to her academic life as well. 

Both instructors enjoy watching the dancers during the concert as they showcase their creativity in the final dance performance of the school year.

“We’re really proud of them,” Farrior said. “The girls were proud of themselves, I could tell. They walked away with their heads held high for sure.”

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Sophia Lou, Staff Writer

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