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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Olympus Dance Company ends year with concert

May 30, 2017 02:29PM ● By Kelly Cannon

The theme of this year’s Olympus Dance Company’s final concert was “All that Remains.” (Sarah Zenger/Olympus High School)

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]
The Olympus High School Dance Company wrapped up their year with a concert centered on the theme “All that Remains.” The theme was chosen by dance company coach Danell Hathaway, who has been leading the team for the past nine years.
“I just liked that. I must have heard it on NPR or it was the title of a movie and I just liked that because dance is so ephemeral. It’s a fleeting,” Hathaway said. “I love the idea that dance is so fleeting so it’s kind of like what moments of that fleeting do we want to capture and what will relate to us as an audience, as dancers, what do we want to hold onto? What do we want to let go of?”
Hathaway met with the members of the dance company and dance classes and explained the theme to them. She then had guest artist Elizabeth Martino come and choreograph a piece for the seniors.
“Her piece, we haven’t thought of a title yet. I think it’s going to be ‘Moments and Memories,’” Hathaway said. “Her piece is a goodbye piece. She said she wanted to make everybody cry.”
Members of the various dance classes at Olympus High School also participated in the show. Members of the Dance 2 class performed a piece about a combination lock. The dancers had numbers on their backs and had to try different combinations while the music continually speeds up. There’s also a piece about perspective, which had lots of props on stage that obscured the dancers so only heads or feet were visible.
The seniors were also given the opportunity to choreograph their own pieces. The process began with interested seniors filling out forms that explained their pieces. The form included how many dancers were involved, the costumes, the lighting, how they were going to approach the theme and what kind of choreographic devices would be used.
“They audition them in front of their peers. Their peers give them feedback forms and they give them feedback saying what they liked about the piece or what they are thinking,” Hathaway said. “I collect those votes. Then I use those votes as well as what I think would be a good mixture for the concert and I select the pieces. Then the dancers are divided into dances. They don’t audition to be in dances. They only audition to choreograph dances.”
Eighteen-year-old Mary Jane Tingey was one of the seniors to have her choreography featured in the show. Her piece was entitled “All that Remains Are the Losers” to the song “Fade” by Kanye West.
“It’s a hip-hop piece. It’s about a race that everybody is running. It’s kind of celebrating the losers instead of the winners,” Tingey said. “(Hathaway) gave us the theme of the concert and I just thought of a song that went well and it just kind of popped into my brain.”
When choreographing the piece, Tingey wanted dancers to pay attention to the music.
“When it’s going slow, we go slow. When it speeds up, we speed up, just to keep up the energy so it’s fun for the audience,” Tingey said. “Mostly, I want the audience to be excited and happy because most dances at this concert are downers and depressing so I wanted a dance the audience could have fun with.”
Eighteen-year-old Lauren Broadbent also had a chance to choreograph a piece for the final show. Her piece was called “Waking in Atlantis.”
“It’s a contemporary piece and it’s about people who were Atlanteans and one day they wake up and the city that they’ve known and loved is destroyed and gone. The dance begins when they’re waking up and they remember what used to be,” Broadbent said. “It almost comes to a point where the memories of the city that they love, they almost become real. Then at the end, they get pulled deeper into the sea and they have to accept their watery fate.”
Broadbent said she was inspired to do a piece about Atlantis because she’s always been interested in the mythical lost city. She also wanted to do a dance about being underwater because that leads to very distinct ideas.
“I do a lot of ripples to show water movement. There’s a lot of visual formations to show how waves pull you deeper into the ocean or how water moves,” Broadbent said. “The part in the dance where the dancers are going back in time to the place they used to live, the movement is a lot bigger to show they are on land and they move faster, rather than being underwater where things would be moving slower.”
Seventeen-year-old Annie Campbell choreographed a piece called “The Space Between” that focuses on the end of relationships.
“That’s what came to my head when I thought about ‘All That Remains,’ from a relationship, is the memories,” Campbell said. “People are in a relationship that’s physically far apart so they still have those feelings and those memories but they can’t physically touch each other and get to each other so I wanted to explore that through my dance.”
The dance focuses on two people who do a number of physical movements when they’re thinking about each other but they are unable to touch.
“I just hope that they’re able to feel something and able to connect and relate to it because all of us have relationships in our everyday lives,” Campbell said. “I just hope they can feel that connection that I’m trying to show and they can feel it.”
The dance company has been working on the concert since December. The main setback the company has faced is a high number of injuries.
“On Saturday, we had a girl break her collarbone. That’s been really difficult,” Hathaway said. “Then a lot of these kids are involved in a lot of different things. We’ve had a lot of absences, so trying to negotiate to get kids back in.”
Hathaway said she wanted audience members to see the passion and talent the dancers have and how hard they work.
“I think people sometimes don’t think dance is accessible because it is abstract. First and foremost, recognize they’re communicating in a language that you may not understand but you can appreciate and enjoy it,” Hathaway said. “The second thing is what they do feel. Sometimes it’s hard to express but that’s okay. Dance is a physical thing. So just getting a feeling from a piece. It moves them.”