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Student choreographers shine at Evening of Dance

Photo by Rand Blemeister

Marlborough’s 46th annual Evening of Dance took place on Feb. 7 and 8. The performance featured dancers from Marlborough’s Upper School dance company, Dance Dimensions. Director Mpambo Wina mentored the dancers with ballet mistress Carol Smith Sparkman. The company welcomed guest choreographers Hai Cohen and Pia Vinson.

The program consisted of ten dances, and five were student-choreographed. Dani Winkler ‘22 co-choreographed “Three to Protect,” a contemporary duet, with Judith No ‘20. Mira Chaskes ‘20 choreographed “Where to Start,” a company group piece.

“Choreographing my dance was a rewarding challenge as it required fully comprehending my own creative vision as well as the strengths of each of the dancers. It required a lot of adaptation week to week as I figured out which elements worked and which didn’t,” Chaskes said.

Photo by Rand Blemeister

Nicole Golenberg ‘20 choreographed “Sanctuary,” a small lyrical group dance.

“This was my first time choreographing a piece for the show. When you create something that is so unique to yourself, seeing the final creation on stage is so powerful,” Golenberg said.

Izzi Kessner ‘22 choreographed “Shifting, Seeds, Stars,” a small group piece that featured an aerial hoop solo.

“Going into tech week I was definitely nervous, as my dancers and I had never run my piece in full prior to that week.  However, as soon as I saw the final product, and especially after seeing the actors take part in it, the piece felt complete.  I was much more excited to share and proud of my creation than nervous,” Kessner said.

Photo by Rand Blemeister

Kylie Huber ‘21 choreographed “Border Line”, a contemporary group piece. She particularly enjoyed working with Vinson.

“She is very direct and has a very distinct artistic vision and is able to work well with different stage designs, such as the one we had with the lower platform and upper stage,” Huber said.

Vinson, born and raised in France, started her training in ballet, tap and contemporary dance. She choreographed two dances, “Us” and “Home” for the Evening of Dance.

“The repetition and synchronization of her quartet [“Home”] was metaphorical for tradition and habit, the duet part was a representation of friendship and platonic love, and the solo part symbolized the search for comfort with oneself as an individual,” Huber said.

Photo by Rand Blemeister

This year, the Evening of Dance explored a theme.

“Each piece had its own distinct meaning, but the overarching theme of the Evening of Dance was about what the idea of home means to different people,” Huber said.

A lot of work went into the performance. The group rehearsed three times a week starting in September. Leading up to the Evening of Dance, they held Saturday rehearsals and two weeks of tech leading up to the performances. 

“Your body is exhausted, you’re behind on your work, and you just want to take a nice nap,” Winkler said. “But watching each piece come to life during that period with the costumes and the lighting and the community bonding, which really shows in the pieces, makes it so worth it.”

Photo by Rand Blemeister

For some, this was their last performance with the company.

“Ultimately, performing a piece I had put so much work into was an amazing way to finish out my three years in Dance Dimensions,” Chaskes said.

Dance Dimensions is a special company that leaves a lasting impact on its dancers.

“Dance Dimensions has definitely been the most special part of my Marlborough experience. I have been able to develop and flourish not only as a dancer, but as a young adult through exposure to various choreographers, styles, and stories,” Golenberg said. “Every year, the company and our show take shape differently; this year, the intimate feel provided for the perfect way to end my time as a member of Dimensions.”

Photo by Rand Blemeister