Dance Mode On!

As I repeat after Mr. Ryuji the next part of the choreography, I look around the dance studio at the Evening Dance Ensemble through the mirror, and observe how much our dance group has grown.  Ever since freshman year, I have watched the dance program flourish and become more and more professional. Students have been joining, not only to learn contemporary dance, but to also learn Dabke and choreograph their own individual pieces. This year’s dance showcase was proof of all the hard work and vigor that was put into producing our all-encompassing show. On Wednesday, March 4th, about 26 dancers performed our pieces, with 14 of the dancers involved in 3-6 pieces.

As we had never before done a showcase without a host, changing quickly between pieces was a skill that each dancer had to develop. The first dance was performed by our incredible dabke group, the first part of which was choreographed by Omar Lutfi. Mr. Omar has been teaching dabke at King’s for three years now, and I was one of his students for two years; I can tell you for sure that it was a fantastic experience to learn more about my own culture in a different environment. What distinguishes the King’s dabke troupe is its large number of international participants; students of different cultures are willing to experience something new about the culture of Jordan. The second piece that the Dabke troop performed is choreographed by El-Funoun Dance Troupe of Palestine. Mr. Ryuji provided instruction to the King’s Academy Dabke Troupe on the choreography of the piece. Right after Dabke followed a solo piece that Raghad Akrouk ’14 and I choreographed at the end of the past summer vacation just before she left for university. It was this summer that I realised dance was something I would do in my free time, as a hobby, and not just a class I had to take.

“A Glimpse of Our Imagination” was choreographed by the Evening Dance Ensemble itself. Each one of the dancers created an individual phrase and then taught it to several other people in the ensemble. “The Devil Within,” a piece choreographed by Jianing Zhao’16, derived its name from a song of the same title. Along with Aya Arafat ’18, Zhao chose to experiment with other types of music. Zhao chose to match up the choreography with The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky, an influential classical Russian composer of the 20th century.

The hip-hop group performed two pieces at the showcase. Both were choreographed by Faisal Al-Mamun, a hip-hop and contemporary dancer at the National Center for Culture and Arts in Amman. Following the hip-hop performance came a dance choreographed by Mr. Ryuji himself, “Catwalk Chaos.” The Evening Dance Ensemble was taught the choreography first, and then the formation and presentation was decided. It was very enriching to experiment with the different ways that the same choreography can be performed. After Catwalk Chaos came Ning Bao ’16, who performed “Orchid In the Rain,” a Chinese Classical Dance choreographed by Shiyi Tang and Ruirui Tong, who have been teaching Ning dance for about nine years! Last but not least, was “=3.14…Twelve Dancers With Dry Tech; Endless Peripheral Border.” The concept and score of this dance were developed by Yoshiko Chuma, our guest artist this year. Yoshiko has been dancing with Mr. Ryuji for ten years, mostly in New York and Palestine, and came here to teach us this new improvisational, spontaneous style of dance. I felt like this piece contained a message dependent on the audience’s interpretation of it; most people concluded that is was about the chaos of life—but its meanings are as endless as the digits of pi.

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The campus newspaper of King's Academy, in Madaba, Jordan. Established 2007.