DUNDALK — The Office of Music and Dance Education hosted the 2020 Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) Student Choreography Showcase on Feb. 6 at Patapsco High and Center for the Arts to highlight work choreographed and produced by BCPS students.
This event was created to support the choreography units in the BCPS dance curriculum and provide a goal or avenue for school dance programs to advance student choreography.
“Students are creating choreography in their dance classrooms under the guidance of their dance teachers; this event gives a purpose to the work,” Sonia Synkowski, Dance Resource Teacher in the BCPS Office of Music and Dance Education said.
“In most schools, student work is selected for this countywide event. It’s an honor and an accomplishment to have your work selected for the showcase. Also, in collaboration with the professional dance company ClancyWorks Dance Company, the students have an opportunity to get feedback and learn from professional dancers and choreographers.”
The yearly dance showcase advances BCPS students voices and their ideas.
“It provides a positive outlet for self-expression. As an adult and content leader, I always walk away from the event feeling confident that our dancers can truly change the world, one dance at a time. It’s empowering for young people and hopefully inspiring for the audience,” Synkowski said.
Participating schools for this year’s showcase were: Deep Creek Middle, Deer Park Middle Magnet, Dundalk High, George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Lansdowne High, Milford Mill Academy, Owings Mills High, Parkville High, Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, Stemmers Run Middle, and Sudbrook Magnet Middle.
Prior to the dance groups putting on their official performance, adjudicators judged each dance group to give them feedback.
Dundalk High dance teacher Rachel Nelson said her dance students have been practicing for the showcase since the beginning of the school year.
The students ran into a few problems getting the dance routines together because a few students moved away, which caused them to alter their performances— but they pulled it together for the showcase.
After the adjudicators gave the Dundalk High dance group their critique, “they really brought it,” Nelson said.
“I think it really pushed my girls to up their game in terms of performance quality,” she noted.
Nelson was pleased to know that the dance routines were all student work.
“And for it to be such a good show I was impressed. All of the dancers were lovely,” Nelson said.
Seventh graders from Deep Creek Middle choreographed their dance piece for the concert and it took them about three or four weeks to perfect it.
“They were very nervous, so to be able to choreograph a dance and have a live audience see their work outside of the classroom, they didn’t know what to expect,” Deep Creek Middle’s dance teacher Alexa Saunders-Hewitt said.
The Deep Creek Middle dancers got feedback from the adjudicators, so it was nice for them to hear outside feedback, according to Saunders-Hewitt
“They did such a wonderful job. I was so proud of them and they really just shined on stage,” Saunders-Hewitt said.
According to Synkowski, the dance teachers often say that the dance showcase is their students’ favorite event of the year.
“I think that is because they get to see what other students are creating and get inspired from each other. The students also enjoy the process of working with a technical crew in order to fully produce their work. And those roles are student-run as well,” Synkowski said.
The 2020 BCPS Student Choreography Showcase is an opportunity for students to grow their leadership development and allows them to realize their creative potential.
“Our student choreographers have to be responsible for meeting deadlines, managing a cast of peers, deciding costumes, selecting music, and many other production aspects. The creative process is, by nature, collaborative and requires effective communication skills,” Synkowski said.
“All of these aspects will prepare our dance students for the creative workforce.”