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This year Rowland Hall’s dance concert, titled Wired, brought together dance, film, and live music to explore the burgeoning world of brain science. The artistic efforts of over 100 sixth through twelfth graders brought Wired to the stage. Twenty student-choreographed dances were given context by an ongoing film and narrative, the Upper School tech crew supported the production backstage, and live music by several high school jazz and orchestra musicians punctuated the performance.
Through film and choreography, Wired interpreted the latest findings in brain science and its effect on human behavior, relationships, educational systems, and societal norms.
Leading up to the concert, students researched materials on brain science and then explored the concepts using the physical body as a tool. Rowland Hall’s dance program currently boasts six ensembles, including a thriving Middle School boys group of over 20 students. Each ensemble gave outstanding performances ranging from high-energy hip hop, to creative modern dance and emotionally expressive adagio.
Student-choreographers provided insight into empathy explained via mirror neurons, and showed that gender norms can reshape pathways in the brain. Other topics included how marketing affects our brains, whether mental illnesses can be reversed, why euphoria is addictive, and whether the subconscious mind holds the key to understanding the past. Some choreography veered outside of the scientific method to explore such phenomena as spirituality.
Dances by guest choreographer Ursula Perry, Rowland Hall Dance Director and Arts Department Chair Sofia Gorder, and dance teachers Allison Spehar and Amy Fry explored the big questions of our day while giving students an opportunity to hone their technique, craft, and performative skills.
During intermission, audience members enjoyed a new showing of student-created visual art in the Larimer Center Gallery, titled Mind to Hand to Paper. Art Teacher Rob Mellor suggested how viewers should contemplate the installation: “Search for the tangible places where intent meets spontaneity within each work,” he said. “Discover another side to students appearing in the show who demonstrate a commitment to individual exploration.”