Term’s First Choreo Lab Welcomes the Spring

The Wrestling Room transformed into a stage at this term’s first Choreo Lab. The Phillips Academy Dance Committee organizes Choreo Labs. Choreo Labs are dance performances that allow any student or group to perform their own choreography, regardless of their levels of experience with dance. Composed largely of modern dance pieces, this month’s Choreo Lab spiced things up with a solo dance to Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream,” choreographed and performed by Jorge Piccole ’14. Going full out into the character of the King of Pop, Piccole transformed the wrestling room into a realistic and captivating stage by donning a single black glove, hat and glasses, all of which are reminiscent of Michael Jackson. He successfully executed difficult moves like the moonwalk, and at times even took on a slightly robotic and authentic appearance. “I thought [the dance] must have been really hard because [Piccole] was on his own, and there’s only so much you can do with one person. I felt like his movements went with the rhythm of the music and also went with what the words were saying,” said Maita Eyzaguirre ’14. In the middle of his piece, Piccole stepped up the intensity, dramatically flinging his hat and sunglasses. He got more into character and more vigorous as the audience cheered and clapped loudly. “[Piccole] was very in character while lip-syncing,” said Supriya Jain ’12. “It was just great to see his confidence because not only was he really talented, he also just commanded the stage and really just captured everyone’s attention,” said Jain. The opening piece, choreographed by Ali Decker ’14, provided a sample of the following modern dance pieces. The first routine featured fluid acrobatic poses, movements and a mix of modern dance and ballet. The piece’s strong point was when the three dancers transitioned from dancing individually to dancing together as a large group. The dancers used each other’s positions for composition throughout most of the performance. Towards the end of the piece, two of the dancers lifted the third dancer who performed a high kick, striking a strong and fascinating pose. Choreo Labs also showcased larger dance groups like the second performance, a piece choreographed by Seika Nagao ’12 to Disney’s Pocahontas song “Colors of the Wind.” The performance featured Nagao herself and four other dancers. “I have really liked [Colors of the Wind] since I was young, so I thought it would be really fun [to perform it],” said Nagao. While choreographing, Nagao focused on the connection between the song and the dancers’ movements, and also the overall composition of the piece. “I decided I wanted to do a combination of a lyrical and modern piece, and I thought [“Colors of the Wind”] was perfect,” said Nagao. Dancers swung on and off the stage throughout the piece, and their impressive sinks to splits and leaps closely reflected the music. The dancers moved vividly when the melody intensified, and many danced gracefully when the music became gentler. The group performed “Colors of the Wind” in solos, duos, trios and as a group. “Although it was very minimalistic, I thought their interesting use of different colored shirts really added an artsy feel to it. They did stuff you had never seen before,” said Nelson Koffman ’13. The Choreo Labs wrapped up with a sweet final piece choreographed by Shannon Callahan ’12 to the song “Wildflower” by the Jane Dear Girls. Distinctly different from the previous pieces, Callahan’s piece utilized three chairs as dance props. Dancing to a more pop song, the dancers embodied the song with buoyant expressions, kicking, struts and flair. As they performed sassy yet cute poses on the chairs, the dancers turned their heads to smile at the audience, further embodying the flowery nature of the song. The lyrics of the song and the fun movements of the routine welcomed the audience with a taste of spring, ending the Choreo Labs on a cheery note. With more Choreo Labs to come this term, dancers and choreographers of all abilities will be able to showcase their talents. “[Choreo Labs] really give dancers an opportunity to grow, so that they’ll improve faster. It gives choreographers the biggest opportunity to have this facility to play with any idea that comes into their head and present it to an audience in a non pressure atmosphere,” said Judith Wombwell, Instructor in Theatre and Dance. “I think [Choreo Labs] are a really good opportunity to showcase student choreography more often,” said Callahan. “And I think it’s a good performance opportunity for dancers because it is not really formal but it is still in front of an audience,” Callahan continued. Look forward to seeing a fresh group of dancers at the next Choreo Labs that will be taking place on May 13th. To become involved with Choreo Labs, contact Carolyn Whittingham ’11 at