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Photo Essay: Movement blossoming: Night of Dance rehearsals progress, resonate with ‘Efflorescent’ theme

In the interest of full disclosure, this reporter is part of Dance Company and Dance Troupe. 


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  • Plucks of a guitar echo inside the Rose Room after school as middle and upper school dancers raise their right arm to their shoulder and look to the floor during “Poppy.” Junior Julianna Hatton choreographed this troupe dance, and she said it has a “creepy contemporary” style. Hatton also said she is glad to have control over the story she wants to tell through movement, relating it to emotions associated with poppies. “That really made me happy and allowed me to do what I wanted with the dance instead of being so confined to a certain style, certain music or certain type of choreography,” Hatton said.  

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • A bed of orange poppy flowers sits in sunshine by The Huntington Library’s botanical gardens. Hatton said she thought it would be fitting if the dancers were “the ghosts of the soldiers who have fought in the wars, and then the poppy field are growing.” According to Kew Gardens, poppies signify remembrance through “A Tale of Two Poppies,” which describes how the flowers kept sorrow away during wartime.

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Reaching out and connecting with one another to form a group pose, dancers pause for an eight-count during “Bougainvillea.” Sophomores Sylvie Haacker and Josie White choreographed this dance, and Haacker said the entire process has been fun. She said she and White appreciate how “Everybody in Dance Company has been working really hard … practicing outside of dance and working on all the timing after changing the music.”

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Right outside the walls of Archer stand rows of deep pink bougainvillea flowers. Dance captains Anna Entin and Sophia Landers wrote in an email to all of the dancers in the show that “The stunning bougainvillea flower carries the symbolic meaning of passion and beauty … to the Victorians, a gift of bougainvillea was meant to ignite passion.” Haacker said this passion can be seen in the direction changes of the dance. “We’ve worked that into connection and flowing with each other,” Haacker said. “We’re putting that [passion] in the dance through moving together.”

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Ready for the music to start any moment, dancers wait in their position at the beginning of hip-hop dance, “Daffodil,” created by choreographer Renée Settle. Sophomore Caroline Collis said she has enjoyed learning and rehearsing the dance. “I feel like the energy has brought our class together, and it’s super fun,” Collis said.

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Inside an Armstrong Garden Center nursery, boxes of yellow and white daffodil bulbs rest on a shelf in the spring flower section. According to Floraly, daffodils symbolize new beginnings because they are one of the first flowers to bloom after the winter season. Caroline Collis (’26) described the emotions associated with the dance. “I feel that it is very happy, connected and carefree,” Collis said. “I think that aligns with the meaning of a daffodil, and we emulate that in our movement and style.”

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Holding their arms out at different levels to the beats of “COZY” by Beyoncé, middle and upper school dancers pose during the “Iris” troupe dance. Choreographer Sydney Curry (’25) said this hip-hop, jazz funk dance can be challenging to coordinate due to the large number of dancers, but it has a positive impact on the audience. “It is hard to orchestrate but really fun watching it because when everyone’s totally in sync, it has this really beautiful final effect,” Curry said.

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
  • Bulbs of one of dutch irises lay in the spring flower section inside an Armstrong Garden Center nursery. According to Entin and Landers’ email, “These vibrant blooms demand attention and will look incredible when included in bouquets.” Curry said the dance movements of “Iris” are fun and bold. “In some ways it’s really sassy because … iris is ‘that girl’ of a flower,” Curry said. “So I think that’s what ‘Iris’ tries to embody.”

    Photo credit: Emily Paschall
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As the new year approaches, Night of Dance rehearsals near completion. Rehearsals began Sept. 5, and the performance will take place at the Santa Monica Broad Stage Feb. 24 and 25, 2024. The theme of the show is “Efflorescent,” and each dance connects to a flower. There is a large range of genres included, from aerial silks to African. 

Seniors Anna Entin and Sophia Landers are this year’s head dance captains, and they sent out an email containing descriptions of each dance’s flower to all dancers in September. Several choreographers said they have been focusing on connecting their movement to the emotions associated with their dance’s flower.

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About the Contributor
Emily Paschall, Senior Reporter
Emily Paschall joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022. She is now a senior reporter. She participates in dance at Archer. She is also a part of the Ambassador Leadership Team Advisory Board and Dance Leadership Team. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to K-pop or Taylor Swift, and playing with her dog.

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