“Illumination” highlights experiences of growing up

Editing by Cybele Zhang, Video Courtesy of Maya Winkler

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“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it,” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in “The Little Prince.”

This year’s Night of Dance took place at American Jewish University on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. The show, entitled “Illumination,” was inspired by the 1943 novella “The Little Prince.” The children’s story illuminates the various emotions and experiences of growing up, and dancers sought to tell this story through movement.

Photo by Cybele Zhang
Seniors Audrey Angel, Meagan Rowles and Dana Duwaji perform “To Build A Home” choreographed by Ashley Fisher. The seniors are members of the Advanced Dance Company class.

Each dance in the show followed the story of “The Little Prince” and detailed the story of a young princess as she makes her way through space from his small asteroid — Archer’s version flipped the gender to female. Along the way, the protagonist faces many new things and people. According to dance teacher Andrea Locke, the show’s producing artistic director, the performance included many coming-of-age themes. 

“The production illuminates grown-up experiences with the joy, wisdom and imagination of childhood,” Locke said. 

According to several Archer students, the performance’s themes resonate with what they are currently experiencing as high schoolers. 

“[The show] means a lot to me,” Senior Dance Captain Sophie Goldberg ’18 said. “It’s a lot about growing up, and [going to college] is a big milestone in my life right now. Everything’s going to be changing for us.”

This year’s show included over 100 dancers, 12 of whom were seniors. For the seniors, this was their final Archer dance production.

Photo by Zoe Woolf
Senior dancers pose after their final show. Each senior was presented a unique flower chosen by her parents.

“I think that because there are so many students in the dance show, there’s around 110, it’s a huge part of the Archer community,” Goldberg ’18 said.

According to students, the younger girls are also given the opportunity to connect with and gain knowledge from the older girls.

“We all really bond together [with] the different grades,” Leila Mirdamadi ‘20 said. “I definitely got to create new friendships with the juniors and seniors, which was really cool.”

According to Mirdamadi, Archer’s Night of Dance also unites the Archer community in more ways than dancing. 

“It shows [everyone] that you can create art that is also super entertaining,” she said. “People can look at us and feel inspired. They can also see that we can work hard while still having fun.”

Although all of “Illumination” follows the storyline of “The Little Prince,” choreographers used many types of movement to portray the story. This year included ballet, hip hop, contemporary and aerial work among others. 

“We had some diverse styles [of dance],” Goldberg ’18 said. “But I would really like to see more of that diversity [in the future] and more new styles of dance that we haven’t had in the past.” 

This year’s production also included a moon shaped set used for each dance. This is the first time Archer dance has ever employed a set.

“[The Night of Dance] is a great way to bring together all the different grades,” Goldberg ’18 said. “It’s one of the only all-grade interactions that we have at school, so it’s a really great way to see the Archer community come together as one.”  

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