Advanced Honors Dance Class Mesmerizes In Student-Choreographed Piece

Est-ce Que Tu Peux Me Voir?” When translated to English reads, “Can you see me?” Marymount’s Advanced Honors Dance class was asked to think of this question and the psychological impacts – both socially and emotionally – of abruptly shifting our narrative and our way of life to one of social distancing and quarantine, especially as a teenager in today’s society.   

Ms. Julie Carson, Director of Dance and Chair of the Performing Arts Department, initiated this conversation prior to California’s initial safer-at-home mandates which were put into place on Mar. 19. Choosing the song Est-ce Que Tu Peux Me Voir by Jun Miyake because of how perfectly it reflected perspective, this haunting lyrical prose encapsulated the students feelings of wanting to be seen as themselves, yet also fit in within bigger group settings – feelings that were captured in a free-consciousness writing assignment earlier this spring. 

“By the near end of this process, I realized that what we were attempting to express had such universality,” Ms. Carson shared. “The dance could represent both the individual and the group while in the midst of quarantine and a pandemic.”

Students choreographed a number that left the entire community in awe of their talent. Each dancer created emotional solos, and then adjusted them to the space and area in which they had to work.

Including masks as a representation of both their literal use within our new normal, as well as figuratively with the stressors that teenagers have in succumbing to societal pressures and protecting themselves from truly being seen, was a poignant addition to the piece. 

Junior Kristen G. edited the entire video together, which she humbling described as a grueling task. 

“I had to manage dozens of videos for certain parts of the piece submitted by my fellow classmates,” Kristen recalled. “It took hours to make sure the timing was perfect as each dancer passed from one screen to the next, but the end result was definitely worth it.”

When asked about the challenges in creating this piece in a remote learning capacity, Ms. Carson described the countless hours spent discussing how the dances would work together and separately, where each dancers’ solo would fit into the music and in the video, where the dancers would wear masks, and how walking, turning, and leaping would progress across the screen.

Though this dance was meant to be performed outside of Cantwell Hall for the Spring Arts Festival, the quarantine offered the dancers an opportunity to include other elements of time and space during the time of COVID-19. 

“The dancers made it work with their creativity, boldness, and courage,” Ms. Carson shared. “I feel really proud of them and the making of this work.” 

To watch the performance, please CLICK HERE.