Perpich News

Perpich Arts High School Dance Program presents “The Dancing Bunch”

May 16, 2022

Perpich Arts High School Dance Program presented “The Dancing Bunch” on May 12 and May 13, 2022. Their spring concert was the culmination of a semester of work. The dancers demonstrated their creativity, choreographic skills, and performance expertise in student choreographed works, faculty works, and guest works. The works ranged in style, musical choice, and intention.

Choreography by the students, faculty, and guest artists: Gabrielle Abram (Dance 2015) and Darrius Strong

  • 8 dancers from 8 Minnesota communities
  • A million ideas of inspiration
  • One community

Dancers recreate a photo from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company as a part of dance history

Mary Harding, Dance Instructor, said, “The spring show was a combination of student-created work and guest work by Gabrielle Abram and Darrius Strong. The guest choreographers offered the students a chance to connect to their own identity in the work. The students started their choreographic projects in quarter three. Through this time, the dancers worked through the creative process, a framework for the entire semester. They worked on intention, movement generation, choreographic structures, musicality, and, finally, production elements. The work in this concert showcased their creativity, dedication to process, and generosity to their company members.”

The students reflected on the semester and the concert; as choreographers, as performers, and as participants in tech week:

  • “Your movement isn’t just about you. Your movement and knowledge inspire those around you and those younger than you, the next generation of dancers. Your movement is about community and story.”
  • “I really appreciated Darrius’s approach towards hip hop, as I’ve only experienced classes from people who don’t know as much about the history and relevance of the style. It helped me understand my movement.”
  • “Darrius always helped me feel confident in his class. I learned how to approach movement in a way that feels right for my body, versus trying to get the movement identical to the original. I’m so grateful for the attention he put into teaching us the history behind the movement and the fundamentals of hip hop.”
  • “Gabby’s class taught me to release my inner child while also learning to accept my upcoming adulthood.”
  • “Gabby teaches in a way that makes everyone feel excited and ready to sweat! I feel seen in her class, like I’m able to release my inner child and dance freely.”
  • “We come in as individuals and create as a group. Your use of breath brings life to your movement as well as your emotional range.”

Choreographer Darrius Strong with the Dance students

Darrius Strong is a Twin Cities based dancer, choreographer, and instructor. His dance company, STRONGmovement, uses the universal language of dance, blending styles such as Hip hop, Ballet, Modern, and West African to tell stories related to society and humanity. Strong is a graduate of University of Minnesota (BFA 2015) and is currently faculty at University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Macalester College, St. Paul Conservatory Performing Arts High School, and the TU Dance Center where he focuses on teaching dancers how to connect their identity to movement.

Gabrielle Abram received her training at Perpich Center for Arts Education as well as TU Dance Center. Gabrielle has performed and worked with choreographers such as Mathew Janczewski, Vanessa Voskuil, Orlando Hunter, and Marciano Silva Dos Santos on stages such as The O’Shaughnessy Theatre, The Southern Theater, and The Cowles Performing Arts Center.

Molly Anderson – Greenbush, MN
Lee Christianson – Halstad, MN
Natania Edman – Cokato, MN
Isabel Meyer – Menahga, MN
Kari Mika – Independence, MN
Kylee Miller – Park Rapids, MN
Ana Plucar – Plymouth, MN
Reese Walts – Minneapolis, MN