At the beginning of fall semester, Dance 11 students at Hants North Regional High School were told that they would be participating in a final performance as an exam mark for the course. The horror was instantaneous! Do we have to? In front of how many people? Will we fail the course if we don’t? The class consisted of mostly novice dancers, with a splash of experienced ones. There was beautiful diversity in the class, including a couple international students. Teacher Cassie Green promised students that they would feel differently in four months, and the panic subsided for the time being. "We dove right in and spent the semester studying several different types of dances, performing in small groups in front of the class, and eventually performing in front of some of the student body," said Green. This included both a Halloween performance at Kennetcook District School and a flash mob for the junior and senior high school students over lunch hour. Dancers slowly came out of their shells, gained confidence, and learned to express themselves through movement. They conquered those challenging out-of-my-comfort-zone moments that result in the most glorifying self-pride and learned a lot about themselves in the process.
On January 15th, the students put their skills to the ultimate test. Each student was given five tickets to invite friends and family to their final performance in order to minimize anxiety and keep the venue as intimate and comfortable as possible. Students spent weeks mastering choreography and solving choreographic problems. All students participated in four whole-group performances and one small group performance that was self-taught and perfected with a few students from the class. Students also wrote short personal accounts regarding an aspect of dance class to share with the audience in between sets. These were read by the fabulous student MCs, Nicole Aucoin and Brittany Higgins. Other student volunteers stepped up to help work the curtain, record the evening or hand-out programs. The night was a major success! The applause eruped over and over again in appreciaton and encouragement. At the end of the night, the dancers took their final bows with great pride.
At the request of Ms. Green, students reflected on the evening:
“I will still nervous about the informance up until a few days before when you told us to think of nerves as excitement. I never thought of it that way and it really helped me be more confident during the informance.”
“It was very unnerving up until we set up the seats for the audience, and 100 chairs didn’t look like nearly as many as I expected.”
“I’m a shy person and the thought of doing something in front of people terrified me. Having done it, I feel proud of me and how I’ve changed since the start of the semester. I’m still a little shy but I feel more comfortable to do stuff in front of people and in general.”
“During the informance I felt a bit a nervous but I quite enjoyed showing others the dances we learned because we really worked hard on all of them and I think everybody enjoyed all the dances.”
“I was completely comfortable performing at the informance, something I could only imagine at the start of the year.”
“I feel so proud that people wanted to watch our dances.”
“I wanted to show everybody everything we’ve done as a group because I think we all look amazing. As we grew closer to the informance, and even on the night of the show, the nerves were still there. But it was coupled with excitement, and I had fun.”
"Despite the initial hesitation, students took a huge risk and faced their fears. I couldn’t have been more proud!," said Green. "It was an unforgettable semester with such a great group of students."