Guys and Dolls—Are We Sure These Are High School Students?

Chloe Golden, Staff Writer

Photo Credits: Zara Linneman

At first I wasn’t sure if attending the Guys and Dolls show would fit into my schedule, but I am so glad that it did. The show was a beautiful display of true skill, emotion, and teamwork. The night started off with Fire of Devotion, choreographed by Rachel Berger. The performers danced with grace and precision, and it was a great opening act. Next was Vivendo Agora by Isabella Jobes. It was a fiery, energetic piece that was a treat to watch! Afterwards was It’s Getting Bad Again, choreographed by Samantha Sergel. It was a dance to a poem with light piano playing in the background. I had never seen any dance performed to something that wasn’t only music before! It displayed impressive storytelling skills with a unique team effort, even though there were only 4 dancers on the stage. Once the 4 exited the stage, Isa Schuerman entered and performed a solo piece titled Growing Love to Would That I by Hozier. It was a breathtaking piece of art, with clear elements of ballet incorporated. There were intense displays of emotion that made the piece all the more heartfelt. Next, 4 dancers entered the stage all dressed in blue to perform Reflection of You choreographed by Ryan Southworth. The dance centered around the 4 dancers performing individually or in pairs, then coming back together to create a unified piece. It was passionate and very well-executed. Next up was a duet between Natalie Petersen and Skye Sullivan titled Evolution. The two were so in sync, and it was clear that there was a real connection between the dancers, the song, the choreography, and then even the audience. Then, to close out the first act, 19 dancers entered the stage to perform Burns, choreographed professionally by Rosario Guillen.f It was the first time the dance had been presented to an audience. It had a huge amount of energy, and truly captured the eye. The dancers started off in all black, then periodically went in and out of the wings to reveal a colorful top when they returned on stage. There was then a brief intermission, in which I realized that the only actual professional piece we had seen that night was the Act I closer. I was blown away—every single piece I watched was professional grade. I figured that the night couldn’t get any better, and yet, in classic GnD fashion, it did! 

Act II started off with one of the overall winning pieces (to be performed again at the dance program show later this spring!) named Get It Together choreographed by Quincy Fields. The piece had 15 dancers, and directing that many fellow classmates is a feat in and of itself. The piece was unique and allowed every dancer to shine through individually while still creating a unified piece. There was a moment in the dance in which all of the dancers lined up single-file from upstage to downstage and threw their arms up and around to create an optical illusion. It was incredibly well-executed and a real crowd pleaser! After Quincy’s piece, another winning dance took the stage: Blind Trust choreographed by Fallon Perkins. All of the dancers were in purple dresses, while Fallon was in white—blindfolded! The piece relied solely on trust (as the name suggested), since Fallon literally could not see the other dancers around her, only the lights and faint silhouettes. The dancers worked together to guide each other through the piece, and beautifully conveyed a story intertwined with the music. At the end, Fallon’s blindfold was unwrapped from her head for a short duet during the final chorus, with her dance partner eventually running off of the stage, leaving her and the blindfold behind—truly encapsulating the idea of ‘blind trust’. Next up was a piece called the finer things by Grace Fitzpatrick. Grace was jazzed to put her piece on stage and later told me, “You get the opportunity to bring a whole idea to life. Getting to also see your idea become real is so incredible.” Her piece had a lot of interesting stage pictures, and every dancer was either alone or in a pair at some point in the dance, which, as the name suggested, allowed you to focus on the finer parts of the dance, rather than large movements created by groups. Afterwards was a solo performance choreographed by Rachel Berger with help from Sarah Bodony. Rachel absolutely knows how to capture an audience’s attention! Her movements were grand and intentional, and she was able to perfectly encapture a push-and-pull relationship. The next piece was Something I Can Feel by Vanessa Lowder. The song that was danced to was Good Heart by Indigo De Souza. The song starts off relatively slow, and eventually builds to a huge, meaningful chorus. Vanessa did an excellent job at following the build of the song. The dance started off with fast-paced movements in smaller groups, and then led to impressive twirls and a large ensemble finale. To end off the student-created dances, the final winning piece took the stage: In the Stars by Kendall Sorkin. Kendall, a senior, has been a member of GnD since her freshman year, and told me, “Making the team that first year, I was just instantly surrounded by a group of people who turned into family so quickly.” Her love and commitment to dance and GnD was clearly displayed throughout her duet. Kendall and Quincy (the other dancer on stage) were an amazing pairing. Their jumps were perfectly in sync, and completely captured the eye. They were bold and persuasive, and you could feel their connection even when they were on opposite sides of the stage. I am still awe-struck by how high in the air they were able to jump! 

Finally, after acknowledging all the choreographers, Guys and Dolls performed their classic dance: Rapt, choreographed by Sinead Gildea. This dance is intense and a true team piece. The formations they create would not be possible without every member in the piece on stage, and it is so obvious how much effort they all put into the show. The dance allowed the audience to reflect on the night, and draw comparisons between another professionally choreographed dance and the student-made dances. I am continuously astounded by the Guys and Dolls team, and Grace Fitzpatrick wonderfully summarized their show with two sentences, “It’s an amazing opportunity to learn and grow your skill set by working with other choreographers. There are so many unique and individualized dances all put in one show.”