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Don’t Miss This Year’s “An Evening of Dance”

Don’t Miss This Year’s “An Evening of Dance”

Twenty-four Upper School dancers will take the stage on April 26 and 27 for the school’s annual An Evening of Dance. A treasured tradition more than 40 years in the making, the event is a chance for students in the Dance Ensemble as well as Chamber Dancers to showcase their year-long creative endeavors. 

It is also a highlight occasion when the eight senior Chamber Dancers — one of the largest cohorts of seniors in recent history — present their original choreography, which constitutes their final project. 

“Each Chamber Dancer was given the opportunity to come up with a thought, concept, or story that is meaningful to them that they could illustrate through movement in an impactful way,” explains Amanda Hudson, Artistic Director of the evening’s performance and Upper School dance instructor. 

Choreography was not their only task, however. Dancers were also asked to demonstrate how additional elements of a performance, like lighting, costuming, props, and music, can work synergistically with movement. A tutorial from a lighting designer helped guide them in their efforts. 

The students’ repertoire is impressively varied, and audience members can expect to be treated to ballet, modern jazz, and contemporary movement. 

Ava Zinna ’24, who fondly recalls dancing in the Primary School under the instruction of dance teacher Mrs. Jennifer Barbosa, will perform in An Evening of Dance for her fourth consecutive year. But this year, she says, is particularly special. “It’s the first time that my own choreography will be performed! More than that, it will also be my last dance performance in the Hyde and Watson Theater. I’ve done so many shows at Kent Place over the years, so this will certainly be bittersweet.”

In addition to the eight original senior works, dancers will perform an additional six, choreographed by Ms. Hudson, including a show-stopping, multimedia finale that invites Middle Schoolers onto the stage. 

Encouraging multidivisional performance is just one of several marks Ms. Hudson — in her second year as Upper School dance instructor — has made on Kent Place’s dance program. Unifying the Dance Ensemble and the Chamber Dancers so both “classes” have the same opportunities to learn choreography and perform is another priority. 

A professionally trained dancer with the Ailey School in Manhattan, she draws heavily on her own experiences and expertise to introduce students to a robust, well-rounded, and critical understanding of the choreographic process and dance production. “By introducing many different styles of dance, from belly dancing and Bollywood to flamenco and modern, I want to continue the tradition of dance as expression — not to simply jump, kick, or turn, but to really help students understand why we do it,” she says. 

Dovetailing with that notion is the theme of this year’s performance, which derives from a Martha Graham quote: “The body says what words cannot.”

Before joining the Dance Ensemble as a freshman, Olivia Peters ’26 attended Evening of Dance every year since joining Kent Place as a Kindergartner. “I remember looking up to the older dancers so much and thinking they were so cool,” she recalls. Now, she delights in being on stage with her fellow dancers. 

Her favorite part: The connection that occurs among the dancers. “We bond so much even though we are all in different grades. And during Tech Week [a full show rehearsal with crew] we bond with the Chamber Dancers as well, which I think is a really special part of not only the dance program but the Kent Place community as a whole,” Olivia says. “It's a lot of hard work but it's always worth it in the end and it's fun being able to do it with my friends throughout the year.”

Ms. Hudson is proud of her dancers and looks forward to watching as their months of work culminate on stage. “I’ve pushed them really hard and I’m so excited for that moment when they get to see everything come to fruition,” Ms. Hudson says. “They have made such progress in every capacity.” 

Not to be missed is that final piece, when Ava and Olivia and other Kent Place dancers from Grades 6–12 will join together — quite possibly for the first time ever — in spirited, passionate, uplifting dance. 

Show Times
Friday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 at 3:00 p.m. 
Hyde and Watson Theater

Dance Ensemble: Evy Boyen ’26, Jane Cepeda ’26, Anna Collins ’27, Chloe Cui ’27, Charlotte Forde ’27, Libby Franklin ’26, Supriya Kamilla ’26, Olivia Peters ’26, Mariana Pirez Ramirez ’26, Kimberly Pritchett ’26, Naomi Ravenell ’26, Jocelyn Wang ’27

Chamber Dancers: Nora Clow ’24, Brooke Dambrot ’26, Elle Dambrot ’24, Sophia Esposito ’24, Catherine Gerbino ’24, Cooper Grogan ’26, Lauren Herman ’26, Sonali Kamilla ’24, Angelica Nwachuku ’24, Avery Sinclair ’26, Katie Tan ’24, Ava Zinna ’24

Middle School Dancers: Quinn Kubeck ’29, Naomi McCreary ’29, Siya Sharma ’29, Eva Tolia ’29, Ava Bracci ’29, Mira Nirula ’29, Rhiya Parmar ’29, Gabi Pelzer ’29, Isabella Urgilez ’29, Sarah Mattle ’28, Karina Bhatia ’28

Crew: Stage Managers Alice Carr ’24 and Vanessa Lee ’24; Light Board Operators Gracen Hill ’27 and Gray Young ’24; Crew: Maya Hardy ’26, Cecilia Hirawat ’26, Jacquelyn Reig ’26, Cari Corrales ’24, Nia McDaniel ’27, Mia Ramos ’26, Julianna Abrantes ’26, Kaitlin Andersen ’26, Emma McQuade ’26, Vivienne Vengroff ’27

Learn more about our Dance program and follow the Arts at Kent Place on Instagram.