Kristine Tarozzi & Dancers
Those of us who are senior citizens and do not have teenage children (or grandchildren) might have rather a hazy idea of what kids are up to in high school these days. Perhaps we imagine them in our minds intently absorbing information in classrooms or engaged in gladiatorial combat on the playing fields.
Well, Thursday evening in the CHS Center for the Performing Arts, we had a glorious evening of dance and choreography in a show put together by Kristine Tarozzi, seemingly with a cast of thousands — I don’t know when I have seen so many kids on stage, and they seemed to be having the time of their lives. Rumor has it that attendance in dance class is an acceptable substitute for PE, and of course there are some who relish the prospect of avoiding a person with a whistle in her mouth and a clipboard under her arm directing such unlovely activities as pushups or laps around the track (for saying this, I can probably expect a barrage of hate mail from PE instructors telling me how wrong I am about PE, and maybe even inviting me to enroll in a PE Bootcamp).
However, by the end of the evening I had decided that the kids we were observing were not PE evaders, but rather kids who genuinely enjoyed dancing as an expressive outlet for their creative energy. For someone like me, who spends his entire waking hours involved in classical music by dead composers (they are decomposing, not composing), hearing teen pop music — everything from sentimental ballads to Rock, Hip Hop, Rap and Funk — was an eye-opening (and ear-opening) journey through some pulsing loud music that demanded our attention and seemed wonderfully appropriate for the dances we were observing.
One other dimension adding to the success of this evening was effective lighting by a skilled crew that kept the scene on stage vibrating with light changes that occasionally zapped dancers with spotlights, and sometimes varied the intensity and hue of the lighting from extreme silhouetting to almost total darkness on stage. This effective use of light delivered an extremely fast pace to each scene (there were twenty-five different sets altogether and the change of lighting and action within each set was so fast and exciting that each set left you wanting more).
After Me Comes the Flood
One of the most arresting images was from the beginning of “After Me Comes the Flood” with choreography by Maisy Bockus and the song “Après Moi” by Regina Specktor. It was like a tableau that slowly came to life before our eyes.
Another outstanding set was “Contamination” with choreography by Rachel Goren to Glósóli by Sigur Ross. Projected on a rear screen was a depiction of an idyllic virgin forest, that gradually during the dance became displaced by ugly residential and commercial buildings. The grand finale of decay was symbolized by toxic industrial smoke seeping on to the stage and ultimately overcoming the dancers.
This powerful evening of music and dance choreography demonstrates that high school students can produce arresting and artistic work that has depth and meaning. Although most of the music was pre-recorded, there were some notable exceptions. “Kinesis,” choreographed by Eliza Perkins, featured a Bach cello solo performed by Enrique James Rios-Ellis (Ari Freedman will be playing the solo in the Friday evening performance), and “Blind,” very imaginatively choreographed by Mia Pak, also included Ms. Pak singing “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan, with piano accompaniment by Jonathan O’Grady.
For those of us who rarely have contact with school productions, it was heartening to see from the printed program that on May 20 there will be a CHS Jazz Concert, on May 21 a theatrical production “Crimes of the Heart,” and most surprising of all, “The Monterey Peninsula Student Film Fest” on May 27.”