Backhaus Dance

Nicole Nelson
At the K-5 assembly on December 5, Orange County-based contemporary modern dance group Backhaus Dance performed “Arrive,” a work that was based on a Maya Angelou quote (below).

To capture the quote, the dancers developed what they called a “movement alphabet.” Phrase by phrase, they performed parts of the dance by spelling out each word. Then they introduced techniques to add embellishment: sustained movement quality, suspend and collapse, as well as percussive, pendular, and vibratory movements. Students then got to see the entire quote performed with the full range of expressions.

Throughout the assembly, the students had several opportunities to make the word “dance” using the movement alphabet and trying out the different techniques. Ask a K-5th grader to spell “dance” for a taste of this memorable presentation.

** “Arrive” was based on the following text: “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
– Maya Angelou

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Harbor Day School is a co-educational private independent K-8 school established in 1952.