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By Lisa Moore
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
The WHS Spring Performing Arts season has kicked off, showcasing a wide variety of talented students in areas of dance, vocal music, and performing arts.
Wellesley Moving Company, a WHS dance company directed by Janet Sozio, performed its annual Footnotes concert, a collaborative dance concert. This one-night-only show was the culmination of collaborative creativity that started back in January. After 10 weeks of creating and rehearsing, followed by two-and-a-half weeks of technical rehearsals, the well-attended show highlighted the talents of over two-dozen very dedicated, committed, and highly-motivated Wellesley students. Among those students was senior Nicole Franklin, who created a piece for the show. Other collaborators included guest choreographer Hannah Petrarca from Rhode Island College, dancers from Cambridge School of Weston, Dana Hall School, Wellesley Middle School Junior Moving Company, Sprague School Mini Movers, and a guest flamenco group from Framingham called “Always Be Dancing: Flamenco for Every Body,” directed by Eve Costarelli.
This is the 20th season for Janet Sozio as director of Wellesley Moving Company. Her enthusiasm and love of dance as an art form compel her to create opportunities for her students to experience multiple forms of dance, and as many different teaching perspectives as she can offer. One way this is accomplished is through the partnership she has created with Rhode Island College. Through this longstanding partnership, WHS students are exposed to other visions, choreography types, dance styles, and different dance perspectives. “The goal is to expand students’ appreciation for all the multifaceted ways dance can happen,” said Sozio. Through a POPS grant, this year she was able to bring in a guest dance teacher to do a two-day workshop. WHS dancers attended this as a two-day, in-school field trip, learning from Mr. Jun Kuribayashi from Pilobolus Dance Workshop, an international dance company established in the 70s.
Always looking to expand the program, Mrs. Sozio encourages students of all experience and ability levels to join Moving Company, believing that dance is accessible to everyone regardless of background and physical skills - something everyone can do. “I would love it if kids would give it a try, to step out of what’s comfortable and known and expand their appreciation for what dance is. I want kids to feel that whatever size, shape, or skill they have, I want them to feel comfortable - and for dance to be accessible to all.”
In addition to the work of Moving Company, the ever-busy WHS choral department held the Spring Masterwork Concert, featuring the music from Mozart’s Coronation Mass. The concert was a collaboration including WHS choral students, WHS Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, and professional guest soloists Amanda Kohl, Clare McNamara, Stefan Reed, and Jacob Cooper. The evening of music provided students an opportunity to work and perform with professional singers - and it made for a wonderful evening of entertainment.
The month of May is filled with many more opportunities to enjoy the performing arts, such as the upcoming spring production of “Peter and The Starcatcher” in WHS Little Theater from May 3-5. For an up-to-date calendar of May events and ticket information, visit www.wellesleypops.org.