‘Hammyland’ reopens its doors for the Fall Dance Concert

By Ava Cassidy / News Editor 

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Members of the Upper School Hip Hop Company rehearse their dance entitled “Under Construction” on Oct. 29. Their piece is inspired by Missy Elliot and her album with the same title as their dance. Photo by Priyanka Chiguluri / Editor-in-Chief.

For the first time since the fall of 2019, Harpeth Hall’s Dance Company is back on stage with a live performance and a live audience. This semester’s theme is ‘Under Construction,’ which stems directly from the many unknowns and ever-changing variables surrounding COVID-19 that permeated the planning process for the concert. 

“The whole reason I did the Under Construction theme was we had no idea where we would be right now,” Dance Company Director Stephanie Hamilton said. 

“I tried to plan for every contingency. We didn’t even know if we’d have a live audience.”

As the concert has begun to take a more concrete form in the past weeks, rules surrounding COVID-19 have been put in place both for the audience and the dancers. Dancers are required to wear masks backstage and will only remove them while dancing. They will also be tested for COVID-19 on Nov. 18 and 19 before the concert and will be temperature checked on Nov. 20 before the Saturday show. 

“I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to perform live again,” junior Ruby Wolter said. “Dance is an amazing community, and we are so thankful to Mrs. Hammy for her hard work in making this concert possible.”

PERFORMING IN PERSON: The Upper School Blue Ballet Company performs in the Fall Dance Concert teaser during the All School Assembly on Nov. 16. Video by Leelee Campbell / Backpage Editor. 

Additionally, the audience will be required to wear masks throughout the show, and there will be no intermission in an attempt to prevent the audience members as well as the dancers backstage from interacting more than necessary. 

“We still didn’t know until recently what the audience would be like. They decided in the last couple weeks that we could do 500. We’re just asking the audience themselves to social distance, and we’re asking for them to wear masks,” Mrs. Hamilton said. 

The safety of the dancers was also considered during the planning process. In an effort to prevent any spreading of COVID-19, dancers will be masked backstage and have less elaborate costume changes than in previous years. 

All dancers have a basic costume that consists of a leotard and leggings that are worn during the entire show. For certain numbers, costume pieces like sweatshirts and cargo pants are layered over the basic costume.

Furthermore, dancers will change out of their street clothes and into their basic costumes and will also do their hair and makeup in Morrison gym before going backstage. Dancers are also asked to change out of their costumes before they meet with audience members outside the building after the finale of each show, so they are essentially ready to leave as soon as possible. 

“I’m excited we can really do a live show,” Mrs. Hamilton said. “Every ‘concert’ has been reinventing something new.” 

Roughly 60 dancers and techies make up the Dance Company, and all of them are participating in this semester’s Dance Concert. The showtimes are Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6:30, Friday, Nov. 19 at 6:30, and Saturday, Nov. 20 at 2:00.

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