NT dance troupe takes the reins
New Trier senior Claire Lindstrom rehearses with the school's Kinesis Dance Ensemble at the school's Northfield campus . The group is preparing for shows January 31, February 1, and 2. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 24, 2013 11:22AM
NORTHFIELD — New Trier High School junior Laura David first saw the high school’s Kinesis Dance Ensemble perform when she was in the seventh grade.
Her parents took her again the next year, the year after that and once again last year. This time she will again be at the show, but as a member of the dance team on stage, perhaps inspiring another young dancer to follow in her footsteps.
“I really loved it and I made it my mission to get on (the team),” David said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to work with so many talented dancers.”
After five months of rehearsals the New Trier Kinesis Dance Ensemble is putting the final touches on their performance ahead of next weekend’s showcase. The 23 students who make up the ensemble, however, are not taking instruction from department staff. Instead, they are choreographing the show themselves.
“I find myself getting very nervous because I have so much invested,” said senior Angelica Revis, a choreographer and performer who also attended Kinesis shows when she was younger.
“Choreographing has been challenging and it forced me to extend my boundaries and be more open and not so controlling,” she said. “I’ve been really excited for this performance for the last month.”
The modern based dance ensemble is made up of juniors and seniors and features 11 acts, 10 of them choreographed by students. Each year the ensemble invites a guest choreographer to direct one act and this year the honor belongs to Ronn Stewart, who works with the students once a week.
“My friends get to be my choreographers and I get to direct them,” said senior Allison McWeeney. “We put it together, made the posters and it’s our baby.”
The students do receive minimal guidance from staff and work with a seven-student stage lighting crew and professional costume designer to bring their works to life.
“It’s not just learning something that’s been created, the students are creating it,” said Kinesis artistic director Johannah Wininsky. “It’s all first time, original choreography.”
Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 with a special matinee performance at 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Cornog Auditorium at New Trier’s Northfield campus, 7 Happ Road. Tickets are $7 for the first two shows and $5 for the Feb. 2 family show.
While the classes, tryouts and three and a half hour rehearsals four days a week can be draining, the students have been relishing every second leading up to showtime.
“It’s a really great experience,” David said. “Seeing what people my age can create is amazing. There is so much talent here.”