Speaking through movement “Pierce the Stillness”

A sold out audience, 46 dancers and 15 dance pieces. Ballet, jazz, hip-hop, modern, contemporary, tap and ballroom were some of the many music styles that flowed through the room.

The “Pierce the Stillness” fall dance concert ran from Nov. 10-12 on the Performing Arts Mainstage.

Faculty and student choreographed the dances in the performances.

Instructor Denise Gibson choreographed four dance pieces of the total 15 in the show. She said everyone worked hard, and she was happy to see a full theater.    

“We love students to show off their hard work, and the bigger the audience, the more fun it is for them,” Gibson said. “They get more energy. It is always a pleasure to have a big audience.”

Gibson said she is proud of the student dancers because they go out of their way to make it to rehearsals and to shows. She said some of them take the bus to Pierce late at night.

“They are so devoted. I feel grateful and honored to work with all of them,” Gibson said.

Gibson said she is satisfied with the performance, but nothing is ever perfect.

“There is no such thing as perfection in live theater,” Gibson said. “That is why live theater is still loved, because you can’t do another take like you can in film; it is what it is that night.”

Student dancer Kayla Racham said they rehearsed eight weeks for the show, but had only one day a week to practice.

“It was hard, but we ended up coming together during tech week to put the show together before we actually run it,” Racham said.

Racham said some of the performers are Valley College students, others are from high schools and the rest are Pierce performing arts students.

Racham said when she goes on stage, it is inevitable to be nervous, but as she starts to dance, that feeling starts to vanish, and she enjoys what she does.

Racham was surprised to see a full theater.  

“It’s really nice to see everyone there supporting us,” Racham said. “It’s a community coming together and having fun together.”

Racham said every student should take at least one perfoming arts class while at Pierce.

“It’s a definite need. It’s a great experience to go through, whether it is theater, art or dance,” Racham said. “It’s a great way of expressing yourself.”

Gibson said students choose what dance style fits their personality and move forward with that. They specialize in one or two styles, and that’s what they do on stage.

Giancarlo Zapata has been taking dance classes at Pierce for a few semesters now. He said his favorite music style is hip-hop.

Zapata was one of the 46 dancers in the recital. He said he goes somewhere alone and listens to music before going on stage. That’s how he prevents anxiousness or stage fright before a show, he said.

Zapata said dancing makes him feel free. He can be himself in front of everyone, and no one judges him. At the end of the day, it’s just a show, he said.  

“Once you get into it, you forget everything and nothing matters, just you and the dance,” Zapata said.

Zapata said his instructors and choreographers are amazing, but strict.

“It’s hard. They push you a lot, but it’s really fun,” Zapata said. “They are really nice people and always supportive.”

Gibson said all performers are exceptional dancers. She said they are very dedicated, fun, and creative. She said they are all really close friends, and that’s what matters at the end of the day.

Gibson said taking a performing arts class is a different type of academic lesson every student can enjoy, because they get to be themselves.

“Creativity can integrate into any major at any profession, and it’s also a good way to meet friends and have some down time,” Gibson said. “You are just relaxing and dancing and being creative. Sometimes it’s a good way to put your brain in another space rather than just academics all the time.”

To view a behind the scenes video piece of “Pierce the Stillness,” click here.

***This story has been updated to include a video of “Pierce the Stillness.”***

***This story has been updated to include more photos from the concert***