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ENCOMPASS By Anita Liu, Christina Kan, and Nathan Yee

Above: Lowell Dance Company performs "Fall Rally." Photo by Anita Liu

On April 19 and 20, Lowell's Dance Department showcased pieces they’ve been working on at the annual spring dance concert. This year’s overarching theme was “Encompass” because all of the pieces included a little bit of everything from a variety of styles to emotions to intentions. The art of dance encompasses all aspects of life and gives us meaning, depth, and a platform for expression.

This year’s dance concert was directed by Brenda Palaby, who is filling in for Wendy Jones, who is currently on sabbatical. This was the first time Palaby directed a dance show. Palaby is a Lowell alumna as well as a former Dance Company member.

Palaby described the process of putting on a dance production as challenging, but rewarding. She has had to choreograph pieces for every class, get permission to use the auditorium, and direct every rehearsal. “There’s a lot of things that go into it that you don’t realize as a student or even as a dancer,” Palaby said. “I’ve been a part of many productions but I haven’t been responsible for all the behind the scenes aspects that go into it. It’s a lot for one person, I had a lot of learning to do, but it was really fun.”

This year's Dance Concert featured pieces choreographed by Palaby, Jones, the students, and guest choreographer Chris Shinn.

Right: Sophomore Casey Saplan is lifted by Dance Company members in "Make Way" choreographed by Wendy Jones. Photo by Anita Liu

Seniors were able to perform skills they've learned in dance throughout their years in their solos and duets. Top left: Chloe Kerr-Stein performs "Catch." Photo by Nathan Yee Top right: Breanna Li and Liana Roch perform "Lines Between Spaces." Photo by Christina Kan Bottom: Katrina Lau performs "Blessings." Photo by Anita Liu
Left: Dance Company hits a pose in "Fally Rally." Right: Junior Payton Kawanami grooves with Dance Company in "Spring Rally." Photos by Anita Liu
Advanced dancers strike jazz poses in "Fashionably Late." Photo by Nathan Yee
Junior Christina Leung leads the intermediate class in "Feels Good," a piece inspired by hip hop culture. Photo by Anita Liu
Dance Company members lift junior Payton Kawanami in "Don't You," choreographed by senior co-captain Erika Dorwart. Photo by Anita Liu
Left: Advanced dancers surround senior Alice Qi in "I Lived," choreographrd by Dance Company members senior Katrina Lau and junior Verena Lee. Right: Dancers express how the most precious moments in life are the ones you end up sharing with others in "I Lived." Photos by Anita Liu

Because Palaby is a substitute for Jones, she will not be returning to Lowell next school year. “I’m very proud of how far the dance program has come and how students continue to be very open-minded to different art forms,” Palaby said, reflecting on her year at Lowell. “I think it’s so important especially [with] the very academically driven culture that’s here. And shoutout to Wendy Jones because I would not have been able to as successful in the position I'm in if she hadn't set the foundation of this program already.”

Left: Dancers return to the stage for a final curtain call. Photo by Nathan Yee

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