November 2014: Bangor HS English classes create dances about universal themes in medieval literature.
Class One explored the relationship between the natural world and the order and structure imposed by humans.
In the students’ own words:
“The beginning of the dance sets the whole scene. The music and the motions make the viewer assume middle ages, or medieval times.” L.W.
“The next part shows the nature in our world.” –K.W. …”We start out as the sun exploding us into a circle as high and big as we can be and then we end in our same spots only we are low and close to the ground to show that the mood of this part is now not as big and strong as before.” –E.D.
“(We show how nature) grows and affects us in our lives. We built up a house, and nature brought it
down. It symbolizes that nature is in full control at the time. In this time, man had gone out to
conquer nature, and began to push it away. We come into the scene the same way, to push nature
out. When nature has receded, we begin our own orderly lives, the same every day. We work in the
fields, everyone in the same rhythm and movement. With order, however, comes punishment. We
beat a man, which in those times was a normal thing to do. We seek protection for ourselves. And
we find the church. It all comes back to the church. As some of us are praying, nature begins to
come back, attempting to find its place back in the world. A cathedral is built, and the trees begin
to form with the building. The church then turns to protect nature, as it was God who sent them to
protect nature on his earth. The walls begin to breakdown. The orderly grasp over nature is falling
away. The people go to sit, with the very trees they sought to keep away, providing them shade.” –K.W.
“The ending of our piece becomes more techno in the music and we complement the music by our
movements, being looser at times and then stiff at other times. For example, the trees we represent
move with the wind and flow back and forth whereas the soldiers and walls have tight sharp
movements. When the wall breaks down they have quick, short movements and keep sharp edges.” –E.D.
“The dance ends with one man, reading what can be thought as the Bible, walking through this
peaceful time. Nature and man are essentially arm in arm. At peace. What I hope is that the
audience sees that our story is more than just that. I see it as our way of explaining what is
happening in our world, and what can happen if we learn to embrace nature, instead of wishing to
conquer it.” –K.W.
Class Two explored themes in human relationships: love and betrayal, violence and reconciliation, evil and love.
In the students’ own words:
“Our dance was broken into four parts to help tell our story. Part 1 began with Avery,
representing evil, rising up and striking fear into the citizens. The knights then began to stand up
against evil, and good rose up and turned evil good.
The second part began with the groups symbolizing love, unity, and forgiveness…. To start
off part 3 the groups formed three circles. The inner two showed conflict through violence and the
outer group stood up and showed their willingness to fight, although they did not want to. The
outer group acted as a spirit of peace, and showed stability, prosperity, and happiness. This led to
the inner groups that previously quarreled making good and becoming friends. In part four, Avery,
who once was evil but is now good, rose up to grasp an orb representing love from the sky.
The orb was passed out and handed throughout the group, who then handed it to the audience.
The dance ended with all of our pulling our hands back to our chest as we lower our heads, as if to
tell the audience “It’s your turn now. Pay it forward.”. This all works together to form the whole
by telling a story of transformation, love, conflict, and peace. These themes are represented
constantly throughout the dance and are very important themes in literature. Just as we all had to
work together to form a dance group, all the parts need to work together to form a story.” –B.H.