North Carolina Dance Festival Zooms forward

Associate+professor+of+dance+studies%2C+Cara+Hagan%2C+during+her+dance+routine.+The+North+Carolina+Dance+Festival+took+place+over+Zoom+this+year+due+to+the+COVID-19+pandemic.

Courtesy of Anne Morris

Associate professor of dance studies, Cara Hagan, during her dance routine. The North Carolina Dance Festival took place over Zoom this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Savannah Brewer

A computer and an internet connection were the only requirements for viewers to witness the synergetic and collaborative work of over 20 dancers on Oct. 25.

The North Carolina Dance Festival took place over Zoom despite challenges posed by the pandemic. The show is traditionally a traveling showcase that has made several appearances in Boone. 

This year’s show focused on the festival’s history. The organization presented the dancers with a series of pictures from the show’s past 30 seasons to draw inspiration from. 

“I love that dance offers something for almost everyone,” festival director Anne Morris wrote in an email. “It inspires me to see and experience the ways that moving together breaks down boundaries, and I love when a dance in performance reveals something true about people or about the world, particularly if it happens in a way I struggle to put into words.”

Morris said her team had to shift its plans due to the pandemic. Traveling performances were postponed, but the organization found a way to still bring dance to the North Carolina community. 

In the production, editors combined the 30-second to one-minute clips of participant’s routines with music to make a conglomerate of dance. The production was edited by Hannah Sutton, with direction from Morris. 

Morris said App State’s dance department was very welcoming to the festival. 

 “The students were so eager to see and participate in the festival,” Morris said. “I also remember how clearly “fall” that performance was every year with the colorful leaves and even some snow at times.”

Among the dancers were associate dance professors Sherone Price and Cara Hagan, who have been involved in the festival for several years. 

Price and long time friend and dancer Jasmine Powell were partners for his routine.

Price and Powell drew some of the inspiration for their dance from a West African dance of strength called doundounba. The pair recorded their routine on the recently-painted steps of the Turchin Center. 

Hagan performed a solo routine. She wrote in an email that the process to prepare for her performance was not much different this year from others. 

“I am hopeful that the dance community will be able to come together around this festival once more after COVID because that is the real value of the festival: the community it nurtures,” Hagan said.