Reflections on Dance

Melina Kyriakopoulos ’27 in Arts | May 26, 2024

          With sweat beads clinging to my smile-plastered face, I looked around in awe. I was not the only one at a loss for words: on either side of me, the other adrenaline-filled members of LKR3W were silently embracing and taking in our shared success on stage at the April Dance Series. My giddiness stayed with me until the end of the production, throughout the rest of the evening, and still returns whenever I listen to a Beyoncé song. After all, it still feels unreal that my lackluster dancing was transformed into a three-minute dance that not only highlighted LKE3W’s best dancing abilities, but was also student-choreographed and incredibly fun. 

          LKR3W is the School’s Hip-Hop En Corps group, run by Harini Venkatesh ’25 and Dorothy Lee ’26, that focuses on a variety of popular music; this term, we danced to three Beyoncé songs, which could not be more up my alley. Both dance captains choreograph and teach the LKR3W members our dances, which we perfect for the dance series each term. I was enticed to join LKR3W after seeing their jaw-dropping performances at the Fall and Winter Dance Series, and I reached out to the captains. Joining was simple; all I had to do was send a quick email—indicative of how welcoming dance at Lawrenceville is. Even as a new dancer this term, I never felt alone and was quickly folded into the mix. I was less experienced compared to the majority of the members, yet they never excluded me due to my lack of skill. Instead, we spent countless weekends in the studio, learning the dance while laughing our heads off.

          The choreography we performed was beautiful. It was boisterous and cool at certain points, and elegant and feminine at others, but it was also hard. To stay in sync with the rest of the group, we all needed to be on time, in the right space, and pull out our props at exactly the same moment—not to mention the intense choreography and commendable stage presence the dancers at the center had to master. And with our luck, over the weeks leading up to the performance, LKR3W was at the center of scheduling issues as other arts activities left dancers with split commitments and a sense of anxiety. Cliché as it sounds, I wondered if I would be able to pull through for my fellow members. Nevertheless, I spent the days leading up to the concert in baggy dance clothes to hide my atrociously stiff limbs, practiced the moves whenever I could, and listened to Beyoncé exclusively. In my own delusional and tired words from a video I recorded of myself five days before the Dance Series, “maybe if I feel Beyoncé, I [will] become Beyoncé, and I’ll be really good at everything,” which I believed would extend to dancing. 
          I cannot say I am at any caliber of Beyoncé’s greatness, but dancing to “Crazy in Love” and “Say My Name” onstage during the first School Meeting performance blasted the fear in my body away and gave me a boost of confidence to get through the first show. Looking back, conquering School Meeting was most likely what kept me sane for the rest of the week. The tech week was easily the busiest week for En Corps and the most anxiety-inducing. Every group ran through their dances, with the stakes of the shows slowly going up: from dress rehearsals and photos day to faculty and open invitation. However, our nerves were arguably what made tech week such a thrilling experience. Everyone cheered on every dance with a hoot, holler, and chorus of claps, and there was a shared sense of understanding in the crowded practice rooms. Most notably, every group progressed exponentially over the course of the week, and watching everyone improve warmed my heart. Not everything was perfect, but to say the least, the passion embedded within every performance was empowering. And then we would go on stage, and every time, the pure adrenaline forced my body to behave.

          To solely highlight our final Saturday performance would do a disservice to my LKR3W experience so far. Not because we did poorly—Saturday’s performance was the best we’ve had that spring—but because our final product was nothing compared to the experience I had had leading up to the show. I felt respected and understood and was also pushed to be my best. At the beginning of the term, I figured I would quit if I could not keep up with the team, and at the end of the term, I would never dream of such a thing. I met the best people, had a lot of fun, and can now say that I performed a dance for a group of people outside of my immediate friend group for the first time since I was three. I am definitely not the best dancer, and it feels slightly cringe rewatching my mistakes, but what overshadows those imperfections is the amount of fun I have had on stage. If you want to join the Dance Series but worry about your skills, I encourage you to reach out anyways. I am looking forward to seeing some new dancers next year on the big, bright Kirby Arts Center stage.