Absegami High School sophomore Ashley Fox, one of the lead performers in the upcoming Absegami Dance Program showcase Flowmotion, has mixed feelings about the responsibility that comes with her prominent role.
Ashley will dance the part of the White Swan in an excerpt from "Swan Lake" alongside guest performer Ionut "Johnny" Zaharia of the Atlantic City Ballet.
The performance includes lifts, which, while exhilarating, Fox has never before performed. Still, she says, her anticipation for the show is building.
"I'm really nervous, because I know the lifts are kind of scary," Ashley said. "I'm also really excited, because it's a lot of fun."
Flowmotion is an annual student-performed showcase of works choreographed by seniors, school staff and community dance groups in many styles, from jazz and contemporary to hip-hop and ballet. This year's show, the 11th, will take place at the Absegami Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. May 10 and 11.
The show was started by Absegami dance teacher Lisa Zeuner, who also runs the Galloway Township-based troupe Kinetic Poetic, when she joined the high school for the 2002-03 school year. It is one of two major performances by the Absegami Dance Program each year; the other is the winter showcase Choreoproject.
The main set piece of the show will be "Dance of the Swans," an abbreviated version of "Swan Lake," of which Ashley and Zaharia's performance is one part of a multi-act ensemble. Caitlyn Kraemer, also a sophomore, will perform as Ashley's foil, the Black Swan.
Using a ballet as the focal point of this year's show was a bit of a gamble, Zeuner said, because her students tend to be more comfortable with the other styles than they are in ballet. The style is complicated by the need to wear pointe shoes - slight slippers with hard fronts that allow dancers to balance on the tips of their toes - but the girls are performing adequately.
"They moaned and groaned becasue it's a lot more tedious of a discipline, and a lot more work with the pointe shoes," Zeuner said. "In the end, I think they're happy they're able to showcase their talent."
Not only does Flowmotion showcase what the school's dance students can do as a whole, but it also gives seniors a chance to display the fruits of what is, for many, 10 years or more of dance training through personally choreographed pieces.
Senior Alexis Clavell, who choreographed a dance with a theme of realizing something when it's too late set to the song "Explosions" by Ellie Goulding, said she enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to convey a complicated feeling through dance.
"I like it," Alexis said. "Usually, you do the style of your teacher - she gives us the dances. But for this, we get to choose to do whatever style we want, whatever message we want it to show."
The Absegami Dance Program is now into its second decade, and usually draws a decent crowd for its performances, although Zeuner said she often feels it is overshadowed by other school activities like sports and, to a lesser extent, the theatre.
Having seen all the hard work the students have been putting into the performance over the last few months, Zeuner said she's hopeful this year's show will have a big turnout.
"The students work so hard, perfecting their technical skills, their creative skills," Zeuner said. "There's a lot of teamwork that goes into building a show like this, and I think that it would be a wonderful experience for families, all ages, to come out and see."
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If you go
Absegami High School Dance Program's 11th annual Flowmotion Dance Concert
7 p.m. May 10-11
Absegami Performing Arts Center, Galloway Township
$10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors