A dance choreographed by Orcas High School senior Sabina Smith-Moreland has been selected for performance at Seattle’s Moore Theater on July 8 and 9.
“It’s very angular and oppressive,” she says of the contemporary dance titled “Headphones,” an exploration of George Orwell’s book, “1984.”
The dancers all wear plain-colored Dickey overalls, framed by “guards” at each stage corner. “At the start we’re all on chairs, and we get caught by big brother,” she explained.
Smith-Moreland has been chosen as Seattle Theater Group’s emerging choreographer, and her work will be presented as part of the group’s DANCE This! production featuring original choreography from nationally and internationally celebrated choreographers Mark Morris, Broadway’s Joey McKneely, Daniel Cruz, Dora Oliveira, Rex Kinney, and others.
“It’s this huge performance full of all of these different dances,” said Smith-Moreland. “Tap, Tahitian, ballet, contemporary…”
Smith-Moreland spent 16 weeks last fall choreographing, teaching and dancing with 18 other young artists as part of Seattle Theater Group’s Young Choreographers’ Lab under the mentorship of Seattle-based choreographer Amy O’Neal and guest artists Patricia Lent, Kirsten Cooper, KT Niehoff, Mark Haim, and Sonia Dawkins.
“The choreography workshop is for teens interested in pursuing their artistic vision as choreographers as well as dancers,” reads the workshop description. “Participants investigate themselves as artists and learn choreography tools and concepts through short movement studies.”
“I had my dancers fool around with movements so I could get a better idea of what they would want to do too,” said Smith-Moreland. “We had circle time at the end of each rehearsal, and I would help them with their characters… I would give them a word, [like] ‘desperation,’ and each person would have a different take on it.”
The students’ ongoing work culminated in a final informal showing for family and friends at Seattle’s Velocity Dance Center on May 14.
“A bunch of friends from Orcas came to see the showing, and they held up a big sign for me said ‘We Love You Sabina’,” Smith-Moreland remembers.
She has appeared in numerous Orcas productions, including Orcas Center’s The Fantastiks!, Beauty and The Beast, Island Inspiration All Stars 2006 – 2009 Dance Productions, and more. She has attended previous dance workshops with the Seattle Theater Group. She is currently teaching a hip-hop dance class for young teens at Orcas Center on Friday afternoons.
Smith-Moreland plans to continue her dance performance and study this fall at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, working toward a bachelor’s degree in dance and a master’s degree in psychology.
“I kind of want to my earlier part of my life I want to be in a company or dance for a theater or travel somehow, and then when I’m older and I have a bunch of injuries I want to choreograph and teach,” she said.
She’s also planning on playing rubgy in college.
“I’ve only gone to two practices and I really like it because I can tackle people,” she said.
For more information on the Moore Theater show, visit stgpresents.org. To order tickets, contact Smith-Moreland at 376-4270.