Senior Spotlight: Dancers Hayley Fish and Isabel Wise
by Kat Feary on Friday, June 7th, 2013
During their time here at Milton, Hayley Fish (I) and Isabel Wise (I) have become integral members of the Performing Arts department and its strong dance program. They have spent an enormous amount of time in the dance studio, working on countless numbers for many different productions. Both consider their four Winter Dance concerts to be highlights of their time here. Although Isabel does concede that the work and long days can be difficult, “the reward of a cheering, hollering, and applauding audience at the end makes all the hard work and long days worth it.”
Not only do these girls dance in a variety of productions, but they also choreographed many of their own dances in their junior and senior years, a challenge that added a whole new element to the experience for the girls. At Milton, the Performing Arts department grants room for creativity to all of its students, affording them the opportunity to take an idea and turn it into a reality. Haley enjoyed the flexibility Milton gave her, saying she was “able to do anything I imagined. I chose who I wanted to be in my dance, how they danced, what they wore, what lighting was used.”
Hayley and Isabel were also captains of the dance team at Milton. They perform twice a year, once at the pep rally in the fall, and once at the Nobles day basketball game. Isabel describes these dance team performances as perhaps the hardest production she has done. “The gym floors we dance on and the lack of rehearsal time we have before the performances, especially the basketball game performance, pose a great challenge.” The Nobles Day basketball game takes place right during the height of Dance Concert rehearsals, making balancing their time and learning a new dance extremely hard. However, these girls take every opportunity to choreograph and perform their own dances.
Throughout their Milton careers, as the girls have grown from freshmen to seniors, the Performing Arts department has changed and challenged them. Their roles have shifted from participating as two of the few freshman involved in Dance Concert to heavily influencing and leading the production. “From freshman year to now my senior year, I have become a better dancer and now a choreographer, something that has been incredibly rewarding,” says Hayley. The Performing Arts department, especially Kelli Edwards, has pushed the girls to step outside of their comfort zones, working and performing in dances of styles they aren’t quite as familiar with. Isabel says that “Kelli has questioned and pushed me as a choreographer, encouraging me to think about how my choreography looks on other dancers, how my movement portrays my story, and how my music relates to my story.” The Performing Arts department and many of its members have been key figures in the girls’ lives on campus. “The Performing Arts Department values each student as an individual artist and tries to make every student’s vision come alive on stage,” says Hayley. Isabel adds how thankful she is to the department for allowing her to “grow as a dancer, choreographer, artist, and student, and [she] doesn’t think she could be where [she] was without the amazing experiences the department gave [her].” She continues, explaining that she has “made some of the greatest relationships with faculty and peers through dance concert.”
Both girls will be greatly missed next year, leaving large shoes for next year’s seniors to fill.
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