Tec Voc students show their strength through danceMarch 29, 2021
Tec Voc students came together to tell a story about being apart.
Technical Vocational High School's elite dance team, DTC 16, recently released a video titled Building Resiliency Together. The story – told through dance – concerns the COVID-19 restrictions students are facing and the struggle to stay focused and connected during a pandemic.
The story follows four featured students, who represent loneliness, powerlessness, self-pity and lost opportunity, respectively.
However, as the story progresses, those same students decide to make the best of their circumstances, adapting to instead represent belonging, independence, generosity and mastery.
"The feelings that we expressed during the dance correlated to how we felt while we weren't in school, while we were in remote learning and couldn't see each other," said Erin Halili, a Grade 11 student and DTC 16 member.
"We showed real emotion during the dance. Some people cried. It was really close to the heart and really true for a lot of us. While I was watching the video, it made me tear up, because it is a really stressful time, not only for us, but for teachers and parents too."
Building Resiliency Together was directed by WSD program lead Sofia Costantini and choreographed by Lee Banaga and Juan Salangsang.
The video ends with the following spoken word message:
"You are not alone. We will get through this, together. We are worthy. We are deserving. We are resilient. You are loved.
If you or anybody you know is struggling with isolation, worries, sadness or is thinking about suicidal thoughts please reach out to a trusted adult, a teacher, a guidance counselor, Kids Help Phone or a crisis line. You are not alone."
"Towards the end of the video you see us all come together," said Daisy-Rose Domingo, a Grade 12 student and DTC 16 member.
"We wanted to bring light and hope that we can all get through this together. Whatever you may be feeling, you're not alone, because we're all feeling that way. If you want to speak out to someone, you should, because we're all here to listen to and help one another."
Lou Ferguson, a Grade 10 student who represents powerlessness/independence in the video, said expressing those emotions through dance felt liberating.
"You can see in the video the sheer amount of frustration that I portray. It's because it's exactly how I felt," Ferguson said. "I had a lot of anger towards what happened. I felt like I was really missing out on a lot of things, just losing so many opportunities that I could have grasped if not for the state of the world."
"It was definitely cathartic to portray those emotions and be able to explain them. Growing up, I wasn't really great at expressing my emotions. Sometimes, I even use dance to explain emotions to myself. Dance is my outlet. It's the way I portray and explain emotions, even to my own brain."
Costantini said DTC 16 started working on the dance choreography in October, before filming and editing the video in November and December with Tec Voc's Broadcasting Media Arts students.
She said practising the choreography was challenging, due to physical distancing rules and DTC 16 students belonging to two separate cohorts.
"What I was most fascinated by with my team was their ability to express themselves with masks on, and for their emotions to still come through in the video," Costantini said.
"It's really easy to feel that in-person in a performance onstage, but I really feel like they went above and beyond to capture their emotions and expressions with their masks on."
"The energy was really strong. Even through a camera, you can really tell what the energy was like in the room," Halili added.