Every year, Bishop’s dance teacher Donna Cory invites a Performing Dance Group (PDG) alum to choreograph a dance for the spring show. This year, Jesse Dancy ‘05 returned to the dance studio to lend his talents in step dance.
“This dance was sparked though an invitation by Ms. Cory with the intention of sharing a different style of dance with PDG,” says Jesse. “I have developed small pieces of choreography and held workshops for PDG before, but this was my first chance to work with the group in the creation of an entire piece.”
With the spring PDG show planned for just days after Bishop’s began distance learning, the show’s loss felt especially painful. “So much performance work was ready when we left campus,” Donna says. “I was simply trying to find ways for some of that creativity to find an audience. The students and I brainstormed ideas as to which piece would be best suited for a Zoom undertaking. Jesse’s piece, ‘…to the beat…,’ was chosen. It has a great message, an alumni guest choreographer, unusual choreography, no music to worry about, we had a video of the full dance made as a template and, most importantly, this is a piece the students were very excited about.”
The experience was one that Jesse, Donna and the current crop of PDG dancers will never forget. “To be able to work with such a talented group is an honor,” Jesse says. “I have always been an admirer of PDG’s pieces and how they evoke so many emotions. To be a part of that process is nothing short of amazing.”
While not a PDG alumnus, Jesse notes that while a student, he took every dance class that could fit in his schedule. He still acknowledges Donna as a mentor in both dance and life.
The involvement of alumni is an integral part of the PDG experience. “Short answer, it means everything,” says Donna. “The ‘intergenerational connections’ within the PDG experience are the foundation of the curriculum’s lifelong learning experience. There are several projects within PDG that are devised with alumni in mind. The annual spring concert is simply one of them.
“These dancers know, from early on, they are part of something bigger than themselves. They’re part of a vast-reaching artistic web, a legacy, a family. Performing Dance Group is an ever-expanding entity whose mission is to gently, bravely and beautifully shake the world.”
“Being around all of these individuals who embody astronomical levels of talent is an unbelievable experience,” says Jesse. “They were able to take the colors I gave them and create a masterpiece that left me in awe and had me welling with tears of joy. PDG, generation after generation, never fails to impress and inspire me. Being able to work so closely with them is an experience I will always cherish.
“Bishop’s has been and will always be a breeding ground of creativity and expression. I am so elated to see that over the years, with all of the expansions and new technology available, this has only grown by leaps and bounds. Being a part of this group has shown me that the arts community is still strong at Bishop’s and it breathes new life into you. Support your arts and they will support you!”
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measures or far away" - Henry David Thoreau
The Bishop’s School is an independent, coeducational college-preparatory day school for students in grades six through twelve who live throughout San Diego County. Founded in 1909, the School is affiliated with the Episcopal church.