The following article was published in The Lynn Daily Item by Sam Minton June 22, 2021 read here
NAHANT — Forty Steps Dance is aiming to bring people together after such a long year apart.
The Nahant dance studio will be hosting its 28th annual concert Saturday evening. Concertgoers will be in for a treat as new choreography and some old favorites will be on display.
Just like every aspect of human existence, dance was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year the studio held its performance outside and will continue to do so on Saturday.
With Forty Steps finding success in their new, al fresco last year, coupled with relaxed guidelines from the state, Artistic Director Sallee Slagle said the best decision was to once again have the performance outdoors.
“We didn’t know, so we decided to prepare for an outdoor performance as we knew that we would probably be able to do that and were uncertain if we would be able to do any indoor variation,” said Slagle.
The choreography was also affected by the pandemic. A new work titled “Reverse Dance” utilizes and represents a medieval dance form that has dancers spread out and making limited contact.
For many, the arts can be used to bring the community together. Slagle and other dancers are very excited to be able to perform for the crowd once again.
“Just being able to present to the community and keep the arts alive — not just bring them alive but keep them alive — that’s the key, and we really feel like arts are essential especially to our spirit and all of that,” said Slagle. “I think through the isolation that we all experienced with the pandemic it’s really soul-feeding in that way and it definitely is something that we all missed during this period of time.”
Getting to perform for a crowd is not something that Slagle and her dancers take for granted, especially when they were forced to have online performances last year, she said.
“As dancers and performers, we have done some online work as well and it’s rewarding but it doesn’t have that same instant connection with your audience and you are never quite as sure whether you have connected with your audience when you are online,” said Slagle. “So, this (performance) is where we get to interact and connect and that’s really the soul of art.”
Slagle will also be performing a special solo, “Window Panes.” While it was choreographed in 2016, the piece strikingly hits home since it is focused on isolation.
“‘Window Panes’ kind of has the idea that you are always looking at other people’s lives and comparing your life to their life, and I think we’ve all had some introspective moments through this period too,” said Slagle. “Looking at our life and looking at others— trying to figure out what’s best for all of us — it has that kind of quality.
“It does show that there’s a little bit of that despair in there, but the final point … they are working together as a group as well.”
Tickets are available at fortystepsdance.org.