By Emily Neely ’17, Hop intern, Outreach and Arts Education
Video by Jennie Evans ’17, Hop intern, Audience Engagement
Photos by Rob Strong ’04
What better way to start off the year than with a dance party? House Professor Craig Sutton did just that (and more) at the kickoff event for School House this Monday. On the evening of September 12, nearly 200 people, students and staff alike, turned out for dessert, a discussion and the highlight of the evening: a chance to dance with members of the performing group FLEXN.
The event began on a high note. Upbeat music played as the crowd walked through the doors of the new House Center B, a building created to provide a social space for the residents of School and Allen Houses. While they queued at the table loaded with dessert, students chatted about summer and the first day of classes. After helping themselves to generous servings of Lou’s cake (all right, maybe that was just me), those attending got comfortable on the couches to hear Theater Chair Laura Edmondson interview the creators behind FLEXN about their unique style of dance and the social movements that inspire their choreography.
Flex is a type of street dance that FLEXN co-director Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray described as having a basic form characterized by constant improvisation. Another factor important to flex is emotion, he added, which makes it a perfect medium to physically convey the complex feelings surrounding the social issues that inspire their art. Subjects particularly important to the group include racism, solitary confinement and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
After hearing from both the dancers and the directors of FLEXN, the lights went down and the fun continued as the music returned. Admittedly, the crowd was a little hesitant at first—before the interview, we had seen a short clip of FLEXN in action, and to say the least, they were good. Very good. However, soon students and group members were dancing alongside each other, laughing and admiring particularly innovative moves. The night ended with smiles and attendees eager to see more from FLEXN.
Luckily for us, we have that chance. FLEXN will be performing at the Hopkins Center Wednesday and Thursday, September 14 & 15. They’ll share the technique behind their moves in a Dance Master Class Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 5 pm, open to students and the public.