Wendy was staggering back towards the tip of the stage; she had no escape. Madame Hook had her sword pointed at Wendy, urging her to the edge of the ship. She looked around for any help, but none was available. This was going to be the end of Wendy.
Every year during the first semester, the SAS High School Dance Crew produces a show based off a well-known story. Past productions have included “Romeo and Juliet” and“Alice in Wonderland.” This year the story that came to life onstage was “Neverland,” a rendition of Disney’s “Peter Pan,” and was showcased for four nights at the end of November.
“Neverland” was based on the original Disney movie, “Peter Pan.” Three children – Wendy, Joanna, and Michelle – also known as the Darling children, were played by senior Ella Cheng-Bradshaw, junior Lucia Garcia Velasco, and senior Katie McAdam. They follow Peter Pan, played by senior Erika Angell, and Tinkerbell, played by senior Lauren Smith, on a exciting but also dangerous adventure to Neverland, where they meet new friends such as mermaids, island girls, and Crocodiles. However, they also bump into some trouble with dangerous foes – Captain Hook and her pirates – only to be saved by Peter Pan and Tinker Bell again.
SAS’s interpretation of “Peter Pan” this year as a dance show was cleverly done with a mix of both dance and acting. Even though it was called a dance show, where the focus was mainly on the dancers and their skills, the plot was evident so the story was very easy to follow.
Also, the acting of each dancer, with his or her varied facial expression of happiness, anger, disgust, or even confusion highlighted the plot and successfully conveyed the emotions to the audience. The skilful dancing and acting of the performers made for a very professional-looking show.
Not only were the dancers great actors, but the show was successful in sequencing the story in a way that gave the spotlight to every character. In the beginning, the story mainly focused on the Darling children and followed the original Disney movie. However, whenever a neutral character came out, such as the Tribal Girls or the “Hip Hop” Crocs, there were a couple minutes of those characters alone performing their choreography.
Some parts of the show remained faithful of the synopsis of the original movie “Peter Pan,” such as the Pirates, where their dance sequence helped with the flow of the story and showed the menacing emotions that these pirates had against Peter Pan and his friends. On the other hand, the Crocs in their dance sequence played a minor role in the plot, driving away the pirates. Their dance highlighted the fact that it was still a dance show with their eye-catching choreography.
The true icing on the cake, however, was the inclusion of the little kids in this dance show. Junior Andrew Edds agreed, saying that “it was exciting to see the little kids participate with the older kids,” and “it was a new thing that SAS doesn’t really do much so it was interesting to watch.”
Every couple years or so, the SAS High School Dance production makes a big show that includes dancers all the way from ECC to high school. These little stars displayed various levels of dance, as well as the same passion as the high school dancers. They also added fun to the show and drew the audience in. Even though it didn’t necessarily do anything to the story to move it forward, the involvement of the youngest students made the show much more lively and eye-catching, with the audience “awing” whenever these they came out to show their talents.
In this interpretation, Captain Hook was portrayed as Madame Hook, played by junior Moeka Minami, and Smee was portrayed as Ms. Smee by senior Jeane Khang. Also, John and Michael Darling were portrayed as girls, Joanna and Michelle. These changes did not hinder the plot or disrupt from the story, rather they gave fresh, unexpected changes to the already familiar plotline.
SAS’s Neverland production was indeed a successful show that cleverly mixed and balanced a dance production and a story. It showed the audience how any story can be interpreted into a dance that still conveys the same amount of emotion with the dramatic moves. Even with the slight changes, this show gave me a sense of nostalgia for my childhood.