On Saturday, Jan. 20, the Redfern Arts Center rented out its main theater to MoCo Arts’ annual repertory showcase, titled “Time to Dance,” featuring MoCo’s advanced dancers.
According to the program, MoCo is a “nonprofit, family-centered arts and education organization” dedicated to providing “multi-arts instruction to kids from all over the Monadnock region and beyond.”
Executive Director and Artistic Director of the dance program for MoCo Arts Reagan Messer said, “It’s a whole team that puts this together. We have in this show, counting myself, five choreographers… and we have almost ninety kids in this performance and all of these rehearsals starting in September,” he said.
“So they’re putting in, you know, hours a week for months. And then we also have all of our costumers… we have our volunteer coordinators… Then we have obviously our production staff, we have our marketing staff. So there’s a lot of people and it’s a lot of work.” Messer himself choreographed three of the thirteen pieces in the show.
High school senior and MoCo student for sixteen years, Maggie Cahoon, performed in six of the thirteen dances.
“For regular classes I have about twenty-one hours [of rehearsal] a week every week leading up, and then Thursday we had a seven-hour rehearsal and last night was only about four” she said.
“We run [the dances] so many times — that really picks up the endurance. The teachers make sure that we’re staying healthy, and that we just keep going and keep pushing through it,” Cahoon said.
“You can’t act tired on stage for other people so you just gotta keep that smile on your face and go… we make sure we clarify everything — we have a ton of time to practice”
After all the work that goes into these performances, access to the Redfern’s Main Theater provides the kids with a chance to experience the feeling of performing professionally, Messer said.
“For our big productions we come here to the Redfern because it’s a full size stage, full size audience,” he said.
“Here, they have the space. Also, they have a bigger audience, and they deserve the chance to have a professional performance experience which is what we can provide them here… they love it, because they get to really expand. They can explore things. They’re not limited by the size of the space,” Messer said.
Cahoon said, “There’s so much more space. It gives us a lot of movement and freedom with the stage, as well as backstage we get those nice dressing rooms with the big lights, and it gives us a lot more opportunity.”
Audience member Jeanne Kenison said she has come to MoCo’s shows upwards of 10 times to see her granddaughter perform. “I thought this show was amazing, the selection of music and the costumes and the lighting was so vibrant, it was just pulsing. It was an awesome show,” she said.
Having access to the college venue only highlighted the quality of the show, Kenison said, “I traveled three hours to get down here, so I mean it’s got to be a good program.”
Emma Mehegan can be contacted at email@example.com