Spoken word and dance performance completes second year with Keno Evol
December 18, 2017
On Thursday, December 14th, the second annual spoken word/dance show graced the stage of South High. The spoken word portion was full of surprises, jumping from poetry to improv covering everything from gun control to the rise of greenhouse gases.
The dance portion of the performance featured two all-dancer parts, along with smaller groups and individual dancers between the two bigger sets.
Keno Evol, who directed the spoken word part this year and last, explained how he got involved: “I got called to be a director through Ellen Fenster, and she invited me last year to do a social justice theater play here and I liked the idea,” he explained. “I’ve been a teacher/artist for six or seven years now and any time I can work with young folks to think critically, write critically to produce art in an ensemble, I mean why not.”
Elise Cuff is a junior who performed in the dance portion this year, as well as the spoken word performance last year. “It’s student led [and] student organized,” she said. “It’s us putting our hearts on the floor, putting our souls on the floor even if our piece isn’t emotional we still put a lot of blood sweat and tears into it and showcasing our work and ourselves.”
Students used the show as an outlet to express themselves. Cuff, by example, decided to pick an issue that she feels needs to be discussed more. “My dance piece [was] about eating disorders and how they affect different people, and how you wouldn’t expect this person to have an eating disorder and how it affects your life,” Cuff said.
Cuff explained why she chose to only be in the dance portion this year. “I can express myself through acting, but I love expressing myself through dance because it gives me a chance to reveal my emotions without talking.”
Evol described why the play was important to him: “If we’re concerned about changing the world, language is definitely a powerful vehicle to think about,” Evol said. “Language is a welcome mat for thinking critically and organizing, and it’s fun and it connects you with community so this is a practice in connection and it’s a practice in thinking critically, it’s a practice in confidence.”
“The workshop was presented to me as an opportunity to turn my creative energy into something that can be liberatory for other people,” said junior Ben Phi, who performed in the spoken word part of the play. “In that sense I joined it because I thought that the words that I write and the plays that I start in can make an impact on other students at South High.”
Evol had some ideas for how the show could be improved in the future: “What we’ve learned this year is that young people wanna be involved in it ,and for example during the previews somebody was like ‘Is this something we can sign up for?’ and I think just simple stuff like marketing and branding beforehand [could help].”
Charlie Thompson is a senior and stage manager for the spoken word portion. He shared similar ideas on how to improve the show: “The more people that are in it and the more organized it is, the better it will actually be whereas now it’s just not organized and it’s just kinda there.”