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Dance student draws on current events for compelling choreography

One hand. Many voices.
Dance student draws on current events for compelling choreography

Can one hand say a lot? It can when the hand belongs to Dieter Lische-Parkes.

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The dance major, who is graduating from Sudbury Secondary School this week, was challenged to choreograph a routine with one hand. He drew inspiration from Black Lives Matter, Pride and lived experiences to create a moving work of art with a meaningful message.

Dieter not only choreographed, but also wrote, filmed, edited, and narrated the video from his home, making the distance learning assignment outside the dance studio that much more impressive.

“My nails are painted black to represent the wall that we as human beings put up. And when the colour comes off of them, it’s to represent the emotions and truth behind it. When my nails look battered and beaten, it’s to represent the scars society has left on the world,” he said. He ends the choreography with hope for the future.

“Dieter is a wonderfully talented student that I will be sad to see leave for post secondary, but I know he will be reaching greater goals and developing his artistry as he moves on to the next level of training, education and exposure in the arts,” says teacher Sarah Viljanmaa.

Viljanmaa says the one hand choreography was no easy task. “Students were asked to research hand composition and how performance artists and dance companies use forms and elements of the genre to create compelling stories,” she says.

She adds: “The challenge for students was to step outside of their comfort zone to convey a message without the flexibility of using their whole body. As dancers, students were unfamiliar with this style of movement and found the challenge of experimenting with an artform so unique from their own to be exciting and inspiring.”

Now that Dieter Lische-Parkes has completed his studies as a Dance/Drama/Vocal major at Sudbury Secondary School, he enters a new stage. He will continue his professional training in the performing arts at George Brown College this fall.


Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171, ext. 7217.