Art In Motion

Dance team prepares for Winter Concert tomorrow night

Art+In+Motion

Jocelyn Herring, Editor

Dance teacher Cortni Amburgy took a deep breath and set her notepad on the ground, a small, patient smile spreading across her face. 

“Remember, guys, this show is basically here,” she said, looking her students in the eyes. “We can’t afford to not know this choreography. How about we try it again from the beginning, okay?”

The dancers, sweaty and exhausted, nod in response, moving back to their beginning positions as a litany of “Yes ma’am”’s, “Okay”’s, and murmured 8-counts fill their rehearsal space. Footsteps increase, fade, and suddenly the music is playing for the nth time that day, and the dancers are moving again, this time with music accompanying them. 

Amburgy watches, with thoughts of formations, costumes, lighting, and choreography past and future running throughout her mind, trying to piece them all together into one coherent routine. Said routines will then be practiced nonstop until they are ready to perform in this year’s winter concert, “Psalms 23,” on January 31st at the Chapel Hill Auditorium at 7:00 pm.

“This show is going to be different from past ones,” said Amburgy, “because this time, I actually had a theme that I was going off of rather than just putting together dances to perform.”

The theme of this show comes from a very deep place in Amburgy’s heart.

“There is one dance about my grandma,” Amburgy began, “who was a very important role model in my life, and her favorite part of the Bible is Psalms 23. So one day I was reading it, and it reminded me of how I was feeling about my future: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me […] surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.””

Putting together a show this meaningful has not been an easy task, but Amburgy has accomplished it, learning important lessons while she did.

“Preparing for this show required a lot of focus and a lot of patience,” said Amburgy. “My biggest thing is keeping an open mind, knowing that things will change and form themselves, but having to roll with it and be open to growing throughout the process.”

All of this hard work, however, did not come from Amburgy alone. It also came from her students, whom she is extremely proud of.

“My expectations for everyone were super high,” said Amburgy. “And because this show means a lot to me, I was pretty stern on ‘This is what I want and what I need everyone to deliver,’ and they did exactly what I wanted and more.”

Doing so was no easy undertaking, but Amburgy’s students accomplished it, turning her idea into a beautiful production ready to be brought to the stage.

“This show is very dear to my heart,” said Amburgy, “as I decided on it when I found out I would no longer be teaching at Cumberland next year. After thinking about what God had planned for me next in life and everything I have already accomplished in my career, I wanted to do something that reflected all of that. All of the memories of my past; the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the moments of struggle and moments of success. I wanted to share my story.”