The Pacific Index

Gunn looks to portray themes of oppression and racism in dance

Holly Bartholomew

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Dancers, clad in either white or black, glide gracefully across the stage. There is something more than beauty behind their movements; there is a message.

The dance, choreographed by senior Jassa Gunn, is about racism. Gunn explained that she wanted this project to raise awareness about the subtle forms of racism that persist in our society.

To convey her message, Gunn choreographed the dancers “movements to exemplify ways that people inflict racism upon each other.”

One of the ways she did this was by having dancers dressed in one color pushing the others to the floor, symbolizing the way groups are pushed around and oppressed.

The dance, titled “What Was, What Should be, What Still Is,” was meant to reflect the past, what society ought to be like, and what society is like right now.

It emphasizes how the three differ from one another, how far society has come and how far it still has to go. She wanted to stress “the way  society is still not moving towards equality,”

Gunn explained that one of the biggest challenges she faced in putting this dance together was “getting the dancers to feel my emotion.” Finally, when everything clicked, it was better than she had imagined.

On the last night of the show, the dancers were technically and emotionally flawless. Gunn knew that her work had emotionaly moved the audience, because people came up to her after the show to say how deeply it touched them and how much it meant to them.

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Gunn looks to portray themes of oppression and racism in dance