Though numerous allowances have had to be made for the Creative Arts Guild's dance studio to hold its annual recital and concert, the dancers, teachers and choreographers are committed to producing a show of the same caliber that viewers have come to expect from this performance.
"As artists, we are adaptable, and that has really come into play this year," said Jessie Fincher, the Guild's dance director. "Safety is our number one priority — we don't want anyone to get sick — and we're making really great things happen within those confines."
Dance "helps build strong, flexible, coordinated bodies and minds," said Monica Ellison, another of the Guild's dance instructors and choreographers. "We were ready to adapt, and adapt we did."
Friday's performance will be at 5:30 p.m., while the Saturday shows are slated for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The concert will also be live-streamed via the Guild's social media feeds. More information, including regarding ticket availability, can be found on the Guild's website, creativeartsguild.org.
While many of the Guild's dancers will perform in only one of the weekend's shows, some, like members of Ballet Dalton's senior company, will be part of all three.
Emma Hackney, a member of the senior company, is most looking forward to a piece choreographed by students with a focus on mental health, she said. "We had to completely revamp it" for social distancing, but "I'm really excited to see how it goes on stage."
As a senior, this concert and recital is the final one for 18-year-old Holly Potts, and she has a solo, for which she selected "The Immortals," by Kings of Leon, as her music.
"It's upbeat, and it's about leaving, but remembering everything," said Potts, who has been dancing with the Guild for 15 years. "I'm really looking forward to it."
Another song that makes her emotional is for the dance "A Life Well Written," choreographed by Fincher, she said. "It's really pretty, and it gives me hope."
Hackney, who has been dancing with the Guild for more than a decade, also fancies that number.
"It's glorious," she said. "We're going to dance our hearts out."
Because of the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, "the whole show is different, but also the same" in many ways, Potts said. "We're trying to keep it normal, and it's been pretty good."
Potts, who will attend the University of Georgia this fall, realized very early on the dance studio could be her refuge.
"Whenever I was stressed out about (anything), I was really happy here," she said. All of her life's aggravations melt away when she steps into the studio, and "I feel free."
Hackney, 16, migrated to dance from gymnastics as a youth, because she "fell in love with it," she said. "Even at a young age, I knew this was a great way to express myself, and it's a really good outlet for me."
Senior company member Julia Tucker responds to the physicality and athleticism of dance, she said. "It's so hard that you have to be at your peak performance."
Grace England, 15, a member of the company for a decade, values dance as a form of "expression through movement," she said. "I don't have a lot of other ways to get my emotions out, so when I'm angry" or otherwise flustered, "I can get it out through movements."
For Adia Rann, her fellow terpsichoreans are "my family," said the 14-year-old. "I've gotten so much closer to them through dance, and I love my family here."