Groton School Dance Series


Courtesy of Jamal Jackson

This fall, Groton’s dance program returned more robust than ever, energized by the new leadership of Math Fellow Mx. Zara Williams-Nicholas. While at Swarthmore College, Mx. Williams earned a double major in both mathematics and dance. Now, they are sharing their passion for dance with students at Groton. In past years, the dance program has survived through just one or two students’ impressive efforts. This year, however, the program has increased dramatically to form a troupe of ten students. Mx. Williams shared that while 15 or 16 students were interested, the Covid cap limited the group to just ten students.


Although the dance afternoon activity has reached its cap, the recent “Dance Series” is open to the greater Groton community. Mx. Williams leveraged their connections, along with the help of Dance Prefects Alex Karr ‘21 and Angelica Parra ‘21, to coordinate this mix of free virtual performances and Zoom discussions with acclaimed dancers.


The series kicked off with a stunning performance by the dance company Step Afrika commemorating the Stono Rebellion’s 281st anniversary, followed by a post-show Zoom debrief. Since then, Mx. Williams has coordinated five more installments of the Dance Series, primarily highlighting BIPOC artists. Mx. Williams has also collaborated with other groups on campus, including D&I, Spiritual Life, and Groton Theater to feature artists with a myriad of experiences in order to tap into other aspects of student life. So far, these dancers have been Nicole Harris (Groton Theater), Saleana Pettaway, Pallabi Chakravorty, Jamal Jackson and Chandra Moss-Thorne. 


Mx. Williams remarked about how interesting it was to see the variety of reasons motivating students to attend a particular performance or discussion. Predictably, some students have logged on to learn more about dance: “It was very inspiring as a young dancer to hear from different artists,” said Angelica Parra ’21. For some community members, however, other aspects of the dancers’ lives were more intriguing. Mx. Williams recalled that Ms. Lamont was motivated by her interest in Indian history to attend the conversation with artist Pallabi Chakravorty, while a student simply wanted to learn more about a dancer’s alma mater.


Fortunately for Groton, Mx. Williams plans to extend the Dance Series into the second half of the fall term, even though the originally planned installments in the Dance Series have just wrapped up. They hope to invite past dancers to continue their conversations at Groton, as well as find new artists to spotlight for the series. In fact, Mx. Williams invites suggestions from the Groton community for the Dance Series’s next artists. 


Without a doubt, the reinvigoration of the dance program is a valuable addition to campus life, with the new Dance Series continuing to offer exciting learning opportunities for Grotonians.