Performance set for Governor’s school

Published 1:22 am Saturday, March 27, 2010

Language barriers won’t stop three Suffolk students from putting on a show this weekend.

The Governor’s School for the Arts’ Voices of Virginia will perform Spring Rhapsody at the Roper Theatre on Granby Street with Tokyo’s Nittai Dai Dance Group.

“I’m incredibly excited,” said Brian Lego, a Governor’s School student from Suffolk. “I think it’s going to be an amazing show. It’s really a great way to bring out cultures together.”

Spring Rhapsody is a “high-energy song and dance revue of ‘60s rock and Motown classics featuring songs made famous by The Beatles, ABBA, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Elvis and many more,” according to a Suffolk Public Schools press release.

Students with the Governor’s School performed Spring Rhapsody in Japan earlier this year.

“We performed at an international show of popular hit songs, which they could relate to,” Lego said. The songs are still popular in Japan, and it was a great way to bring our cultures together.”

Nittai Dai is “one of Japan’s most recognized and revered collegiate Japanese traditional and modern dance groups,” according to the release.” Having recently performed in Canada, Australia and Germany, this show marks the group’s fifth time performing in the states.

“Performing with the team brings open culture to our two worlds,” said Levon Linton, a student from Suffolk. “There’s more than American culture and different ways to express yourself.”

Working with the Japanese dancers also has taught the students how to transcend language barriers.

“There’s definitely a language barrier there,” Linton said. “But there is also community that happens through dance and music. Our languages may be different but in the arts, when you perform, you understand the basis of what they’re doing, and you find a connection there.”

“It really gives you a sense of how alike things are,” Lego said. “You try to talk, but you can’t and realize you can still communicate with what you’re doing. It’s cool to see how dance and music translate into the same language.”

Working with the group and overcoming cultural barriers will also help the students “by giving them firsthand experience that opens their minds to other cultures and places,” said Jeff Warner, choreographer of the group. “When you take that fear away, it expands their minds.”