Whaingaroa Youth Movement explores concepts of social media in end of year production

Whaingaroa Youth Movement (WYM) has once again grasped the hearts and emotions of our Raglan community, with a very poignant piece, LOOK.

This creative group of 65 students took us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions.  Cleverly they explored the vast spectrum of experiences offered via social media, a spectrum with no limits. Each group accurately performed the gamut of realities we involve ourselves in daily: Facebook, Netflix, emoji, angry birds and hackers, among others. We laughed with warm fuzzies and we bowed our heads and cringed. We all saw some aspect of ourselves, big or small.

With rock-steady support, vision and devotion to her students, director, producer and dance teacher Patti Mitchley – with the help from choreographer Indya Gibbs, a WYM graduate and now a professional dancer – worked with this outstanding group, aged between 6-18 years, to showcase this intangible world.

The fast pace and rapid growth of social media and gaming in our daily lives, and the effects of how we relate to one another, has provoked a conversation worldwide. This is a conversation that our Raglan youth deemed important enough to traverse and investigate; a conversation that they laid out with clear conviction and power; a conversation of substance and without words that they skillfully executed; a conversation that the audience took home and continued.

Gifted set designer Si Williams produced a multimedia space to explore the idea of being boxed in, narrow visioned, square-eyed, dumbed down, consumed and abbreviated. Frankie Renyolds’ film contribution was deeply moving. She spoke of freedom, play, space, connection and participation in the living world. Nine wooden boxes were dragged, stacked, climbed and moved in and out of by the troop, allowing the audience to examine and ponder all the aspects we experience in a time of rapid technological advancements: the satisfaction of instant, play, likes, ease and convenience; the fulfillment of blossoming networks, sharing, friendships and connections; the destruction of dependency, addictions, loneliness and obsession; plus the very real dangers of hidden bullies, cruelty, masked violence and deception. All these were all discussed.

The choreography was honest but left room for the imagination. The sophistication and maturity of the dances by the older students were performed with precision and clarity, and were a real treat. The younger performers were magic. The makeup, the costuming, the music and lighting was evocative and spot on, instantly understandable and recognisable without giving to much away.

It was an epic show, team. You sh

ould feel really proud of what you gave!

So, whanau, with this in the forefront of our minds and the summer break upon us, take a leaf from their book. Close your laptop, switch off your phone, LOOK up and connect face to face and hand to hand with your loved ones these holidays.

Char Pearsall

Images thanks to Molly McCabe