On February 14th, 2018, 17 people were killed in a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Among those 17 victims was 14-year-old freshman student named Jaime Guttenberg. Jaime has been described by loved ones as a smart, outgoing, and bubbly young girl who had a world of potential ahead of her before that tragic day. Aside from being a student at MSD, Jaime was also avidly involved in competitive dance at a local studio, Dance Theatre of Parkland.

The typical competitive dance season occurs in the spring of each year. In the wake of Jaime’s sudden death, her dance teammates were not only left to grieve and process the traumatic loss, but also find ways to artistically honor Jaime’s legacy through dance. However, most of the competition routines had already been choreographed and rehearsed in the fall, in preparation for the competitive dance spring season.

Specifically, three high school seniors on the competitive dance team decided to dedicate a trio to their deceased friend. The three teenagers choreographed an entire two minute and 45 second routine by themselves just a few weeks before performing it on stage. They titled the trio, “For You/Them, Love Us”. The meaning behind the name of the routine can be interpreted as “For [Jaime and the other victims], Love [everyone who is grieving the loss]”.

This dance served to help the three young women performing it to express and process the emotions that such deep trauma produces. Throughout the piece, the three dancers choreographed movements where they look off into the distance, put their arms out to hug an invisible figure, or shake their heads in disbelief: all symbolizing their individual grieving processes and missing their friend. There are also moments in the routines where the performers dance in a spastic way and almost purposely lose their trained technique. This may serve to show the waves of uncontrollable emotions and heartache that can follow the sudden loss of a loved one.

To learn more, visit Orange Ribbons for Jaime https://orangeribbonsforjaime.org/.

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Emma Webber

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