Dance Iquail Presents Moving Meditation


On Friday night (Sep 16), students had the opportunity to watch Dance Iquail take on the Williston stage in a performance that told a powerful, moving story.

After a community dinner on the quad, students retreated to their dorms or the theater to watch Dance Iquail perform. The performance featured four pieces with commentary by the artistic director, Dr. Iquail Shaheed.  At the end, students had the chance to ask any questions to the company and Shaheed.

Dr. Shaheed, Director of Dance Iquail, grew up in Philadelphia where he trained with PHILADANCO.  His lengthy resume includes a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts and a Master of Fine Arts from Purchase College.

The company’s mission statement states: “Dance Iquail uses the art of dance as a conduit for combating issues of social injustices primarily experienced by the disadvantaged.” This mission came to life on stage as students were given a preview of a small part of a larger show which focuses on the topic of incarceration and wrongful convictions.  The showing featured only male dancers; Dr. Shaheed hires a new cast of dancers for each show, which makes each show unique.

Senior Dyson Haaland, who watched the show with his dorm, appreciated the dancers’ attention to detail.

“I felt the emotion of the dancers and the thought and precision they had as well,” he said.

Friday before the performance, Dr. Shaheed taught a master class to the Williston Dance Ensemble.

Sadie Dripps, a first year student in dance, really enjoyed the techniques taught in the masterclass.

“The comments and the attention to detail that he talks about in class created a new mindset for me,” she said.  “I loved how he built on each movement to create beautiful images.”

Arts Department Head, Natania Hume, played a big role in bringing Dr. Shaheed to Williston as part of the Grum project artists series.

“The choreography was very striking and visually successful,” she said. “The impact that Dance Iquail strives to achieve is relevant to an audience made up of people with and without knowledge of, or background in, dance.”

Beginning in 2016, Williston’s Grum Project brings many talented artists, not only dancers but musicians, actors, sculptors, painters, and those working in other mediums, to the Williston Community to share their talents thanks to a generous alumna donor.

“We are excited about how positively his performance was received here and this shows that Dance Iquail was indeed a very good fit for Williston,” Hume said.

Friday night’s performance encouraged students to be present and mindful, while grappling with difficult subject matter in a form that was uncommon to most.

“Their dance was in an effort to reach others and it reached me,” Dyson said.