The Little Hawk

Youth Rising Takes the Stage for Gun Control

"We are a strong, committed, pissed youth."

Lindy Rublaitus, Reporter

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Dancers, poets, and activists have been working since July on a dance and spoken-word performance based on political problems around gun control called Youth Rising. 5th-12th-graders from around the Iowa City Community School District took over Opstad Auditorium during the first three periods on April 23rd to empower new voters with local artists and producers Leslie Nolte and Akwi Nji.

The group formed through the Nolte Dance Academy when the last presidential election had students forming opinions and talking about politics. They were eventually told to write down everything they were thinking without any context. With these writings, dancers created verbal choreography using gestures and moves to express what they had written on the page.

“You know what makes me mad? A lack of understanding,” Andy Stewart ‘18 said. “We get so excited about what we think is right and what we think is just but we forget that other people believe that they are right and just too.”

This performance focused on school shootings and gun control. The dancers used stools to represent desks that students hid under in the Parkland school shooting, shaking their hands to show the intense arguments in politics, taking off shoes to tell a story about having an identity attached to a hijab and dealing with airport security.

“I was blissfully running through a field of roses until I hit a wall with a door in the middle. Painted in big bold letters: Life,” Zoe Nolte ’22 said, “I have to decide something, do I walk through to a new life or stay blissfully unaware of the world on the other side?”

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Youth Rising Takes the Stage for Gun Control