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Spotlight on Kinsley Squicciarini’s interpretative ‘Anne Frank’ opening dance number


On stage through August 28 at Fort Myers Theatre is The Diary of Anne Frank. The show opens with an evocative contemporary dance that sets the tone for Anne Frank’s sequester in the cramped Amsterdam annex that was to be her home, and that of seven others, for the next two years.

Choreographed by Amy Valerius, the competitive dance routine is beautifully performed by ten-year-old Kinsley Grace Squicciarini. The interpretive piece begins with a series of steps and moves that signify Anne Frank’s confused and fearful reaction to Hitler’s invasion of Holland, the restriction placed on the Jews following the Nazi occupation and her family’s escape to the annex. All the while, she clutches her red, leather-bound diary close to her chest.

As the dance progress, Kinsley’s powerful yet fluid movement gives voice to the passage of time, the family’s dread and growing isolation and Anne’s conflicted feelings about a “world coming to doubt truth, justice and God” contrasted against her unflagging belief that “in spite of everything, people are good at heart.” All the while, the diary serves as Anne’s only anchor to the aspirations and dreams that well up from the indomitable spirit that dwells within her. And so, appropriately, the dance ends with Kinsley/Anne entrusting the diary to the audience, poignantly signifying the need to pass the story on, to learn from the mistakes of the past, to vow both individually and collectively to never, ever allow another Holocaust to occur.

One of the challenges that Kinsley had to overcome in order to translate Anne Frank’s story into the contemporary dance number that opens the play was the necessity of compressing the piece into the confines of the Fort Myers Theatre set. But then again, that’s only fitting. Anne Frank had to confine her boundless energy and enthusiasm for life into the cramped quarters that she shared with her mother, father, sister, the Van Danns and Dr. Dussel for a little more than two years.

“Kinsley wanted to dance the piece to bring awareness to Anne and her story,” Kinsley’s mom, Kimberly Squicciarini shares. “She has hope that we all learn to be kinder people, even in times of crisis.”

Coincidentally, Kimberly Squicciarini also notes, Kinsley toured the Holocaust Museum in Washington a few summers ago “and was stunned by the way people can treat others, and hopes her dance shows others the humanity, the suffering and the hope of Anne’s story.” She used that experience to infuse the dance piece with empathy, compassion and a maturity that’s really quite remarkable at any age.

Kinsley is a competitive dancer at Robin Dawn Academy, where she studies ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap and aerial arts. A professional model, Kinsley also does shoots for department store ads and designer catalogs, and has appeared in national commercials. In addition to Diary, she was a member of the Lullaby League in The Wizard of Oz, Tiki in Pirates Past Noon, and Elsa’s Magic in Frozen. Kinsley appeared in her first movie this summer, the film Sugarhead.

The Diary of Anne Frank runs through August 28 at Fort Myers Theatre. Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.

August 18, 2021.


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