Winter Dance Show brings a cool end to the semester

Helen Kang and Riya Mehta

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On Nov. 20-21, Dougherty Valley’s dance program hosted its Winter Dance Show in the Performing Arts Center, displaying the hard work they’ve put in throughout the semester.

Dance 2, 3 and 4 led by Ms. Ramona Altman spent months choreographing all 32 pieces for the show. Although the show was rewarding for both the dancers and the audience, the process of putting together the show was stressful.

 

Each dancer from every class is expected to choreograph one piece, along with their required piece with the whole class. Based on the genre of their choosing, the dancer decides who they want to be in their dance. After weeks of practicing, the dancers audition for Altman. She then selects which dances she believes the audience would enjoy the most, and those are the ones that the audience ultimately sees,

 

“[We] have more freedom to make [our] own dances, and we choose our costumes, [and] our dancers, which gives us more freedom than studio dancing, where everything is set for you,” Dance 3 senior Karen Kim said. 

 

While it may seem like a generally simple process, the dancers have to balance schoolwork and other extracurriculars all at once. 

 

“It’s difficult sometimes to balance school and dance because a lot of the time we have to use our Access periods and after school to practice and it takes away time from our learning,” Dance 4 junior Giselle Mauricio said. 

 

In addition to the choreographies that the dancers needed to learn in a limited time, they also needed to find the best costumes to give them full mobility on stage, and allow them to express the emotion they want to portray. Because costumes are vital to a performance, dancers who are part of multiple dances may end up spending over $200 on these alone. 

But, that’s not to say that the dancers don’t love and enjoy the hard work put into the show. Many value the stress-free atmosphere with their peers in comparison to the rigorous dance competitions they’ve competed in outside of school. 

 

“All through elementary school, middle school, and my freshman year of high school, I did competition dance and that to me is really different from high school dance because at school, I can dance just out of my love for it and my love for performing,” Dance 1 senior Isabella Weiss said.

Not only do they enjoy the shows themselves, but the dancers have created a family outside of school that they value greatly. 

 

“I really like the family in dance that I’ve been welcomed into. Everyone is just really supportive and I can always lean back on them if I need to. This is the first time I’ve actually danced and performed at shows too,” Dance 2 senior Alexa Owen said.

 

The bonds that they have created are seen through the dancers’ synchronization. This is especially clear in the dance “Cell Block Tango” from the “CHICAGO” soundtrack, choreographed by Dance 4 seniors Gracie Grove and Emily Roychoudhury. The dancers presented a skit-like performance with salsa style movement. They were very coordinated with their movements and their facial expressions conveyed the rebellious energy they were going for. What stood out in this dance was their use of props, including red gloves that the dancers threw toward the audience and a fake jail cell that started and ended the dance. 

 

While the dancers were able to express dances with lots of energy and sass, they also presented many emotional, lyrical pieces. One such piece was “Happier,” choreographed by Dance 4 sophomore Hilary Wong and junior Alicia Young, whose delicate but powerful movements along with their pained facial expressions were tear-jerkers for the audience. 

Included in the variety of styles were more fun and lighthearted dances such as the disco themed “You Should Be Dancing” choreographed by Dance 4 dancers Anusha Entezari, Lola Estrada, Gracie Grove, Mia Juni, Chiara Luu, Giselle Mauricio, Nuri Park, Julie Takei, Alyssa Villareal and Alicia Young. Another groovy piece was “School Daze” where Dance 3 presented a boy in class, played by senior Daniel Nmezi, who falls asleep and dreams of a school full of fun and dances with a contrast between the e-girls and soft girls. He then wakes up back in the gray reality, concluding the dance. 

 

Another dance to which dancers especially looked forward to was the senior dance “The 2020’s” choreographed by Grove and Roychoudhury. Dance 4 seniors paired up with a male partner to contrast the elegance of the dancers with the comedic aspect that the boys brought. Overall, it was a fun dance for both the dancers and the audience to watch. 

 

“The senior dance is super cute and it’s really funny to see boys who’ve never danced before, dance. It’s entertaining and different because it’s not always the same people,” Owens added. 

 

Ultimately, the dancers were proud of their accomplishments and embraced all applause they received from the audience. It motivates them to continue to work hard and strive to be the best dancers they can be. 

 

“I love that people are coming to watch us perform. That’s such an amazing feeling. It makes you feel like all the hard work you put in [was worth it], and people actually care to watch it,” Entezari said.