By Emily Gonzalez and Grace Loudon
AHS dancers performed in the Little Theater on Dec. 8.
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Craig
As families and friends piled into the Little Theater on Dec. 8, dancers eagerly waited for the curtains to open. They had been preparing for close to three months for this night and were about to perform their winter dance concert for an over-full house.
Extensive preparation goes into putting on a show like this, dance teacher Stephanie Craig said. “One of the biggest challenges is just finding the time,” she said.
Since October, dancers have choreographed, rehearsed and perfected their own pieces. “It hasn’t been as cohesive this year as it has been the previous years; however, I think it’s going to be a really great show,” Craig said before the concert. “All of the pieces are different. There’s a lot of hip-hop but also some contemporary and jazz pieces as well.”
According to Craig one of the biggest challenges is finding the time to rehearse because there is not nearly as much time to prepare as there is for the spring concert due to when classes begin. Mostly Dance 3 students participate in the winter show, but there are also a few performers from Dance 2. “ I would love to have more Dance 2 and Dance 1 pieces but it’s hard because there is not enough rehearsal time for everybody,” said Craig.
The show was filled with many hip-hop pieces but also some contemporary and jazz. Junior Emma Rodden from Dance 3 performed in the concert. “ In the show, I was doing contemporary and jazz and for me, it’s easier to express myself and what I want to do in those styles especially during the show. The theme was ‘the last day to dance’ and it was really easy to choreograph to that,” Rodden said.
The dancers themselves chose that theme for the winter concert. Craig said a big question driving the show was if you didn’t have tomorrow, how would you live today? “It’s about being in the moment and expressing, going full out and pushing yourself and doing what you love full out today, right now,” Craig said, adding that she hoped that made an impression on the audience. “What we want people to take away is do what you love, go full out all the time because you never know what tomorrow brings.”
The atmosphere of the showcase was fun and uplifting, which was what the performers hoped for. “I want them [the audience] to be inspired by what we love and they can think about what they love and they can see what other things they can do,” Rodden said.
Rodden has been preparing for this show for about three months. She has been performing since a very young age that she no longer has to deal with stage fright or nerves. “I usually don’t psyche myself out and I don’t think about it and I’m kind of used to it now since I’ve been performing for such a long time so I think it’s just easier if I don’t think about it and I just think happy thoughts.”
Rodden performed two pieces in the showcase called “Burlesque” and “Santa Tell Me.” Both pieces were contemporary and jazz-inspired. The holiday-themed piece “Santa Tell Me” included Rodden and many other Dance 3 students showcasing their ballet dance skills in long, sparkling gowns.
Junior Corey Risso Le, another performer and Dance 3 student, has always loved to dance. Risso Le performed an energetic hip-hop piece alongside many other Dance 3 students. He said he hoped his performance would convey, “just being confident and just having fun and being sassy.” Risso Le said that he wanted everyone to have fun just like he was, and he hoped the audience would see that the dancers worked very hard to put on this show.