From the teachers and students in the audience to the dancers onstage, the dance assembly is always an anticipated event every year at Mt. Hebron. The most recent assembly took place on Feb. 12 during the last two periods of the school day. Although each performance lasted only about an hour, the dancers had been working on it since the beginning of the school year.
While this seems like an extraordinary amount of work, it appeared to be worth it to everyone involved. To Dance teacher Ms. Dina Reyes, the dance assembly was an opportunity for improvement in all of her students.
“Their [Intro level dancers’] confidence is a little bit higher because there’s definitely some anxiety associated with performing on stage if you haven’t done it before,” Ms. Reyes said.
Those on stage also had great experiences preparing for the show. For the dancers, it was an opportunity to do what they loved.
Junior Claire Needham, one of the Junior Company captains, said she loves dance because “you can express your feelings and emotions through movements.”
Even participating students who are not members of the dance programs, like the football players, had a lot to gain from participating.
Junior Rickie Williams, who participated in the assembly for the second year in a row, explained, “The experience this year was much different than last year’s because we had an actual choreographer come in and teach us the dance. It was as if we were actually dancing as dancers, instead of participating in the dance just as football players.”
While many of the dances come from Ms. Reyes, some are choreographed by outside professionals along with the dance interns for this school year, seniors Bella Pascarella and Marissa Ricasa.
According to Pascarelle, being the mind behind the dance is a long process.
“It took four weeks to come up with the choreography and then it probably took about two or three months to teach it and then one month to clean it, ” Pascarelle explained.
Pascarelle taught a piece to Dance II and III students that revolved around dance clubs in the 1920s. Senior Jiana Lopez sang live during the piece to a song called “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.”
When asking Pascarelle about the premise of the dance she said, “[Lopez singing] gave the piece a club effect. The 1920s was the party era.”
For Lopez, being part of the dance assembly was a brand new experience.
“It was really crazy to me that they performed in front of the entire student body,” Lopez said. “I was way more nervous than they were.”
Ricasa choreographed a lively piece for the Dance I students to the energetic song “It’s Raining Men.” The piece kicked-off the dance assembly and showcased three Dance I students in the beginning acting like the R&B duo the Weather Girls who sing the song.
This year’s theme was based around the idea of the television set. Ms. Reyes decided to include a family of Mt. Hebron student actors who were onstage throughout the entire show.
Ms. Reyes explained, “Basically the actors are going to be the way that a normal family interacts together. They have a remote, and they are constantly changing the channels to different things.”
The assembly started off with a pre-recorded hilarious Mt. Hebron News segment by seniors Tharen Rice and Alyssa Matanin. This led into introductions for each of the dance pieces by featured actors and actresses in a family. The family included seniors Jacob Kempic and Mike Olson and juniors Gracie Dillon and Alyssa Tschirgi. Senior Tara Bellido de Luna and junior Rory Nolan also appeared in a commercial break during the assembly to add humor to the show.
There was a wide variety of topics conveyed throughout the show. Ms. Reyes commented, “It goes from real fun happy things to serious things. Everything that you would see on TV.”
The Junior Company performed two contrasting pieces. The first dance was prompted by a video of a news report highlighting the topic of homelessness. Two lifestyles in the piece were portrayed: one view being those who are homeless and the other being those who are more fortunate.
The theme of their second piece was Harry Potter. The popular tune of Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars was altered to be “Dark Lord Funk.” The dance incorporated a battle between the two houses of Gryffindor and Slytherin, and it came with many surprises. The stage went black midway through the piece as the dancers had wands that glowed. Ultimately, Slytherin house ended up on top.
The Dance Company came out in vibrant colors and feathers as they danced to an electrifying, rhythmic song representing the movie “Rio” for their first piece. Changing the mood, they performed another dance depicting the television show “The Red Band Society.” Dance Company members were dressed in white with a red band on their arms. Both Dance Company captains, seniors Sylvia Lagas and Marissa Ricasa, performed a beautiful self-choreographed piece to the song “See You Again.”
Closing out the assembly, the Dance Company performed a high-powered dance by a guest choreographer Ms. Reyes brought in from Los Angeles. The girls performed to the popular song “Good to be Alive” by Andy Grammer.
“[Good to be Alive] is my favorite dance! It’s really different from our other pieces. It’s upbeat and allows us to put our own style into it,” said Dance Company member junior Megan Scarbath.
Decked out in gold and black, the dancers showed their school pride along with an exuberance that, after many months, all their hard work had paid off.
Television is an important part of all of our lives today, whether we watch it once a week to see the news or we finish three seasons of our favorite show in a day. The assembly showed Mt. Hebron how expressive dance is by reaching out to everyone in the audience with a theme that covered a wide range of topics.