By RAVINA PATEL
December artist of the month, Mary Zhou (Sr.), has been involved in dance for all four years at University High School (UHS). She started learning ballet when she was eight years old and has learned various styles since then, including African jazz from her freshman year in Dance Tech I. Since joining Dance Company, Zhou said, “Dance company has given me the opportunity to explore dances that fuse together many of these styles.”
When asked from where she gets her passion for dance, Zhou said, “I’ve always loved books and movies, and I think I love dance for the same reason – storytelling. But now I have the opportunity to create and interpret an emotion or story, which makes dance even more personal and gratifying. I decided to be a part of the dance department all four years of high school because it gave me the opportunity for collaboration and self-expression an extra AP wouldn’t have.”
In regards to Dance Company, Zhou said, “I’m sure in a few years time my best and most vivid memories from high school will be of Dance Company. The positive energy of my fellow dancers and Mr. Johnson has helped me through a lot of stressful moments.” Zhou participated in the dance spotlight office hours show on November 20, which introduced Dance Company by showcasing a typical Dance Company practice with audience participation.
Momoko Ishizuka (Jr.), a fellow Dance Company member, said, “I think we all love Mary because she is really sweet and modest. She doesn’t intentionally draw attention to herself, but anyone watching her can see that dance is her passion and that she enjoys performing. Although she might deny it, Mary has a fan club of which her friends and company members are a part of. She is an amazing dancer and a wonderful, if not occasionally crazy, friend.”
Another Dance Company member, Megan Ling (Sr.), said Zhou “exemplifies a dancer that is both talented and enthusiastic. In the three years with company with her, I have never had a memory of her being anything less than perfect. However, she is not the type of dancer that relies on their talent; she works hard and smart, knows her priorities, and always lives up to everyone’s high expectations. From the first time I set eyes on her dancing, I could tell that she had her own unique, but familiar way of moving: controlled but expressive.”
Zhou will be performing with Dance Company at an invitational show on January 15 and 16, as well as Dance Showcase on February 12 & 13. The Dance Showcase auditions on December 17 and 18 are open to everyone. To those considering starting dance, Zhou said, “It’s never too late to learn dance or to pick those ballet shoes up again. I think if you want world peace, institute a mandatory world-wide dance number, like from the final scene of Footloose (except much, much harder to coordinate, but we can figure it out). Dance is international – it speaks volumes without any words at all, and that makes it really powerful.”