By LEILI KAMALI
The University High School (UHS) Dance Company hosted its annual Dance Invitational on Thursday, January 12th, and Friday, January 13th in the Big Theatre. Dancers from six different schools, including Brea Olinda High School, Northwood High School, Newport Harbor High School, Corona Del Mar High School and Sunny Hills High School, along with special guest APA Dance Company, took part in the show.
The mind blowing performances of each school and the variety of pieces harmonized to produce a beautiful and pleasant show. “We’re usually competing with other schools, but invitational is one of the few events in which we work with other schools to create something,” said Julia Cheng (Sr.), Vice President of UHS Dance Company.
Sunny Hills High School performed three pieces this year. Starting off strong with Off With Your Hand, they kept the audience guessing by incorporating elements of funky jazz dance. Their multiple synchronized one-legged spins were very impressive. Their next number, Suffrage, showcased intricate jumps and a level of technique which made Sunny Hills quite popular among the audience.
UHS performances were also among the more unique pieces. Choreographed by Mr. Edward Johnson (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), Too Much to Bear was unexpectedly nostalgic with choreography miming the movements of the cartoon bear in the movie The Jungle Book. UHS Dance Company also performed a traditional Bollywood piece choreographed by Shivani Lamba (Sr.), which was a refreshing and unique cultural number. The dancers wore anklets with bells which added to the enchanting mood.
Corona Del Mar High School’s dancers also portrayed their dramatic skills, adding a clear storyline to each piece. In their iconic piece Fighting For Women’s Rights, dancers helped portray the feminist theme with exaggerated facial expression to match Beyonce’s passionate vocals.
Newport Harbor High School also had many memorable performances throughout the show. Its most iconic piece was Man’s World, in which the performers added a new dimension to their dance with the use of props. Yet it was Every Forty Seconds which truly left an impact on the audience as the dancers captured the painful reality of suicide with their strong facial expressions in sync with the music-free narration.
Northwood High School and Brea Olinda High School also delivered notable performances including Negligence, a number with unique costume and lighting, and the entertaining number Why Don’t You Love Me.
Overall, Dance Invitational showcased a plethora of talents and styles which emphasized the diversity of dance as a mode of communication.