By IRENE PANIS
For its 2017 spring showcase, Like Nobody’s Watching, UHS Dance Company made sure to pull out all the stops. Fulfilling its name, the showcase gave all students at UHS the opportunity to perform – including those without dance experience.
It was a dance show featuring non-dancers. So how did it fare?
The answer is: really, really well.
The first performance, “Eat This,” was one of the best of the entire show and elicited some of the loudest cheers of the night. Though the ensemble consisted mostly of amateur dancers, their inexperience did not show. The sheer confidence and swagger exhibited by the dancers’ movements made it seem like they were used to performing onstage, almost as if they had been practicing the piece for several months instead of a few weeks.
“It was definitely fun and became quite challenging as we spent countless lunch, snack and Office Hours periods perfecting our dance,” Dillon Sun (Sr.) said. “We even practiced almost every day during Spring Break.”
Julia Cheng (Sr.), who choreographed the piece, couldn’t be prouder of her dancers.
“Their enthusiasm for learning and perfecting the piece impressed me beyond my imagination,” she said. “[Working with them] was also gratifying, since I got to see these people take the stage as dancers for the very first time and completely stun the audience.”
In “Lizards,” various members of UHS Dance Company showed off their hip-hop chops. The performance became all the more fun and a little bit comical when, halfway through the number, a few teachers such as Ms. Rebecca Van Guilder (Math Dept.) and Mr. Ryan Itchon (Counseling Dept.) joined in.
The rest of the show featured dances encompassing a variety of genres, from empowering pop anthems to seat-dancing-worthy hip-hop performances to more cultural pieces. The tireless energy infused in each performance was almost palpable.
The last piece of the night was “The Matriarchy,” set to “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna and featuring the UHS Dance Company officers. The performance shined a spotlight on the brilliant minds behind Like Nobody’s Watching and was a perfect way to end the show. For the officers themselves, however, it was quite a bittersweet occasion.
“I’ve basically lived with these girls over the past 2-4 years,” Cheng, who is UHS Dance Company’s Vice President, said. “I’ve shared my laughter, tears, work and time with them, and I know them all so well. […] To be able to dance with them one last time and to feel how powerful we are together was exhilarating.”
Sitting in the audience that night and watching the different groups of dancers playfully mess around onstage as the show came to a close, one could feel the sense of family they had developed not in just the past few months of the showcase’s production, but also over these past few years attending UHS. For a moment, it was a bittersweet occasion for the audience, too.
In the end, however, the message behind the showcase is one that should be remembered. Sometimes we need to live life – and dance – like nobody’s watching.