Behind the Scenes: Dance Company Presents Two-Night Showcase


Mae King

Dance Company placed countless hours of practice for their performance at Showcase.

Sydney Gaw, Staff Writer

After months of preparation, Dance Company presented its annual Dance Showcase on Jan. 22-23. The production featured Dance Company members, as well as other dancers who auditioned for a spot in the show.

For the duration of the night, viewers were given a taste of several dance styles, including contemporary, hip-hop, K-pop and jazz, which were performed to a variety of music choices ranging from James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go” to a mashup of Britney Spears’ “Gimme More” and ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” Out of the 16 routines performed, 15 were student-choreographed.

Not only did the Showcase represent the long-awaited return to live performances for the dance program, but it also gave Dance Company members a chance to organize and direct an original production. According to Dance Company president and senior Lilli Behpoor, the Dance Company officers initially started planning the Showcase in late October. The first step in creating their show was holding auditions.

“We held live and recorded casting auditions to try and find people to be in the show and piece auditions to find pieces to be in the show,” Dance Company Vice President and junior Sofia Sun said. “A lot more goes into a dance production than most people might think, and we had to figure out what was in the lobby and how to accommodate lighting for each piece.”

While Dance Company had to put countless hours into planning the event, the Showcase ultimately provided an outlet for dancers to bring their creative concepts to life. For Dance Company secretary and junior Paulina Wodarz, this meant the opportunity to venture outside of her comfort zone with unique styles of dance.

“Up until now, I’d only choreographed one or two pieces for Dance Company, so this year’s Showcase was one of the biggest opportunities for me to experiment with different styles,” Wodarz said. “I usually [feel] restricted to a certain style, but Showcase, having so many people, so many dances, so many opportunities to express varying levels of creativity or styles and no specific theme.”

According to Dance Company director Mr. Edward Johnson, the Dance Showcase is an artistic tradition of the school that has lasted for over 20 years. In restoring it this year, Mr. Johnson hoped to teach Dance Company more about the work that goes into creating a full-fledged production.

“The idea behind [Dance Showcase] was for the Dance Company officers to have the experience of putting together every element of putting on a show,” Mr. Johnson said. “Looking at every single meticulous component and working together to create and draw those things together, to make decisions as a creative team—that’s really what we were striving for.”

Even with the team’s guidance and hard work, the production did not come without its challenges. From pandemic related concerns to time management, Dance Company had to be quick on its feet with solutions.

“Having a plan and back up plan, and the creativity to problem solve is something I think everyone is looking forward to because this situation is nothing but creative challenges,” Mr. Johnson said. “There was a time before where everything was shut down and there was no question. Then we got some things where we were like, how can we be creative within this? That to me is the true measure of creativity.”

Dance Company’s innovation and creativity eventually came to fruition at the two night production. With several solo and group performances, the show displayed a wide range of talent and the culmination of weeks of rehearsal.

“I was hesitant about doing the Showcase because I wasn’t sure if there was going to be an audience coming out of the pandemic,” Behpoor said. “But when I came out onto the stage and I saw how many people came out to support us, I knew it was worth it.”

As a senior, Behpoor shared the impact of the achievement as one of the highlights of her last year on Dance Company. While the experience was a mix of bittersweet emotions, Behpoor was grateful for the work and camaraderie of her fellow dancers.

“Some of my favorite moments were before the actual show, when I had a pep talk with all of the dancers,” Behpoor said. “I was just thanking them for everything they had done and for making my senior year a dream come true.”