Story by Stephen Wise, Photo by Tyeoyna Anderson

For most students, December is a time to relax and begin studying for exams. But for the Dance program, it means quite the opposite. Their annual winter concert means days of preparation and practice to make sure the Thursday and Friday shows are seamless.

“We stay after school for two hours every day, and we have rehearsal and go through the entire show to check the lights and make sure the music works,” senior Emily O’Shields said, “That way we can actually dance on stage and not just go out there Thursday and Friday night.”

The hour and a half concerts featured a total of 21 performances, with a combination of each of the five dance classes. For some of the more experienced classes, the choreography was of their own design.

“The most difficult part was just like choreography,” junior Diamond Halsey said, “Dance 3 made up their own pieces and working with timing, and the choreography itself, and making sure everybody is on point everything is the hardest part about keeping this whole show together.”

Dance instructor Ginny Haynes oversees the concert, and ensures that everything is in place for the final performances. The process does not begin just the week of but rather throughout the entire semester.

“We have been working all semester on preparing for the show not only through different techniques but just working together as a team because they have to perform as a group on stage,” Haynes said, “We’ve done different choreography projects in class and just cleaning it up this week. We’ve had after school practices every single day after school, and had dress rehearsal Wednesday and have shows Thursday and Friday.”

Senior Maggie O’Toole is involved with both the theatre and dance programs, and drew the comparison between the two through the importance of choreography.

“You have to learn all your choreography, you have to put your emotion on stage, you have to do all these things that are involved in performing and technique,” Maggie said, “with all this stuff it’s like theatre on steroids.”

Between the choreography, timing, and practice schedule, there is a lot to balance for the dancers, both mentally and physically.

“It’s very easy for me,” sophomore Brian McCants said. “The physical part is really easy it’s really all about the mental part learning the steps, learning everything, learning the counts, and how much I got to practice. Just balancing everything together.”

The winter concert has played a significant part of the high school experience for everyone involved, and it helps foster a sense of teamwork and camaraderie for the dancers.

“It’s a lot of fun performing in front of people and showing what we have been working on all semester,” Emily said. “Going through this with my friends is always enjoyable, and I will miss the relationships built through this every year when I graduate.”