Dancing at Disney
With no dance experience before Brentwood, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be good enough to keep up with the experienced dancer group; however, when I joined the dance program, I soon learned that there was no reason to be scared.
Brentwood offers a big dance program with a large range of skill sets with classes from beginners to advanced. There is an intermediate class, a junior advanced class, a senior advanced class, a junior choreography class, and a senior choreography class. Each class learns a wide range of dance styles from hip hop to contemporary to musical theatre to swing dancing and many in-between.
Through the many different classes and styles of dances that are taught, students are able to develop skills and learn choreography in a fun and inclusive environment. Nemi G, Allard ‘21 says “I like how we are given the opportunity to express ourselves and experiment with different genres in a non-judgemental environment.” Whether it’s their first or fourth year in the program, people are always looking to endeavor something new in dance.
At the beginning of the year, the program focuses on trying out new styles of dances and providing the dancers with opportunities to work with different choreographers from both outside and inside the Brentwood community. When second term rolls around, dancers get to choose which styles of dance they would like to perform in the Evening of Dance that occurs in May. Usually, each class has at least three group dances that they can choose to be in as well as some solos, duets, and trios. Towards the middle of the year, the dancers begin working on choreography or learning choreography from a chosen choreographer. The dancers then choose costumes, run rehearsals, and then finally get to experience the exhilarating thrill of performing on stage for the show.
Mrs Blake, the dance instructor, plays a big role in helping dancers improve their skills while also giving them the freedom to come up with choreography and choose dance styles. Each class, Mrs Blake begins with a warm-up then moves on to teaching a bit of technique, teaching choreography, or having us learn some choreography. She often brings in her daughter, Bryony, to teach hip hop, or two twins, Cat and Hayley, to teach jazz, lyrical or contemporary.
This year, advanced dance is lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to Disneyland, California to perform during the February midterm. While the other dance classes are trying out new styles of dance and working on technique, the senior advanced dance is working on choreography for this trip. With many keen dancers from many different dance style backgrounds, a wide range is needed to create an inclusive and diverse performance.
Dance Captain Atisha RL, Alexandra ‘20 says “We are super excited to be able to go to Disney this year. We have a lot of amazing dancers from all kinds of dance backgrounds. It’s been amazing to see everyone working together and creating different pieces in such a short amount of time.”
There will be one group Jazz piece that everyone is in, one 12 grade dance, one junior dance for the juniors in the class, a hip hop piece, about five other dances, and a finale. With the clock ticking, dancers are working hard to choreograph and learn the pieces before showtime in February.
Sabrina H, Allard ‘20