December 21, 2016
Thursday and Sunday night, Atholton High School held their winter dance concert featuring the dance classes who have been practicing the whole year for these performances. Ms. Haffey, the dance teacher, expertly taught all of her students to pull off the spectacular performance.
Dance classes one through four had two dances, junior company had four dances, and senior company had five. In addition, the classes joined forces in numbers such as “After School Jazz” with junior and senior company and The Lion King grand finale with the entire dance department.
Dance concerts at Atholton are a huge way to showcase the talent at Atholton in the arts department. Each class performed their numbers that they were rehearsed daily in class for the past three months. With songs from Grease like “We Go Together” and “Grease Lightning,” or radio hits like “Side to Side,” the music was easily recognizable to the audience, making the dance concert entertaining for all. Numbers without commonly known music in the background could sometimes be considered more intriguing because it forced the audience to pay closer attention to the meaning behind the powerful dance. In “Blowing in the Wind,” the senior company portrayed the emotion of the song in a modern dance with fairy-like costumes. The show gathered the audience’s attention and exhibited the talent in the arts at Atholton.
Ms. Haffey hopes people could see the work her dancers put into the show, after all their hard work. “There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears from the dancers to make our performances happen. It’s an all energy and full body event,” she said.
The preparation for the show started at the beginning of the school year and didn’t stop until the minute before the concert actually began. Leading up to the concert, all the dancers ran through the finale only once, but each dance class practiced their respective parts beforehand. The finale was something the classes looked forward in part because of the sculpted animals made by AHS art students for the piece based on The Lion King. The concert was filled with beautiful costumes and was thoughtfully planned out and coordinated by dance teacher Ms. Haffey
“I think of style of dance and the mood behind the piece. I think about colors and what may work,” Ms. Haffey said on considering what costumes to use for each dance number.
Her method must have worked because senior company dance student, Sarah Propst, said she loved her modern costume because “it makes me feel like a fairy.”
The finale seemed to be everybody’s favorite, including sophomore Juliet Nierle, who attended the concert Thursday night. She said it was her favorite because of the props, paper mache animals which students actually wore to portray the animals of The Lion King.
Propst loved the finale for separate reasons, completely different from anything regarding The Lion King. She said, “The finale is always my favorite because it’s always really fun to dance with all the different people in the dance department.”
Ms. Haffey’s reason behind basing the concert behind The Lion King and dedicating the finale to the movie was actually because, as she said, “We did this five years ago. It is one of my favorites so I thought it would be a nice way to honor our alumni and add to the 50th anniversary of Atholton.”
Propst also mentioned that a lot of the dance concert is actually last minute, but that it is hard to tell because of how it always turns out. Pieces like the finale or “After School Jazz” can only fully come together the rehearsal week leading up to the concert because that is the only time when the classes get to run the piece together.
Ms. Haffey said that this aspect of the concert doesn’t actually make her nervous, but that, “there never seems to be enough time.” Even with months leading up to the concert, things get rushed towards the end.
Since the concert has finished, the dance classes are taking a break up until preparation for the spring concert begins. This will most likely be after winter break is finished, so there won’t be any drilling of different numbers and feet pounding in the dance studio until 2017. As for now, the only thing on the dancers’ and Ms. Haffey’s minds is Hakuna Matata.