By Riley Pult
The advanced dance team on campus has been around for many years now and has produced many great dancers. The current teacher, Ms. Sanchez has been running the dance program here at BHS for 7 years. The dance program ranges from Dance 1, to Dance 2, to Dance 3 which is the advanced level. They often put on 2 performances in the PAB throughout the year.
Ms. Sanchez says that “a typical day involves multiple dance rehearsals going on in class at once.” They are currently in the process of preparing for their annual spring showcase which requires them to commit many hours to the class. One student who plays a large role in the class is Mackenzie Friesen (12). She says, “I help edit music for our dances as well as choreograph for our shows and rallies.” Friesen has been a part of the team for all four years of high school and says her favorite performance she has done so far was a contemporary duet she did with Tanna Kelly (11) last fall. “It definitely made people cry, which is honestly why it’s my favorite. We made the audience feel something and that’s our job as dancers”(Friesen).
Another Student, Maya Sihota (10), says this class has helped her grow as a dancer overall. “We work a lot on our technique but also learn much about choreography. We learn how to create and express our creativity through dances.” This class has recently been moved up to an honors course which means the curriculum has been changed to include not just dance but also other academic based projects. “Students have additional assignments in which they explore every aspect of pursuing careers in the field of dance” (Sanchez).
The dancers work very hard in and out of the class to educate themselves on dance as well as train in different styles. Sihota says her favorite style of dance to perform is “jazz because it is fun and it allows you to have a fun time”.
Other students like Natalia Estrada (10) say her favorite part about the class is “getting to dance with my friends I don’t dance with at my studio.” Friesen says: “My favorite part of advanced dance is being a part of a team. We always have so much fun in and outside of class.” Ms. Sanchez shares that her favorite part of teaching the course is “getting to see the final show come together. It’s pretty awesome to watch everyone’s hard work, and creativity come together to accomplish our goal of putting on such a big production each year.”
The advanced dance team brings together students who have trained at other recreational companies such as Tip Tap Toe Performing Arts, North Bay Performing Arts, or Benicia Ballet. With all different dance backgrounds, students in advanced dance collaborate and share ideas. It truly enhances the creativity in the class and makes their showcases engaging for the audience.
The advanced dance team is hosting their spring show on May 18th-20th at 7pm in the Benicia High PAB. Make sure to buy your tickets as soon as they become available.