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Dance Company members practice choreography during block 3 on maroon days

Dance Company Provides a Home for Members

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]aroon day block three, dance company members stride into the studio after two blocks of stressful chemistry tests, challenging english classes, and anger inducing math quizzes. Now as they enter the changing room, they prepare for an hour and twenty minutes of both new and practiced choreography, conditioning workouts, and the fun dynamic of their dance team.

Nolan Eisenhaur practices his hand stand at the end of a Dance Company block 3 class

Dance Company is an auditioned group of students grades 9-12 who have a talent and passion for performing and want to showcase the school’s dance program.

Nolan Eisenhaur ‘18 has been an active member of Dance Company for two years. Now a senior, Eisenhaur describes auditioning for dance company in the spring of his sophomore year as the best choice of his high school career. He says, “Dance Company has taught so much about myself and about dance.” So not only has this club given him a place to express himself, it has provided him with knowledge about a subject he is passionate about.  

Dance Company ends class with a 5-minute flexibility workout

Eisenhaur describes the group dynamic as a strong camaraderie that he has grown very close to. The classes and lessons usually start off with a meeting, followed by peer-lead warm ups and then learning and practicing choreography until the bell rings.    

“It is definitely a new experience, but everyone is very welcoming,” says senior Kaitlyn Kelley, a new member this year. Kelley has been dancing since she was three years old and says that because this is her first year in dance company, “it’s a little bit hard to adjust, but making new friends and getting to meet all these new people is one of the best parts of it all.”

All of the members can feel comfortable and confident with each other because they can all relate and get along through their love of dance. It’s a great opportunity for those who don’t have a “clique,” as Kelley puts it, in highschool to find a group where they can feel they belong.

Dancing can also strongly affect a person’s mentality or emotional state, as with any other form of exercise. For Eisenhaur, he says that dancing makes him extremely happy and he loves that he can enjoy something so much. As for Kelley, dancing not only keeps her in shape physically, but she says that “mentally it just distracts me from the rest of the world, focusing on the music is a great getaway.” So not only is dancing keeping their bodies healthy, these students are getting mental conditioning as well.

According to the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute one of the regions of the brain that contributes to learning dance is the cerebellum which is the part of the brain integrates input from the brain and spinal cord and helps in the planning of fine and complex motor actions. Anxiety and depression are on the rise in teenagers because of the stress from classes, from thinking about college, and from working themselves too hard. It is proven that dance reduces stress, improves memory, strengthens and creates neuronal connections, and increases the levels of the serotonin hormone.This means that while teens are dancing, they might also be improving test scores and reducing anxiety. While this is a cool bonus benefit, most dancers make movement part of their life for the exhilaration of the moment that only comes when they are nailing a piece of complicated choreography.

Dance Company starts class with a peer lead warm up

Performing is the key focus of Dancy Company, the choreography they come up with, teach and learn, they perform. While even some the senior members of the company say that performing is the toughest aspect of being on the team, because they feel that dancing is not just movements, it’s acting out feelings, they say it is extremely fun and that going on stage with your friends makes it one hundred times better.

For two years now, dance company has performed at pep rallies and completely blown away the students and teachers present.     

As junior Emily Murray said, “It’s always really exciting to be performing in the Pep Rally because you have the whole school watching you. It’s nerve wracking at first but eventually you just like get the excitement from the crowd and everyone is cheering you on so it’s really easy to be out there and have fun.” Dance team members performed at the most recent Homecoming pep rally to the song WTF (Where They From) by Missy Elliott. “We learned the dance in only three rehearsals so we were all kind of nervous, but we’re really happy how it all turned out.”

As for people who want to audition for dance company but are maybe nervous or shy, Eisenhaur’s advice is to “just go all out! Emma (the dance company teacher) loves to see people get into dancing and choreography” and he adds in support that, “a simple mess up in auditions does not affect your admittance, so it’s definitely worth the try”.

After finishing up a final workout and changing back into their normal clothes, the members file out of studio in pursuit of block 4. They may be physically tired from a long, difficult workout session, but they are mentally thriving with refreshed minds, ready to take on their last class of the day.

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