The Dance Department brings creativity with entertaining solos and group dances for audiences to enjoy in the Mainstage Theater.
Isabella Vodos, Staff Writer
Over 20 dance students filled the Mainstage Theater on Thursday to showcase their semester of hard work.
The show began at 5:30 p.m. As guests found their seats, music played subtly over a babbling crowd with “Valley Dances” programs in hand. The 90-minute showcase included four short dance films created by students who were part of Dance Production in 2020, the time of the lockdown. After the first showcase, a rehearsal of the dance “Here. Now. Together” was projected on the screen where students introduced their different styles of dance. Under the projector, a group of dancers appeared where they danced their hearts out.
When the crowd settled down following the introductory performance, Professor Elizabeth Casebolt made a speech about how happy she is to be back on stage after three years. She mentioned that the performance featured student choreography and snippets of last year’s dancers in quarantine throughout the show.
Guest choreographer Noah Jackson had been part of dance production since 2018 and took on the role of choreographer after receiving an invitation from Casebolt.
Jackson expressed his excitement to come back to Valley and dance in person, because his 2019 showcase was canceled due to the pandemic.
“I chose to choreograph because I didn’t get a chance to perform in 2020, which would have been a proper close to my chapter at Valley College,” said Jackson. “Coming back now just felt right. The opportunities you could receive as a student are challenging and strengthen your craft.”
There were fourteen dance numbers including contemporary, hip hop, tap, ballet, street jazz, waacking, modern and 1970s musical theater. The choreography was based on finding a sort of serenity and coming back from the pandemic. Most of the dances were about isolation, being separated from friends and family and the joy of being back together.
Dancer Kotama Estall performed a tap dance to a poem about isolation called “Isolation Is” where she described that we need a sense of community to find ourselves.
Before intermission, a group musical theater dance highlighted the night with a jazz performance about waiting at a train stop. The background was a video of a train coming by and was enhanced by red lighting. In front of the scenery, a conductor and passengers danced excitedly for the ride of the train.
Dance student Savanna Scott performed a solo called “Power Play” to a Taylor Swift song, “My Tears Ricochet,” which she choreographed while in quarantine. She said the dance started off on a chair because there wasn’t much space to move around. The dance is about a girl who has a singing superpower. When she sings nobody else can hear it. In the dance, she sang about her deepest emotions.
The night ended with an upbeat hip hop dance where students wore pops of pink and black to represent their fun energy. All the dance teachers bowed and the curtains came to a close.
“I’m so excited to be back on stage performing,” said Scott. “When we were in COVID, we did a lot of zoom type of performances, so this is gonna be just much fun and you can feel the energy. Everyone hypes each other up and I just feel like I’m a better performer when we have an audience.”