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Orchesis finishes third night of annual show ‘Vitality’

Kayleigh Padar

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Orchesis, led by Christine Widell and Stephanie Tinaglia, has been working to create their yearly show, Vitality, for months. Tonight, the dancers finished their third and final show.

“When you’re dancing and the lights are on you and everyone’s staring at you, all you think about is having fun. Dancing, for all of us, is something that we really love to do, so having fun is the most important thing,” freshman Arisa Kulkarni said.

Having fun seems to come naturally on stage during shows, but before that moment when “everyone’s staring at you,” a lot of work goes in behind the scenes in order to make the show run smoothly.

First, the girls have rehearsals. There are rehearsals multiple days of the week, depending on how many dances a group member participates in. Guest choreographers also come in for weekend practices. Once February begins, the group moves to the theatre to begin working on lighting, music and other special effects with the tech crew.

“During tech week, we run all the shows. We’re not only checking lighting, but we’re also checking music and making sure we can get through in the correct wings and making sure the costumes work and fixing any choreography that needs to be fixed last minute,” junior Jenna Simpson said.

The show itself is composed of 18 different dances. Some are choreographed by the group members, and some by outside choreographers. 14 of the dances were choreographed by students. For example, “This Bitter Earth”, music by Dinah Washington and Max Richter, was choreographed by seniors Clare Johlie and Sarah McCluskey, showcased during Vitality, and also qualified for State.

“I really like choreographing because you get to play people up to their different strengths, and it’s cool to see your piece on stage. It’s amazing to see that you got to put a piece on such amazing people and people really seem to enjoy it,” McCluskey said.

The choreographers also are able to choose the costumes that the dancers wear while performing that particular piece. “For Robert Mckee’s dance, Cover of Night, it’s about people breaking out and not conforming to society. He wanted it to be black and white so that’s why we went with the cropped tops,” Simpson said.

Each piece choreographed and performed was unique, with different styles of dance including lyrical, tap, hip hop, and others. Understandably, different dancers seemed to have different pieces that they enjoyed performing the most.

Kulkarni’s favorite dance is “Near Light”, choreographed by senior Claire Johlie. “It’s so flowy and you get to express your emotions. Even though it’s a lyrical piece it’s not very sad. It’s very uplifting and free spirited,”
Kulkarni said.

Simpson’s favorite dance is “Surprise Yourself”, choreographed by Rachel Berube. “I like it because Rachel choreographed the dance so we support ourselves and each other. It’s about self confidence, and so I really like it,” Simpson said.

Another key part of the show is the dance that is choreographed for the seniors, by the seniors, called “No Need to Say Goodbye”. While the seniors dance, there is a slideshow of some of their best moments together in the background. There is also a piece of the dance where each senior receives a few seconds for a solo while a photo of her as a child flashes behind her, and then turns into her senior photo.

“I really like doing the senior dance because it’s so emotional for all of us, we’re shedding tears on stage, and it’s connected to all of us,” McCluskey said.

Although the seniors’ career with Orchesis will soon end, they are looking forward to the future. Some members of the group will be pursuing dance in college, through majors or simply remaining on a team of some sort.

“I’m going to Iowa next year as a dance major. Choosing this as my major has always been in the back of my head, and being a senior you have to start making decisions. I knew that dance is something so important to me and I couldn’t let it go,” McCluskey said.

Despite exciting plans for the future, seniors preparing to move on is always emotional, especially because all the girls in the group refer to themselves as a family.

“I love that, especially this year, we’ve gotten really close and we’re really a big family. Some of my best friends are on Orchesis and it’s great that I get to do what I love with the people that I love,” Simpson said.

“The best thing about Orchesis is probably the people, even though as a freshman you don’t know anyone at first, but then you get so close with everyone. We’re just one big family and it’s great,” Kulkarni said.

The dancers had many different words to describe this bittersweet show.

“I think the best word to describe it with is Smile. You see the audience and see all your friends and family and it makes you smile because you’re doing what you love,” sophomore Laura Kate Waters said.

Although Vitality is over, students can expect a new show next February.

 

Photographs taken by Katherine Wiemold

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The Correspondent Live - The student news site of John Hersey High School
Orchesis finishes third night of annual show ‘Vitality’