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Dance Paves Its Way to New Heights

Dance team, hip hop crew and All Male Dance demonstrate astonishing results in their 2018 season of competitions

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The dance team, hip hop crew and All Male Dance competed in the Aliso Dance Classic held at Aliso Niguel High School on Jan. 13. As one of the first contests of the season, Aliso Dance Classic had teams from 14 schools in Orange County and surrounding areas showcase their skills in a variety of styles, including jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, solo numbers and more.

Dances received scores based on the choreography, expression and showmanship. Awards were given to the best performers in each category.

The teams brought back results, placing 3rd in the Small Male Hip Hop category and 2nd in the Character category. Junior Katheryn Thayer-Pham won 3rd place in the 11th Grade Jazz Solo category.

A following competition, Arlington Golden Classic, was held on Feb. 24 at Arlington High School, located at Riverside. Competing against numerous other high schools, the dance team members won several awards. Within the 9th grade category, freshman Mackenzie Cole placed 2nd; in 10th grade solo, sophomore Maleah Malhotra placed 1st; in 11th grade solo, junior Thayer-Pham won 1st; in 12th grade solo, Megumi Cheng placed 2nd. In the Small Hip Hop category, the team won 3rd and in the Co-ed Hip Hop category, they placed 2nd.

On March 24 and 25, the dance team participated in the California Association of Dance/Drill Team Directors (CADTD) State Championships at Edison High School. Among 35 schools in attendance, the team placed 3rd in Medium Contemporary, 3rd in Character and 3rd in Medium Co-ed Hip Hop. Pham placed 2nd overall and Cheng placed 2nd in Drill Down.

“We’ve been doing a lot more hip hop routines this year,” senior Ashley Kim said. “Most of our team members haven’t done hip hop until this year, so it was hard to get it into our system because it’s very different from lyrical, jazz or contemporary.”

Nonetheless, Kim shared how successful the dancers have become and how the teams were showing great results despite the difficulties they had with the choreography, including a warm shout-out to the All Male Dance Team.

“We have a new coach for the All Male [Dance] Team, so their routine looks really nice,” Kim said. “I’m really proud of All Male Team this year because they practice so much and all the boys are putting so much effort into it. They’ve come so far and even the other schools are saying that our team looks really good this year.”

Sophomore and All Male Dance Captain Chris Rudolph shared how team members prepared for the dance season beginning earlier this semester. During competition season, each team receives a set of multiple pieces to learn and solidify, which they will use to perform at different high schools.

Going into details about how the competitions proceeded, Rudolph described how commentators critiqued the pieces through audio recordings and gave scores that the team used to improve for their following competitions.

“I can really see their teamwork shine through their performances,” senior Olivia Kim said. “Compared to previous years, each team member stands out since the choreography is truly mesmerizing.”

Despite difficulties with advanced choreographies, with the help of their new coach Justin Aguilar, All Male Dance Team was able to break the steps down and gradually understand the pieces by heart.

“Our last coach last year didn’t really find it as a priority to work with us,” Rudolph said. “But Justin Aguilar, our new coach, comes pretty much every week whenever we need him to. He always works with us and always has something that we can improve on. All around, it’s just a better learning environment for all of us.”

Photo courtesy of Ashley Kim

With dance auditions coming up on April 23-25 and the Spring Show scheduled to be held on May 11, the teams strive to put on a show-stopping performance that will bring their season to a close.

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Dance Paves Its Way to New Heights