Dancers exhibit creativity at delayed choreography showcase


Benny He

Sarah Hill (’20), Josephine Dodd (’19), Athena Adrogué (’20), Connie Yu (’21), Samara Moll (’20), Yuki Chevray (’20), Emily Feng (’19) and Karli Fisher (’21) rehearse before the showcase was delayed.

Celine Huang and Wenqing He

As the lights gradually began to illuminate the stage, the silhouettes of dancers took form among the multi-colored, ombre background. The beat of “If You Were Mine” by Ocean Park Standoff filled the VST, cueing the dancers on stage to take action.

STUCHO, short for Student Choreography Showcase, is a student-produced dance performance. Students manage all aspects of the performance, from music selection to lighting design.

The performance was originally scheduled for Dec. 7 but was canceled due to inclement weather. Dancers then rescheduled the event to Jan. 9. The decision to cancel the show was not made until around 2 p.m. on Dec. 7, meaning dancers had been in rehearsals the whole week leading up to the original performance date.  

“It was really a last-minute call,” dance teacher Dorrell Martin said. “The dancers were a little devastated, but it was a good call because the weather was bad, and we were concerned that no one would show up.”

STUCHO featured a diverse selection of dances and musical styles choreographed by dancers from Terpsichore, Caprice III and Caprice II. Co-choreographed by freshmen Olivia Doan and Catherine Lu, “Enough, a contemporary-lyrical piece reflecting two friends making up, was the only duet in the showcase.

Freshman Catherine Huang choreographed Welcome Home,” a contemporary piece that was performed by all freshmen. The all-senior dance of the showcase, “Take Me Dancing,” was a jazz piece with an 80s vibe choreographed by Angela Whittle.

“There’s a lot of pride in being a senior, so typically every year there is a dance that is all seniors, which always gets the crowd up,” junior Yuki Chevray said.

The number choreographed by sophomore Karli Fisher was the first tap performance ever featured in STUCHO. The dance was originally a trio, but Fisher was injured on Jan. 7, making it a duet between juniors Athena Adrogue and Sarah Hill. Fisher’s injury led to restaging among six dances.

“Even though we had some obstacles along the way, we came through and performed an amazing show,” Adrogue said.

In STUCHO, the choreographers are responsible for selecting their music, dancers and costumes, as well as putting together a number with their own preferences. Chevray likes to base her choreography off the music, which she thinks is good inspiration.

“I like songs with words because that helps with the choreography process,” she said. “The music itself also has to be something I really like listening to because I really want the dance to represent things I enjoy.”

Each dance piece also went through an adjudication process. On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the choreographers presented whatever they had at the moment to adjudicators Peggy Hinojosa and Amy Blake for critique.

“We tried to stay hands-off and let the students do all the choreography,” Martin said. “We gave them feedback if we felt like something was not working, or maybe the spacing might’ve been off, or maybe the timing was off or they have this dead space on stage where nothing going on.”

The rescheduling of the performance added another challenge for the dancers. They were at the VST every day after school of rehearsal week, a time when many final projects were also due. Rehearsing during winter break couldn’t be scheduled since many dancers were on vacation. In the three days leading up to the performance, dancers spent many hours working on refining the show.

“It felt rewarding after we finished the performance because we put so much effort and time into this, and having STUCHO postponed definitely made it more challenging,” sophomore choreographer Bailey Maierson said.

Additional reporting by Mira Thakur and Bailey Maierson