After the long period of quarantine, in which sports teams could not practice together, high schools have been given permission to start practicing in person again. A fabulous group of students that are part of the dance team at Crescenta Valley High School began practicing together on school campus. Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, the dance team members were restricted to practicing at home using the Zoom platform. Therefore, getting back and dancing with each other for the summer before the 2021-2022 school year was a huge change.
Summer practices for the Crescenta Valley Dance Team are extremely important. Through the skills and routines that are learned throughout the summer, the students are more prepared for all of the events that are held throughout the regular school year. These summer practices began at the end of June and lasted throughout July. For the first two weeks, practices were optional for students, but the rest was mandatory. During this time, students who were able to attend learned valuable skills, such as jazz technique, tumbling, and hip hop. The dancers on the Crescenta Valley Dance Team are working towards being very versatile dancers, so challenging themselves to different styles and techniques is extremely important.
After these two optional weeks of practicing, the dancers moved onto three weeks of mandatory practices. For the first week the students danced from 1:30-3:30 pm, and for the last two weeks, practices ran from 9 am – 12 pm. For these long hours, the students stayed extremely focused in order to learn as much as possible. As soon as the dancers arrived at school, they warmed up with jumping jacks, running, and many different kinds of stretches. Then, they moved on to conditioning, where ab workouts, leg, arm, and full body workouts are used to get the students in good shape for all of the difficult training that will come afterwards.
With a different coach everyday, the students learned several styles of dance: jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and contemporary. The coach taught the dance with counts and the dancers worked hard to pick up the moves as quickly as possible. Soon after, music was applied and careful work to find the musicality of the choreography was done. Adding this element of musicality is very important, as it delivers much more to the audience. At the end, the choreography was performed in front of the other team members at the end of each class.
As a dancer on this team, I think that we are very lucky to have the opportunity to train with each other in person again. The energy that I feel from my teammates really helps me to push myself and dance stronger compared to when I danced alone at home.
Rosalia Park, Grade 11
Crescenta Valley High School