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Team profile: Dance Company

2023-2024 Eagle Rock Dance Company, photo courtesy of Lennie Dix

Established in 2018, Dance Company has become a beloved part of our school community with their intricate and practically otherworldly performances. With practices in the dance room during the team’s period 8 and after school on Mondays and Wednesdays, they’re some of the most hardworking and dedicated individuals on our campus.

Mrs. Okada, all further photos by Rebekah Grace de Guzman

The person leading this tight ship is Mrs. Okada, the team’s coach. Before her arrival here at ERHS, she led a dance team at one of the old schools she taught at. “The dancers [during my first year of teaching here] were very [passionate and talented,]” she said. “It just inspired me to also start up a team here at Eagle Rock. There was interest… and I decided to have auditions.”

The audition process commonly takes place over a week at the end of the spring semester. The first three days are a dance workshop where potential members learn a hip-hop dance and a contemporary dance. Thursday is a break day—typically used to practice—and Friday is audition day. Upon a panel of judges made up of Mrs. Okada, the team’s captains, and alumni, each person has two tries to perform each dance.

From left to right: Lennie Dix and Aiyanna Japhet Canlas

When asked why they joined the team, second-year member Lennie Dix said: “I wanted to be part of a team [and I] wanted to go deeper into dancing.” First-year member Aiyanna Japhet Canlas added: “I wanted to boost my confidence and be more social.” Results from auditions usually arrive a week later.

When asked what she likes most about the team, Lennie had this to say: “I think I’ve grown a lot… not just dance-wise, but like with social skills because I got to meet a lot of new people… And now they’re like my best friends, my family.” Aiyanna carried on excitedly: “It’s always very energetic, very happy… And then like all the performances—all the dances the captains make, it’s really good!”

Since its inception, the team has grown in the number of performances they’ve put on; this year was the first time they’ve performed during the homecoming game halftime show. Some other performances include the annual holiday performance in the quad, the art department’s Winter Showcase, Open House, and the sixth-grade articulation assembly. At the end of the year is Spring Showcase: the showcase exclusive to the dance program.

“...Spring Showcase is my favorite time of the year,” Lennie said. “You get to perform team dances, but you can also add solo, duet, or smaller group dances.”

Jaynie Guan

The dances don’t come without hard work, of course. Co-captain Jaynie Guan said, “[The] most challenging thing is figuring out how to organize everything. For example, like there’s [dance] formations or if anyone has a question [about the choreography] that you may not know the answer to and you have to find out.” Yet, it’s worth it: “It shows our hard work and how hard we work.”

As for the future of the company, everyone wants to reach new heights together. Mrs. Okada said, “I definitely want to do more performances for the school and even outside of the school… like city performances [or competitions].” Jaynie echoed hopes to compete as well as saying, “I hope that everyone builds better relationships and [become more] trusting and works well with each other despite any difficulties.”

To those interested in joining, Lennie exclaimed, “Do it, it’s fun! Honestly, yes, [the audition process] can be a little scary but you have to believe in yourself.” Mrs. Okada said, “We take all dancers, all people, all students who have experience or no experience—it doesn’t really matter.”

Until announcements for auditions roll around, follow them on @erhsdanceco to stay updated on Dance Company’s upcoming performances!

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Great article, Rebekah! Thank you for doing this! <333

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