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Ridge High Dancers Perform Spring Showcase 2010

Students not only dance, they also design.

Ridge High dancers performed many of their own, creatively choreographed numbers at last night's Spring Dance Showcase 2010. Under the artistic direction of Rachel Falis, the program included 17 dance numbers of varying dance styles including ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, hip hop and modern. Many of the dancers participated in multiple numbers.

The theme for the showcase was "Dance for Haiti," and a portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the Haitian relief efforts. Two of the student choreographed dances were specifically reflective of this: "Handing Haiti Help," and "For Haiti,"  both done with modern dance technique.

The Ridge High Dance Program affords students the opportunity to take dance classes and also to participate in the Ridge Dance Team, the Ridge Dance Collective and the Master Class Program. Director Falis encourages dancers to experiment with choreography. More than half of last night's dance program was designed by the students. 

Engaging in the design as well as the execution of the dances gives students greater artistic expression. This could be seen in "Wounded Heart," where the dancers intuited the effects of war from a woman's point of view and in "Endless Strife," were they again depicted images of war.

Like any subject one studies, exposure to new and different styles and interpretations expands and challenges one's capabilities. Faris encourages this with her Master Class Program where she invites guest instructors to teach several classes at Ridge High.

Three dances resulting from this Spring's Master Class Program were also on the program and enthusiastically danced by large ensembles.  "Independent," a hip hop number was choreographed by Rob Rivera to songs by Ne-Yo and Paula Abdul. Students wore white button-down shirts, black pants and hats.

"Wipeout," a jazz number accompanied by the "surfing" music of The Sufaris, was choreographed by Susanne Trani McClure and had dancers in colorful neon tank tops criss-crossing the stage.

The final number of the evening, "Bye Bye Blackbird," was a Bob Fosse number, "adapted' by guest instructor Michael McClure. Reminiscent of a large broadway show stopper, dancers came on stage with subtle Fosse style hand movements and moved  the number to its crescendo.

In between dance numbers, various students emceed the program with information about each consecutive dance. Halfway through the program, a student created video/slideshow of dance rehearsals, set to "Just Dance," gave the audience a peek into the hard work behind the performance.

There were no big sets or flashy costumes. The dancers, simple clothing,  professionally done lighting and heartfelt choreography were all that were necessary for a successful Spring Dance Showcase.

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