Dance West

Dance+West

Katie Haxby

Dance West is a very well known and highly respected arts program at West Anchorage High School. It is run and taught by Lori Bradford, who works especially hard to teach teens who are interested in dance.  She teaches them technique, how to perform on stage or in front of large audiences, and how to step out of their comfort zone. On October 3rd, 2014, the Dance West advanced dance classes performed in the gymnasium for the homecoming assembly in front of the entire student body doing Halloween themed dances. The dances turned out really well and the crowd seemed pleased, but the performance was mostly to give a little teaser of what the Christmas show will be about.  Lori seemed very excited for the performance in the assembly to be over.  “I’m excited for it to be 2 PM on Friday when the dances have performed successfully and I won’t have to worry anymore.” There is a lot of hard work put into dance performances, as the dancers practice for countless hours and work very hard to make each dance look it’s finest.

Kylee Guidry, a dancer in the advanced hip-hop and contemporary class, practices as much as possible to look her best.   “I practice a lot, at least 5 days a week, in class, and then at home as much as I can.” The assembly performance went fantastically.  The students were screaming with excitement, and it is probably safe to assume that there will be quite an audience at the Christmas show, A Christmas Carol, in December. However, there’s much more to a performance than many people think: the endless hours of practicing, learning new technique, and for the most part portraying a certain character while dancing.

Dancers not only have to get up on stage and dance, but they have to act as well without actually speaking.  A dancer has to make the audience believe that they are portraying an 80-year-old man with a bad back, and a lot of that comes from costume and makeup as well. “I love getting into costume and makeup, because I love to pretend,” says Saquoia Arias, a dancer in the advanced hip-hop class. She is not only a dancer, but also an actress, and loves to bring her character to life when she’s performing, whether it is in an assembly or on stage during a full show. The Dance program seems a little overwhelming at times, but it truly is a learning experience and is a great place to start if you are considering dancing in the future. There have only been positive things said about the program, and many lives changed because of it. “The dance program is a good way for students to come together and dance, and find the passion within themselves for dance because dance is the perfect way to express yourself,” Arias said.