By Grace Givan, copy editor
Orchesis attended the Illinois High School State Dance Festival at Evanston Township High School on May 5 to perform “For Lola” (Choreographed by sophomore Michelle Kies) in a showcase. According to Orchesis Director Kristin Burton, the dancers that performed “For Lola” had been preparing from October until February, when they auditioned. Around 30 schools auditioned, according to Burton, but only 13 got in.
“It’s always very nice to get recognized, and I feel like the dancers this year were very well-prepared. It’s just an honor to get into the state festival,” Burton said.
In addition to the performance, all dancers were able to take four dance classes, many of which taught untraditional styles of dance.
Junior Elle Weber, for example, took a class in Free Bar, where she had to pull body weight onto wooden poles and worked on holding balance. Weber has also taken classes for Bollywood and musical theater dance in the past.
“[Learning new styles] is definitely fun and different because most of us are only trained in ballet and jazz technique, and in orchesis we only do lyrical and jazz routines. So going to state exposes us to different dances we have never learned before,” Weber said.
Weber recognizes the variety of dance not only worldwide but also in Chicago. She finds that expanding her horizons helps her grow as a choreographer, and she often finds herself incorporating new techniques into her routines.
“It’s nice for them to kind of branch out of their comfort zone and be able to take a wide variety of classes,” Burton said. “It’s super important to be a well-rounded dancer. Everything stems from ballet and ballet technique, but I think it really just makes you grow as a dancer and performer if you have been exposed to many different styles of dance.