On Dec. 8 and 9, the intermediate and JV dance teams as well as the B-Boys, Universal Movement, and MTDF performed alongside the award-winning Tour De Force dance team in their annual winter concert performance, which this year was themed after the Disney blockbuster “Frozen.” Dancers of all grade levels performed sold-out shows to showcase their efforts in this term’s dance classes.
For some dancers, this show marked the end of a four-year tenure with the RB High Dance Department, run by RB High Alumna Michelle Jacoby. Senior Tour De Force captains Hailey Price and Rachel Claas have performed as members of Tour De Force since their freshman years, and they got to perform solos as well as group dances.
“The concert was super emotional; we realized it was our last time dancing on stage in a winter concert with the whole team,” senior TDF captain Rachel Claas said. “It’s super sad, but also nice to perform alongside our team for the last time in winter.”
Other Tour De Force seniors, including Tiffany Elamparo, Raven McCoy, Astha Rajyaguru, Maddy Jacobs, Delaney Holmes Alicyn Williams, and Savanna Stein worked their way up from the JV and even intermediate teams.
For other dancers, however, this winter concert marked a debut in Tour De Force. Freshman Jenna Waller performed a stunning solo choreographed by Nick Meola. Whereas in previous years there has been separation on the team between grade levels, Price and Claas see strong bonds forming between freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors on the team.
“Usually we don’t bond with the freshmen quickly, but the bonds we share with the incoming freshmen are already so strong, and it’s sad that we only get to share the team for one year,” said Price. “It’s a weird feeling to know that this is our last concert, but it’s just their first.”
Preparation for the concert starts as early as July, when the Tour De Force team travels to the annual summer camp to learn new dances which can later be performed on stage. Other dances are put together throughout the term by the Tour De Force dancers and cleaned up with any extra time in class. Claas and Price have found that because of the 4×4, they were able to spend more time working on dances when the team finished dances for football games, allowing more time for cleaning up formations and technique before the shows.
The other teams also undergo rigorous preparation for the concerts. Jim Kang, junior and B-Boy team captain, said that before any dance preparation begins, the team has to first pick music and mix songs together to create a melody which is later given choreography. Kang and junior Aritra Bhattacharjee then give the team choreography, working hard to implement formations and stunts which will entertain audiences.
The JV dance team, despite not going to the USA camps which Tour De Force attends, also put together a large repertoire of dances to present to the audience. Senior JV captain Paywand Baghal closed out his last winter concert by choreographing a moving piece about domestic violence titled “break the silence,” which gave a more serious meaning to the entertainment which the dance concert provides.
Overall, this year’s winter dance concert raised the bar for the arts at our school. From entertaining and fun jazz and hip-hop routines to moving contemporary pieces, the concert showed a wide range of talent in the RB High Dance Department which could convince any student to want to join a dance team in the future.