Backstage pass to RDE Winter Concert

Nick Kirkines

Christine Vassos, Staff Reporter

The RBHS Repertory Dance Ensemble presented their Winter Dance Concert “Illuminate” on Thursday, December 13th at 7:00P.M. in RB’s Main Auditorium.  The show takes a lot of work and time to put together because we do not just open the curtain, turn on the lights, and start dancing.

You might be questioning who and what Repertory Dance Ensemble is.  RDE is an honors-level co-curricular dance class that includes Sophomore, Junior, and Senior dancers chosen by tryouts.  RDE practices outside of school, primarily on Wednesdays, leading up to the show.  This year, we began practicing our dances in October in order to make for a great show in December.

You might wonder who comes up with all those dances.  Well, the fascinating thing about our dance concert is all of our dances are actually choreographed by the students.  All the senior dancers had to propose a dance and a theme with their piece to the class and then the dancers chose which ones would go in the show.  Seniors pieces chosen for the Winter Dance Concert include Carli Evans’, Karen Fucinato’s, Taylor Owen’s, Celia Skvaril’s, Alaina Sliz’s, Caroline Stanko’s, and my own.

In order to be selected, a choreographer had to choose music, set and choreograph the movements for their dancers, figure out costumes, and set the lighting for their piece.  Although the choreographers have a hard and important role in the show, the dancers are the ones that make a dance possible on stage, and we work hard together to bring the dance alive for the audience.

How do dancers balance everything out?  Well, the Winter Dance Concert can get very stressful on us dancers and our director, [Fine Arts teacher Mindy] Haines.  All the dancers are in three to five dances and we need to know our material, where we go on stage for the dances, how we get on and off the stage.  We need all our costumes organized and ready, our hair and make-up done to perfection, and most importantly our smiles on our faces when dancing.  The week before the show is called Lighting and Tech Week, and that is when we figure out the show order, get lighting set on all the dances with the help of the tech crew, make sure all of our music is ready to go, clean the dances, and make sure when that curtain opens on show night that we are all well rehearsed and look like dancers ready to perform, which we all love to do.

To get more of the inside look of the making of the RDE Winter Dance Concert, here is Senior dancer Cassie Nakis to share more of the inside scoop:

How much time and effort is put into the making of the RDE Winter dance concert?

“A good two months with the learning of the choreography, cleaning, figuring out the show order, lighting, and costuming.”

Why do you love to dance and perform?

“I have been dancing for fifteen years, and love the adrenaline and satisfaction of performing on stage.”

How stressful can it get during Tech and Lighting Week?

“Very stressful.  Everyone is worried to have the best show we can, which leads us to get a little snappy at each other.”

Why should people come to our dance concert?

“We are people you go to school with, and we put a lot of time and energy into putting on a good show and I think people will enjoy it.”

What do you and other dancers do when not on stage?

“We are involved in other sports and activities, and a lot of us dance for fun and hang out with each other on our down time.”

Disclosure:  As indicated in the article, reporter Christine Vassos is also a dancer in the RDE.