Dance Troupe hosts clinic for youth dancers

Jayden Xia, Staff Writer

From left to right: Katrina Faijo (10), Audrey Steele (10), Joy Xu (12), and Katherine Tran (12) oversee the dance clinic students’ performance of a routine featuring Christmas-themed music, Dec. 2. The dance will performed during the upcoming Winter Show. Photo by Jayden Xia.

Dance Troupe hosted a dance clinic for first-through eighth-graders, Nov. 14. The eight-hour workshop featured student-taught and choreographed dance sessions and bonding games.Joy Xu (12), who led a 45-minute ballet session, opted to utilize a flexible lesson plan.“I knew that my ballet class would have varying levels of dancers, so I picked out my song, and decided to sort of wing it when the time came,” Xu said. “That turned out to be a good idea, because a lot of younger kids joined my group, forcing me to opt for a more educational, slower-paced class to teach basics.”
Siddiqui and Sophia Hellenkamp (9), who had spent the past two weeks choreographing a short routine accompanied with Benson Boone’s “Ghost Town,” noted the creativity involved in the choreography process.
“First, you have to pick a song, and then you have to listen to the song for musicality to hear the beats and the words,” Siddiqui said. “And then, you choreograph moves to those words.”
Since “Ghost Town” revolves around emotional themes of heartbreak, the two decided on thrashy, dramatic moves.
While the clinic was put on for the younger dancers, Xu said that she had also benefited from the experience.
“I think for any teacher or choreographer, it’s extremely gratifying and fulfilling to see a group of kids learn and perform your choreography,” Xu said. “Every kid has their personal style, and it’s honestly really lovely to see them bring their own flair to what I give them initially.”
While the clinic functions as one of Dance Troupe’s largest fundraising opportunities of the year—with members advertising through social media directly to elementary and middle schools—it’s also a way for young, prospective dancers to get an idea of what the Troupe is all about.
“We’re trying to show them that Westview Dance Troupe is a really fun place to be,” Sara Duan (12) said. “There are a lot of people, and a lot of them are possibly going to be auditioning. So we really want to get to know them a bit before they audition [and] make them comfortable.”
Aside from other student-choreographed routines, the dance coaches put together a routine for the clinic attendees to perform with Dance Troupe members at the Troupe’s annual winter show Dec. 2.
“We practiced it at the beginning of today.” Duan said. “Then, we re-learn or review it and then learn the last part of it at the end of the day. Then, it’s up to them to practice. They’re kids so they don’t necessarily know all of it or can’t do it perfectly.”
To Xu, the clinic wrapped up as a success.
“The kids really did want to be there dancing with us and were willing to put their best foot forward,” Xu said. “[It] was pretty gratifying especially because I was able to teach a couple classes and see their efforts shine through.”