Dance Troupe performs in-person senior show

Grace Tseng, Graphics Editor

In the last couple seconds of the senior group dance, the Dance Troupe members hugged one another, then quickly turned away to strike their ending poses. As Dance Troupe captain, Jade Bucci (12), struck her final pose, Bucci said that she felt sentimental. Seeing her teammates facing in different directions, Bucci said, made her realize how important WVDT was in her high school career, and made her feel grateful and proud of what she was able to accomplish with her team.

Dance Troupe held its Spring Show on May 30 in the gym. The dancers complied with COVID-19 restrictions, and social distancing was maintained through separated seating. Additionally, the audience consisted strictly of the dancers’ families and invited friends.

Right: Katherine Tran (11) rehearses the dance ‘We Are Vulnerable’ in the Spring Show in the gym, May 29. Tran and the Dance Troupe competition team performed on Sunday. Photo by Alice Chen.

The Spring Show was the first in-person event WVDT was able to host in the past year, and was dedicated to the group’s graduating seniors. Bucci said that though she missed the jam-packed audience that was typically present at Dance Troupe’s past shows, she was still thankful for this final show.

“I’m just grateful we were able to have this opportunity to have a last hurrah, since I know that the [class of ‘21] didn’t have the chance to have a conclusion to their season,” Bucci said. “I’m glad that the seniors, and myself, were able to perform the solos we’ve been preparing and thinking about for such a long time.”

The show featured solo performances of each dancer graduating from the team, and their performances were accompanied by slideshows composed of all the dancers’ baby pictures and favorite songs. Bucci said that this is a long-time Dance Troupe tradition, and said that watching the slideshow made her feel nostalgic. 

“For [my slideshow], I chose a couple baby pictures, a couple of pictures of when I first began dancing, and pictures of myself with teammates showing my favorite moments on the team,” Bucci said. “The pictures hold memories that I cherish, and they are moments I want to reminisce about one last time before moving on to college.”

Elizabeth Quitt (12) also said that she has fond memories of watching the slideshows during previous Spring Shows.

“I have always enjoyed watching the senior slideshows even from when I was a freshman,” Quitt said. “It’s very bittersweet to see the pictures of the senior dancers throughout the years and it gives a nice look back on your dance career as a whole and your time in high school.”

As a senior in this most unique of years, Quitt said that a challenge she faced was staying optimistic and being a role model for other dancers on the team.

“I think this is something that nearly everyone has felt this year with these circumstances,” Quitt said. “Personally, my motivation for dance did fall a lot this year especially with our competitions being virtual. However, having this show and knowing we would have an audience that’s more than just our parents was definitely something that motivated me along with knowing this is the last time I will ever dance with this team. This made me want to push even harder these past two months preparing for the show.”

Captain Alexis Welder (12) said that coordinating practice times and finding spaces for the team to congregate was difficult, especially with some dancers choosing to stay virtual.

“Learning a dance is a very hands-on experience, and so being on Zoom makes it more difficult to make adjustments and corrections,” Weldner said. “I’m glad that we were able to practice in-person [for the Spring Show] because it was more effective and we had time to get to know each other better.”

Center: Jacqueline Tran (9) strikes a pose while rehearsing the dance ‘We Are Vulnerable’ in preparation for the Spring Show in the gym, May 29. Photo by Alice Chen.

Despite the difficulties Dance Troupe has faced in the past year regarding compromised practice time, the competition team was able to earn a national title in x-small contemporary and small jazz from the West coast Elite Dance Competition. Weldner said that she felt proud of the resilience displayed by her teammates. 

“It’s just so great to see that our hard work and all the time we spent truly paid off and that there was an end goal we were able to achieve,” Weldner said. “Overcoming our obstacles and knowing that we were able to do our best given our circumstances was really rewarding, and I think it was even more important than all the awards we won.”

Additionally, Bucci said the COVID-19 pandemic allowed her to realize how precious her time with the team was.

“Before the pandemic it was like ‘Ugh, I’m going to practice’ and time could easily be wasted because you think you have so much of it,” she said. “To have that completely just taken from you and to dance on a Zoom camera, trying to interact with your team over video really put into perspective how important our time together was.”

Quitt said that the event she missed most this past year was attending dance camp with her teammates and being able to interact with them outside of dancing.

“We missed out on a lot of opportunities to do team bonding events outside of dance due to COVID restrictions,” she said. “One example of this is the annual summer camp we usually go to for four days. We stay in college dorms together and dance up to 13 hours each day. Although it was extremely tiring, we always came out of it so much closer and with a ton of inside jokes. I definitely miss going to camp and bonding with my team.”

Weldner said that the dynamic of the team is what she will miss most from her years on Dance Troupe. 

“I feel content and happy that I was able to spend all four of my [high school] years with WVDT, because it really is a family and it’s a place where I feel like I belong,” Weldner said. “I’m going to miss getting ready for shows, getting ready for competitions, and really just bonding with the team between practices.”

Bucci said that she appreciates the team’s underclassmen for helping her keep a positive attitude through the turbulent year both personally, and for the entire team.

“Being a senior, you’re trying to look so far ahead with college and such, yet you still have so much happening in the present that you still want to put forth your 100%,” Bucci said. “It’s really encouraging for me as a senior to see how motivated and determined the underclassmen and juniors are. It feels good to know that, although my time [with WVDT] is up, the team will be in amazing hands.”

Though she said she feels as though her time with the team has been cut short, Quitt said that she looks forward to what the new and returning dancers will accomplish.

“Dance team really shaped my high school experience and it wouldn’t have been the same without it,” Quitt said. “I’m extremely grateful for all the memories we made together and am so excited to see where life takes the rest of my team and what WVDT accomplishes.”