Thursday, January 24, 2002
Steamboat Springs For many students in this year's Steamboat Springs High School Dance Showcase, it will be the last time they dance, choreograph and team up as friends.
Five of the six directors of the showcase are cherishing their last rehearsals together before college, traveling or work drives them in separate directions in life.
Fortunately for junior Abby Fritz, she will carry the load as director of next year's high school dance showcase leading a group of more than 50 students to coordinate a program of various dances for the community to enjoy.
And choosing directors for next year will weigh on Fritz's ability to decipher the most committed, responsible, interested and talented people to do the job.
Dances in the program include African, salsa, country, ballroom, ballet, Pointe and jazz.
But as for now, the students continue to perfect their pieces while making memories to last a lifetime.
"Most of us have been dancing together all our lives," said director Arlie Chapman, a senior. "We're getting all emotional this week. This is our last show together."
People might think six teen-agers gathering for months to come up with a show of dance routines without an adult supervisor would become more of a slumber party than a coordinated and collaborative effort.
But these girls are committed to one thing dancing.
"We've worked so well together," said director Jenni Stanford, also a senior. "We have a good group of people."
Directors of the dance showcase wanted to clarify that they are not the high school dance team, which has a coach and enters competitions.
The dance showcase is an entirely student-run event with students taking part as choreographers, directors, dancers and the technical crew.
"We're a group of kids that are leading ourselves," senior and director Marisa Dierkes said. "We're professional."
When a stage light will not function or dancers are not feeling confident about a piece, it is the student directors that fix the problems. Responsibility is one lesson these students will take with them on future endeavors.
"Getting along with people and making sure everyone's doing all right," Stanford said of lessons learned.
"Being in charge of like $10,000," Chapman said. "We all lose sleep over it."
"The responsibility and being open-minded to other people's ideas. You have to consider everyone and there's so many people you have to listen to," Fritz said.
The high school dance showcase started six years ago when former student Erin Scheiwe introduced the event as a student leadership project, Stanford said. Her intentions were to start the student-run organization for it to be continued by future students, Stanford said.
And as the years pass and the number of students continues to grow, Stanford said the numbers of dance showcase members also grows.
"For the four years I've done it, it's doubled," Stanford said.
Because the showcase is not school funded, dancers had to organize fund-raisers throughout the year to cut the costs of costumes. A recent bake sale earned the students $1,300.
"Some students can't be in a lot of pieces because they can't afford all the costumes," Stanford said.
Dancers said the differences between this year's showcase compared to last year are the number and variety of costumes, lighting perspectives and focus on fund-raising.
Directors' meetings began in spring 2001, continued over the summer and into the fall semester before auditions began in October.
Directors tried to pick the most promising and well-choreographed pieces to fit in this year's showcase, although they had to cut about eight pieces.
Fritz said half of the 50 people probably have danced for a particular dance company previously but the other half just wanted to try something new or take hold of an interest that has been buried.
"We're all here like 30 hours a week and it follows us home," Chapman said.