The Oracle

Dancing into December

Senior+Naomi+Hill+dances+during+The+Nutcracker+holiday+winter+showcase.+She+performs+this+ballet+every+year+with+her+dance+company.+
Senior Naomi Hill dances during The Nutcracker holiday winter showcase. She performs this ballet every year with her dance company.

Senior Naomi Hill dances during The Nutcracker holiday winter showcase. She performs this ballet every year with her dance company.

Senior Naomi Hill dances during The Nutcracker holiday winter showcase. She performs this ballet every year with her dance company.

Christina Manibusan, Oracle Editor

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Imaginative storytelling, elaborate sets, sparkling costumes, and breathtaking choreography all characterize the world of dance.
The beginning of December signals the start of holiday-themed dance productions, such as The Nutcracker, a popular ballet. Many WS dancers participate in these winter showcases.
“During the holiday season, I take not only regular classes, which include ballet, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary, but also, on weekends, I prepare for both The Nutcracker and Santa’s Frosty Follies,” said junior Erin Folger.
The Nutcracker is not the only show that dancers can participate in during December. Other dance styles besides ballet are also showcased in presentations that celebrate the spirit of the holidays.
“For Irish dancing, it’s both solos and group dancing to mainly Irish music, but around the holidays, my dance academy incorporates Christmas music to match the dances for performances,” said sophomore Val Hodge.
Preparation for these festive performances begins months in advance. Dancers involved in the productions invest an enormous amount of time into practicing after school and on the weekends.
“Auditions for the shows are typically held in September,” said senior Naomi Hill, who has performed in The Nutcracker every year since 2009. “Depending on the show and dance, regular rehearsals can last anywhere from one to four hours.”
Demanding practice schedules often pose a challenge for dancers, who must manage their time between school work and rehearsals.
“Sadly, there are only 24 hours in a day, and there is usually not enough time to fit everything in, especially in the busy Christmas season,” said Folger. “However, every hour is worth it, especially when you can look out into the audience and see the joy of the holiday season being spread.”
Compared to competitions and other productions presented throughout the year, holiday performances are unique because the dances are usually more lighthearted. Many dancers revel in the high-spirited atmosphere that the performances produce.
“I feel holiday productions are more exciting than others because they build upon the preexisting excitement of the holiday season,” said Hill. “You are already looking forward to the holidays and winter break, and the performances only enhance that.”
Because the winter productions occur annually, there are many opportunities for dancers to bond with the people that they rehearse with.
“I really love the girls I dance with,” said Hodge.
“They’re always very supportive and help make the dances the best they could possibly be.”
Besides facilitating the formation of friendships, dance productions also impart special memories on the dancers; although most holiday productions are repeated every year, the experience of performing in them changes each time.
“One of my favorite memories was this year, at my last Nutcracker performance, when I got to take my final bow with my fellow seniors,” said Hill. “It was a bittersweet moment.”

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West Springfield High School Newspaper
Dancing into December