Every Tuesday and Thursday after school, dance students at Arlington Heights High School can be found practicing their combinations and perfecting turns in the dance hall.
These dancers are a part of the school’s Repertory Dance Company, a dance group aimed at students seeking a career in dance that performs at various festivals and concerts throughout the year.
Arlington Height’s Repertory Company joined other FWISD schools in trying to bring more awareness to their student dance programs. They did this by hosting a Dance Showcase at Arlington Heights High School Feb 27.
The Dance Showcase hosted nine FWISD middle and high schools, and the Dallas Black Dance Theatre group: Encore!
Each school performed one or two dances of their choice in front of an audience of over 100 community members.
“It was pretty interesting to see all the different styles of dancing from all around Fort Worth ISD which normally we don’t always get to see,” said Lily Hendricks, senior Repertory Company member. “And they performed really well and all had really good energy.”
Gary Clark, senior Repertory Company member, said the showcase allowed student dancers to show their talents.
“Many people don’t realize how good all our dance teams really are,” said Clark. “I guess it’s a great way to get exposure and to get everyone to come and see what dances are really all about.”
Rachel Wade, Arlington Height High School Dance Director, said the Dance Show was created when FWISD teachers got together and decided they wanted to make the community more aware of the opportunities kids have to dance in high school and the positive effects dance has on their self-confidence.
“I think we have some really talented kids and they work really hard,” Wade said. “I want the people in the community to know what’s going on here at Heights, and the other high schools too, that there are thriving dance programs in Fort Worth ISD.”
Jeanine Quast, junior Repertory Company member, said she enjoyed watching other local schools dance.
“It’s really nice to have the opportunity [with this showcase] to get to know some of the other dancing companies and classes that are around in the area,” said Quast.
Arlington Height’s Repertory Company performed a jazz piece “The Music Made Me Do It,” and a ballet piece to “Ave Maria” by Celine Dion.
“I hope they got some sort of amusement from the first dance which was kind of a funny dance,” said Hendricks. “And the second dance Ave Maria… it’s a very beautiful dance and very touching.”
Wade said she believes dance education is important for high school students.
“I think that it [dance] gives kids an opportunity to be creative and be physical, especially those kids that don’t want to do sports,” said Wade. “It gives them an outlet and a way to express themselves.”
The Repertory Company’s next performance will be at the Regional High School Dance Festival at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on March 23 through the 26. The dancers will participate in performances, master classes and college recruitment.
To learn more about the Arlington Height’s Dance Department, visit their website.