Recruitment brings college dance opportunities to Arlington Heights High School

From Brooklyn, New York to Austin, Arlington Heights High School graduates can be found dancing their way through colleges all over the country.

Heights had about 14 colleges and universities on campus Nov. 13-14 recruiting senior dancers.

The director of the Arlington Heights High School Dance Department, Rachel Wade, created the senior recruitment event last year to provide her dancers with more opportunities to pursue dance in college.

“We do have a lot of students who want to dance in college, but can’t afford to travel to schools for auditions,” Wade said. “So, I thought why not have them come to us and have those opportunities for our students here?”

Senior dancer Jeanine Quast said this event is going to change dancer’s futures.

“I think it’s an incredible opportunity because there’s a lot of students who dance in high school and can’t make it to colleges, or don’t know that they want to dance in college,” Quast said. “So, it’s a really great opportunity that the colleges come to us.”

On Nov. 13, Heights held master dance classes taught by professionals from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., followed by a student performed showcase. The following day was for auditions and a college fair.

Senior dancer Marisol Barrios said she took master dance classes and introduced herself to all the instructors.

“I wanted to be recognized by colleges and hopefully be accepted into dance programs or summer programs,” Barrios said. “I want to pursue dance sciences in college.”

Senior Tatum Friedson said she took master dance classes all day and performed in three group dances and one solo at the showcase.

“I’m hoping to get accepted into the University of Texas dance program,” Friedson said. “If I don’t major in dance, I might minor in it.”

A total of 10 seniors auditioned on Tuesday for spots in a college or university dance department.

Senior Maria Spinelli said she practiced daily to prepare for the auditions, which were focused on ballet, modern and jazz.

“We worked on ballet technique and that’s helped me prepare a lot,” Spinelli said. “Every day after school, and during school, I’ve been dancing and working on technique.”

Assistant Director of Arlington Heights High School Dance Department Emma Beavers said seeing her dancers pursue these opportunities at colleges is the best thing she could ask for.

“We have several dancers who really wouldn’t be going to college or going to a university if it wasn’t for these two days,” Beavers said. “It’s really incredible to see the opportunities that these students get, and when our students go and pursue those opportunities it’s the most amazing thing.”

The dance department hopes to continue hosting a senior recruitment in the following years.

More information about the Arlington Heights High School Dance Department is available at the program’s website.