Students participate in variety of performing arts on campus

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Dance Ensemble members rehearse for Revival: A Shift in Perspective.
Photos published with permission from Alexa Wade.

Despite everything that has happened over the last year, students found ways to express their creative side through a variety of classes offered at Irvine High.
Revival: A Shift in Perspective was a winter virtual dance concert held on Thursday December 10th and 11th.
Dance director Sheryl Sloate and students overcame setbacks during rehearsals as they weren’t able to dance together until the day the concert was filmed.
“Filming the show outside, in a new location that the students had never worked with and not really getting time to practice was a unique experience where no one really knew what was coming,” Sloate said. “Normally, when we are on stage, they have time to practice, figure it out then dance. But in this case, filming each dance took us two hours, [and overall] it was a much longer process.”
This past summer, while looking through other schools’ work of virtual dance with the captains of Dance Ensemble, Sloate realized that they could employ the dance in different perspectives and directions, which inspired the name of the show – Revival: A Shift in Perspective.
“My favorite part about dance is choreography and everything about it; creating it, teaching it, and learning it,” senior and dance ensemble captain Elle Ton said. “Everyone’s got their creative side and I love seeing it come out through their choreography. I like the concept of making a simple idea come to life with just music and a few dancers.”
The concert featured 19 dances which were choreographed by 2020-2021 Dance Ensemble members, juniors Alexis Johnson and Avery King, seniors Pamela Astudillo, Natalie Mao, Yun-Tzu Niu, Elle Ton and Alexa Wade, with the help of Pacific Dance dancer Lissa Johnson, Santa Ana Unified School District Learns guest choreographer Nataly Rivera, IHS student teacher and Pacific Dance dancer Hank Schmidt and Sloate. IHS Dance Ensemble performed five dances, while Dance II, Dance III and Dance IV each performed two dances.

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Students rehearse for the spring musical Little Women.
Photos published with permission from Julie Yoon

Another opportunity for IHS performing arts is the musical Little Women which is planned to be performed from Friday April 23-April 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the amphitheater.
The story centers around the March Family, four sisters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy and their mother Marmee. The story is about the life that Jo leads in wanting to be a writer along with ups and downs in her family and love life, while coming full circle when at the end of the show the audience finds out that Jo has written the story of Little Women that was being acted out the whole musical.
“The storytelling and music is beautiful, while every single person in the cast has been working extremely hard on this show to complement the script,” senior Lexi Barber said. “Little Women is super entertaining and it’s definitely going to be worth the price of buying a ticket. Musicals deserve more appreciation and support, and this is the perfect time for people to show that.”
The musical is starring two casts, with Barber and junior Cece Labowe as Jo, freshman Genevieve Velarde and Isabelle Le as Amy, senior Shaye Barber and Niu as Beth, and Sarah Adams and junior Bethany Womack as Meg.
“This experience has truly taught me that anything is possible,” senior Delilah Valerie said. “Even though the show would have been so much easier to do without the restrictions that COVID-19 has brought, we were still able to accomplish something amazing.”
The audition process was unlike the traditional way, in order to comply with the COVID-19 safety regulations. Usually, the students would have a day to audition in person, but this year, they sent in recorded videos of their auditions, and got to do callbacks in person. Additionally, the cast was separated into two pods in order to social distance.
“The musical productions I’ve participated in have helped expand my theater knowledge. Whether it is terms we use in staging a scene or the traditions of the drama department at IHS, I get to enhance my understanding of theatrical works,” Niu said. “Furthermore, we get to first-hand experience the message the playwright wishes to deliver. Alongside my fellow cast members, we get to have fun while exploring the storyline and characteristics of our roles.”