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With a new name and a new outlook, the ETHS Dance Company, formerly known as ESANDE, is back and stronger than ever.

The first event of the season, held Saturday, Jan 9, held at the University of Illinois, Chicago, will be the Universal Dance Association Competition. The second, held at Barrington High School, will be the Giordano Dance Project, on Jan 30.

On January 23, company members will lead a Wildkit Winter Dance Workshop for kids in pre-k up to incoming freshmen as part of an effort to further integrate its performances into the school and community. At the workshop, participants will be taught different styles of dance according to grade level, including hip hop, musical theater, contemporary ballet, and repertory, the latter of which will prepare incoming freshmen for next fall’s auditions. According to program director Jennifer Foss,“(The workshop) offers younger students a chance to perform and develop creativity.” She adds, “Our company members are instructing it, which gives them the opportunity to reach out to future ETHS wildkits and learn leadership and responsibility.”

In contrast with last year’s program, the Company now has a year round schedule and has extended the program to include both a competitive and a non-competitive company. Both companies “The team is exciting for me because I’m doing a different type of dance,” says Essence Elise, a senior and member of the competitive company. “I was on Pomkits for 3 seasons, and that’s straight hip hop. But now i’m doing different styles like contemporary and jazz, and I love being able to broaden my technique.”

According to program director Jennifer Foss, both the competitive and non competitive companies help teach creativity, focus, communication, and responsibility. She says, “Most importantly, both help our students come in and learn confidence, problem solving, and how to step out of their comfort zone.”

Looking forward, Foss hopes to have dances performed at basketball games and Pep Assemblies and to integrate dance further into the athletic department. “We are growing the dance opportunities within the PE department by offering Dance Performance and Choreography and Semantics, in addition to the Global Dance course,” says Foss. “We also started a national honors society so that seniors can graduate with honors in dance, opening them up to scholarships and opportunities all over the nation.” With all the new changes, it is evident that the ETHS Dance Company will grow to become an even more vibrant part of the ETHS sports and fine arts community.