EDC showcases Illuminate

Kelsey Blickenstaff and Sophie Yang

The ETHS Dance Company (EDC) showcases Illuminate, a performance featuring a range of choreographed dances by students and guest artists. Since beginning rehearsals in October, dancers are looking forward to showing their range of dance genres, such as tap, jazz, contemporary and ballet in their thoughtful performance.

“I’m so excited for the show because it’s so fun to perform with the company as we have such a good bond and are so close to each other,” sophomore EDC dancer Ferran Amaral says.

Every year guest choreographers feature pieces within the show. Guest artists work with students and choreograph dances to be performed by the EDC. All guest artists are based in the Chicago area. This year they include Julie Nichols specializing in musical theatre, Wes Owens with hip hop, Laura Gates teaching ballet, Erin Bates with contemporary and Ronaldo Monge with flamenco, a style EDC has never covered before. By including these professionals, students are provided with an opportunity to learn a variety of styles. Junior and EDC Outreach Co-Chair Maya Moskal talks about the value guest choreographers bring. 

“They bring different styles to the company, and it’s a really good way for dancers and choreographers to learn other styles and ways to teach dance,” Moskal explains.

Along with guest artists, this year’s EDC show features a few special performances with guest dancers. Seniors Megan Bezaitis and Stephanie Black choreographed a teacher dance, which participating staff will perform exclusively Saturday, Feb. 29. Another featured performance is a partner dance with EDC dancers and 11 members of the ETHS varsity boys baseball team. EDC Assistant Director Anastassia Williams talks about the decision to include dances with the teachers and baseball team.

“We wanted to create a show that lots of people would want to see, and by including the special dances it adds a really fun element., Williams says.

Juggling homework and weekly rehearsals is part of the three-week preparation that goes into tech week. In the final week before the premiere of the show, rehearsals take place every day from 4-8 p.m. Illuminate is the highlight of the year for the dancers, so they want to make sure everything runs smoothly. 

“I definitely have to plan ahead,” freshman Sloane Rosenthal says, adding “But it’s just like any other sport; I know how to schedule it.” 

The EDC team consists of 31 dancers, including 16 seniors. Many of these seniors have danced at ETHS since freshman year, and Illuminate will be their last big performance with EDC. 

“It’s been really exciting to see them [the seniors] grow from where they started freshman year to now, and they’re coming up with dances that have deep themes,” Williams says.

Months of hard work have been put into the show by dancers, choreographers, guests, and staff. Premiering tonight, Feb. 28th, Illuminate will be performed in the auditorium at 7:00 p.m. Additional performances will take place on Feb.  29th at 7:00 p.m. and March 1st at 2:00 p.m.