EDC’s ‘Vibrance’ brings energy from multiple cultures

Mae Luning, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Always a fan favorite, the ETHS Dance Company (EDC) performed their annual production in three shows on the last weekend in February in the main auditorium for a  lively audience of students and family.  Appropriately named, Vibrance is a combination of student-choreographed pieces and dances by guest artists in the Chicago area. The company has been preparing since October. Their yearly performance never fails to leave the audience in awe and the dancers with a meaningful experience that will impact them well beyond their high school years.

“[EDC] is a company of [student] dancers,” explains assistant director and ETHS English teacher, Ms. Williams. “We do a variety of different styles including contemporary, ballet, jazz, hip-hop and global dance pieces. It runs all year long, but we have one big annual show that we do each February.” 

This year, the show featured dancers from every grade level with ten student choreographers and six guest artists with styles ranging all the way from hip-hop to Bollywood. 

“It’s just awesome getting the opportunity to work with people from all different experiences than us,” says EDC senior, dancer and choreographer Moxie Dully on working with some of this year’s guest artists. “We had [guest artists] Alka Nayyar and Anjali Julka come in and set a Bollywood dance on us. They taught us so much about the history of Bollywood and the story behind what we were dancing. They were just really cool.” 

“Having the experience of working with someone brand new that dances differently than us is very beneficial for the dancers,” agrees Williams. 

The Bollywood dance—choreographed by guest artists Nayyar and Julka—was a favorite among both the dancers and the audience this year. Getting to dance and see something that is different from the traditional lineup of dances is one way this year’s show stood out as special to Dully and the other dancers.

“I don’t know when else I would ever be able to learn a Bollywood dance like that from someone who knows so much about it in a high school setting,” says Dully. “So, I think it’s really awesome.” 

The other special thing about the EDC show is the student-choreographed dances. This year, 12 of the 17 pieces were choreographed by ETHS student dancers.

“My dance this year was called The End is Here,” says Dully about the dance she choreographed this year. “It was to the song ‘I Know the End’ by Phoebe Bridgers.” 

This was not the first dance that Dully choreographed in her time at EDC and seeing and performing in her own dance has always been very meaningful to her. 

“It’s very different from dancing,” she explains. “You have to very much take charge because it’s your peers that you’re setting a dance on.”

Her peers are a big part of what makes EDC so special to Dully and the other dancers. “We really get to know each other a lot because we just spend so much time together,” she says. “And I’m so grateful for that.” 

“By the end of the year, it feels like a family,” says Williams. “It feels like a safe space where we all share this one thing we love—dance, and we all really do care about each other.” 

The EDC community is a special one. Dancers are able to do what they love, be with their friends, and put on a great show all while learning valuable skills that will carry them through high school and beyond.

“As a senior, I can say with my whole heart that I would not be the same person I am today if it wasn’t for EDC,” says Dully. “I genuinely think it’s the best thing I could have done for myself. I’ve learned how to be a team player. I’ve learned how to be a leader. I’ve learned how to connect with others through dance. It has genuinely really gotten me through my high school career in the best way possible.”

“I hope they grow their appreciation for dance,” says Williams about what she hopes the dancers gain from EDC. “I hope they gain more confidence with themselves both in dance and outside of that, and I hope they make lifelong friends.”