Berkeley High School’s Dance Production class has been working all semester on their final performance, which took place on April 28 and 29. The theme of the show was “Looking Back to Moving Forward”, and it included 10 pieces that ranged from hip-hop to interpretive dance. The show was almost entirely student run, with the colorful lighting and tech all done by the BHS Advanced Stage Production class.
One memorable piece from the show was performed to “Toxic” by Britney Spears. The high energy piece was choreographed by junior Tomas Rocha. “It’s really this kind of Britney Spears type dance. I wanted to honor what she built and I took a lot of inspiration from her, but I also have my own choreography in there as well,” she said. At the beginning of the year, Rocha was apprehensive about joining the class, but ended up making a lot of connections. “Through choreography and vulnerable moments we’ve all had with each other, I feel like we’ve grown as a class and friends,” Rocha said.
Confidence is a main component of dancing for Rocha. “I feel like dancing on stage and learning all this choreography is giving me this boost. It’s like, I can do this. I’ve done something really amazing that not a lot of people can do,” she said.
Another performer, Daisy Paris-Kaufman choreographed the dance “The Factory ‘’ set to the song “Faceshopping” by hyper-pop singer SOPHIE. They thought the song fit with her dance’s themes of absurdity and art inspiration. “There’s a theme for this show … which is inspiration from iconic figures in the past or anyone who’s shaped our culture,” they explained. “ … I chose Andy Warhol. His themes are that of superficial disguise and exaggeration.”
Senior Auden Svoboda choreographed the piece, “Backstreet Boys Medley”, which was set to a combination of three popular songs from the titular band. The choreography process pushed Svoboda out of his comfort zone. “I just decided to do something completely new for me, and the dance did turn out super high energy and campy,” he explained. The class and show also helped Svoboda see himself as more of a performer than before. “I do musical theater, but I always kind of thought of myself as like a bad dancer. I didn’t feel graceful or coordinated on stage,” Svoboda said. “Doing these classes has definitely changed that for me because it kind of made me realize that there’s not a big secret to dancing.”
Some performances in the show also included singing on stage, accompanied by dancers. Junior Dylan David Olivares sang the Beatles song “Eleanor Rigsby” in one piece. He feels like dancing is a very universal art form. “I feel like it’s to some extent human nature. I mean, most communities enjoy some form of dance.” He said. Olivares encouraged students to try out for Dance Production, saying, “Anyone who is even maybe a little bit curious should absolutely audition. You have a lot of freedom in dance production, it’s almost run completely by the students.”