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The City Journals

Bingham Dance Company, Ballroom Team emphasize teamwork, performance

Jun 18, 2018 02:13PM ● By Julie Slama

Bingham High Ballroom Team is in its second year after student requests had the school make the course available. (Tonia Jacobs/Edge of Expression)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

As this year’s seniors were turning in their final paperwork, Bingham High School’s Dance Company and Ballroom Team were transitioning to next year’s squads.

It is Bingham’s second year with its Ballroom Team.

“We had so many students who were requesting it, and more Elk Ridge students came in and were passionate about it, so we added it,” teacher and director Gina Terrell said.

Ballroom, like Dance Company, works on technique, expression and choreography. Both groups usually invite three to five guest artists each year to help choreograph dances as well as have students choreograph their own pieces, she said. 

“It is basically a year-round program with auditions in May, and then, with Dance Company, we jump into summer camp in June,” Terrell said. “Then, in the end of July and early August, we work on technique for three weeks, and our officers choreograph a routine we use for the opening show and our closing piece at the end of the year.” 

This past year, the Ballroom Team’s theme was “Lift,” and the Dance Company’s theme centered around the Greek word Meraki, which translates into doing something with creativity, soul or love and putting something of oneself in his or her work. 

The team’s last concerts bore the names of their themes. 

In Dance Company, senior Jessica Nash, with her teammate junior Ariana Marshall, choreographed “Cherish this World,” to “What the World Needs Now is Love.” 

“We showed images of the bad in the world — 9/11, kidnapping, suicide, gun killings — and then, at the end, how we can be a part of the uplifting through helping and service, to bring good to the world,” Nash said. “Ariana’s mom, who knew someone who was in the crowd at the (Las) Vegas shooting, did the voice over, so it was quite moving.” 

Junior McKenna Spens choreographed a piece titled, “Unspoken Words,” and set it to the music, “The Sound of Silence.” 

“It started with mouthing the words on stage, then the music started,” McKenna said. “Silence and people’s actions can say so much more than words.” 

McKenna is returning to the team as an officer. 

“I’ve always wanted to join Dance Company; it’s been a dream of mine,” said the dancer who began with ballet at age 3. “When I came to a concert in ninth grade, I loved it and wanted to join even more.” 

Through the years, she, like many of her teammates, has learned tap, jazz, hip hop and contemporary dance and has learned to organize her time. 

“When there’s a break in dance, I’m doing homework,” she said. “I’ve learned not to procrastinate and to get things done, so in the end, I have time to review and relax with friends.” 

The team is close, as the members do several activities from decorating lockers, sleepovers, barbecues, swim parties, serving the Utah Food Bank as well as rehearse, perform and celebrate together afterward 

“We’re best friends,” McKenna said. “It can be a little uncertain for new members, but we quickly embrace one other.” 

In addition to school performances, the students also participated in the Dance Company Festival in Provo and traveled together, touring San Francisco last March. 

“We took professional dance classes at the (Alanzo Kings) Lines Dance Center, which helped us learn, and we had fun,” said senior Abby McBride about the workshops in jazz, contemporary and African dance. 

The group also saw dance performances at the ballet and the “Shrek” musical as well as explored Alcatraz, Chinatown, Muir Woods, Golden Gate bridge and nearby Santa Cruz boardwalk. 

“We learned and bonded and have become best friends inside and outside the studio,” Ariana said. 

The Dance Company already is planning to take workshops at Disneyland next year, and the officers decided on their theme. 

“It’s ‘Masterpiece: When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece,’” McKenna said. “It represents who we are and what we do and why we do it.”