Behind the scenes of the upcoming dance showcase


courtesy April Oliver

The Los Altos Dance classes are putting on their annual showcase with the theme of a world fashion week in Las Vegas, Milan and Paris.

The Los Altos High School dance program will be hosting its own Met Gala, dancing down the runway in a fashion week-themed showcase Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in the Eagle Theater. Tickets can be purchased for $5 at the finance office or at the door, and the money raised this year will be put towards funding next year’s show. 

The show primarily features mostly student-choreographed material. Dance teacher April Oliver has spent the year preparing dancers through numerous choreography assignments, so she feels confident letting them take charge of the showcase. She gave them inspiration when necessary, but the majority of the material debuting in the showcase is produced by the students.

“I try as much as possible to step back and let the students have full creative control,” Oliver said. 

Five seniors — Katharine Manson, Bette Walton, Anna Zhang, Zayden James and Melina Murai — were tasked with choreographing the finale. Their choreography will be performed by all the advanced jazz dance classes at the end of the showcase.

“You have to take into account the positioning of every person, where to put everyone and also the transitions between different formations,” Melina said. “For me, choreographing is the easier part. The main thing I struggled with was how to explain the things that happen in my head.”

“Part of the struggle is that we all have very different dance styles. We all have specialties and different styles and it’s hard finding common ground,” Zayden said. “I specialize in ballet so it was definitely a challenge to go outside my normal style range for dance and choreography.”

The audience will experience the dancers’ interpretation of World Fashion Week in Las Vegas, Milan and Paris.

“I love the actual show — when the audience is there, it all pays off to see the students so excited to share what they have come up with,” Oliver said. “There are always lots of ups and downs on the path towards that moment, but it’s worth it.” 

Every year, the dancers are eager to show the audience the material they have been working on. 

“I remember last year everyone was backstage and it was a really fun bonding time where everyone came together,” Melina said. “Everyone was stressed but also excited.” 

The roughly 75-minute show will feature a wide variety of dance styles. The classes are jazz-based but the students are encouraged to explore other styles. The showcase will include a ballet solo as well as a Chinese dance solo. 

“We have a lot of fun dancing and I think that really shows when we’re on stage,” Zayden said. “We all really enjoy doing what we do and it’s just fun to watch that. It’ll be a really fun time”