Choreographers: Bopping to the Top

Los Altos hosted its annual lip sync battle in its last yearly spirit assembly on February 16. The four grade levels stormed the gym floor to perform their respective lip sync routines. Every step, every twirl, was part of a longer routine coordinated by dedicated choreographers, separated by grade level. As the music blasted, the classes showed off their school spirit and the audience couldn’t help but clap as the pieces came to a close. The Talon followed each grades’ choreographers as they prepared for their class’ lip sync performances.

By Alex Luna and Mayu Alten


Getting to a finished dance took a great deal of time and effort. Freshmen Jessica Dooley and Amanda Le, who fall more in line with hip hop and jazz styles, worked with fellow freshman Maya Amit, who comes from a ballet background. Ballet, which has a more precise and strict routine contrasts heavily with the free flowing style that Jessica and Amanda follow. As the two styles don’t blend together seamlessly, they divided the workload so each choreographer could show their strengths.

Nevertheless, the trio worked together to make the best of their contrasting dance backgrounds, ranging from hip hop to jazz to ballet. Maya would focus on formations, drawing upon her ballet background that taught her how to position everyone. Jessica and Amanda helped improvise and create more original movements that would end up being the backbone of the freshman lip sync performance.

“[Jessica and Amanda] have more experience [in a] more freestyle kind of dance and some of the girls were putting things together on the side, and they would bring it to me on the next day at school [so] I [could] bring it together,” Maya said.


Thanks to her extensive dance background of over 10 years in many styles including hip hop, sophomore Lauren Miyahara effectively wove together creativity and relative accessibility for all participants into her routine. A top-tier dancer and capable instructor, Lauren didn’t “dumb down” moves, instead taking extra steps to ensure all participants knew the routine.

Her teaching methods reflect her thoughtful nature, as she provided opportunities to help her dancers outside of school hours and shared videos of her performing the routine for dancers to practice on their own.

“Once I started teaching the first song and dance I wanted to see where each individual person was at, so I would watch [them] and see [whether] we shouldn’t go too far [or] make it too easy,” Lauren said.


Humor won over the audience in the junior lip sync, choreographed by juniors Mackenna Kahan and Leah Guesman. Since the two ASB members have choreographed their class’ previous lip syncs together, they’ve fallen into a comfortable rhythm when dancing. The contrast between the classical music they used to start off their piece and the hip hop at the finish hit the mark with the audience, resulting in a collective uproarious laugh. Their collective backgrounds in jazz, hip hop, ballet, contemporary and acrobatics have melded together in a highly collaborative manner to create a fun routine.

“We would choreograph [to] weird songs, and it was fun because [we choreographed] ballet to weird music,” Mackenna said.


Senior Lisa Deng, who is both in Advanced Jazz and has been dancing for seven years, choreographed and helped coordinate the senior lip sync. Lisa’s seven years of experience in hip hop, salsa, ballet, contemporary and even African step dancing lends her a unique approach to dance. This had been Lisa’s third year choreographing the lip sync — she’s been asked to choreograph every year since she was a sophomore.

While the process posed many challenges, like having to manage 50 different dancers, Lisa was still able to take center stage and complete command of the squad. She not only needed to be a choreographer, but she also needed to be a leader, a position which she has now naturally grown into. This would help her choreograph what would be the winning dance.

“It made me really inspired and motivated to keep choreographing this stuff and making it fun,” Lisa said. “That’s basically it. I think the energy and showing people that they can dance and they can do this choreography and bringing the whole senior class together was a really cool experience.”