For the ten seniors in Dance Ensemble, the school year is almost over, their high school dance careers nearly finished. Still, before they left Leesville Road High School for good, the graduating dancers wanted to go out with a bang.
What better place than New York?
From Friday, April 26 to Monday, April 29, Dance Ensemble took over New York City. Aside from taking three professional classes at three world-renowned studios, the girls saw two Broadway musicals, shopped in Manhattan and took a sightseeing cruise around the Statue of Liberty, all knowing full well this was their last time together.
Lindsay Bruening, senior and co-captain, said, “Knowing that we wouldn’t have another opportunity like this one is sad, especially since it’s the last major event we all get to spend together. For the seniors, it was definitely bittersweet.”
Originally, the trip was designed to give the girls an experience they could never come by in Raleigh: training with some of the best dancers in the world.
“The teachers at these studios are internationally-recognized, so the fact that our girls got to take private classes with them, being fully devoted to our group, is incredible,” said Ms. Hoban, dance instructor. “Even though we were in New York, everyone was up and in class early, ready to soak up everything they could.”
Each of the studios Dance Ensemble studied at practiced a different form of dance. Alvin Ailey, an African-based company, specializes in the “Horton Technique”, a modern take on the basic ballet technique. Steps on Broadway is more of a contemporary company, focusing on concert dance. Broadway Dance Center, at the other end of the spectrum, is all about hip-hop dance.
“Broadway Dance Center was probably my favorite studio because it was so different from the concert dance we usually do. Having just been in Hairspray here, getting to go through the routines with actual Broadway performers gave me a whole new respect for what they do,” said Anna Longenecker, sophomore.
While the classes were the central focus of the trip, spending the weekend together was a great way for Ensemble to bond.
Said Hoban, “The girls were close before the trip, but during and after, they’ve come to be almost like sisters. Our captains made everyone feel equal and respected but being around each other for so long really made the difference.”
Still, Bruening explained how this trip had even greater significance for the graduating seniors in the group. “Dance Ensemble was always a place where I felt welcomed and at home,” said Bruening. “I grew as a leader when I became captain and as a dancer throughout my three years, but I will always remember Dance Ensemble for the friends I’ve made and the way these girls impacted my life.”