5, 6, 7, 8-—(From left to right) Juniors Emily Yehezkel, Melis Cabas, Beatriz Wenzel, Gavriella Kovacs and the rest of the team prepare for their first hip hop performance at Pep Rally.
Photo by Matthew Kipnis
By Alexandra Chen
“Join the dance team, guys!” the team captains yelled, trying to be heard over the loud bustling that vibrated throughout the gym during the Club Fair.
With signs in their hands and glitter on their faces, the captains waved students over and encouraged them to join. Immediately, their efforts paid off. Interested girls flocked to the table to see what all the commotion was about. One by one, the girls signed up for South’s newly formed dance team.
The team captains, senior Stephanie Vega and juniors Emily Yehezkel and Ashley Gould, kicked off the start of South’s dance team with a spinning leap. Combining hip-hop elements, ballet turns, lyrical movements, and jazz moves, the trio has been teaching and practicing with their teammates in preparation for this year’s upcoming dance events.
The team’s advisor, Ms. Jeanette Cutone, said, “Captains Ashley Gould, Stephanie Vega, and Emily Yehezkel are dedicated to the team. They have been z in the choreography of the team and have been overseeing practices.”
Vega and Yehezkel decided to form the team last year. Vega said, “I got the idea from my cousin, who told me that she had [the idea] a long time ago. I thought that it would be really cool if we brought it back to life.”
The team is not only a revival of a dream but also a way for students to learn a variety of dance styles. “A lot of the girls don’t have dance experience, so this team is a great way for them to learn something they are passionate about,” Yehezkel said.
Girls who do not have dance backgrounds are not the only ones who have gotten something out of the team. Vega, who normally only dances hip-hop, has learned other types of dance moves from her teammates. She said, “Everybody knows different types of dances. My dance is hip-hop only. The other two girls know ballet and jazz. I don’t know that. So it was a new thing for me.”
After their debut performance at this year’s pep rally, the team is looking forward to performances at sports games, Homecoming, Theater South’s Coffee Houses, the Martin Luther King Jr. assembly, and Asian Night.
The team had initially planned to compete against other dance teams during the spring sports season this year. However, because of a shortage of funds, the team has postponed their participation in competitions. Yehezkel said, “It’s definitely going to happen next year.”
Ms. Cutone said, “The girls on the team are very excited to bring a new type of school spirit to South. The girls have been working extremely hard and have been practicing three times a week. It’s a wonderful way to get students involved in a new and exciting way.”
The dance team, which practices on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in the Lower Café, provides both learning and bonding experiences. “Honestly, there’s nothing else better than being with the team,” Vega said.