Welcome to the circus: Annual dance show features students, faculty


Nicole Chen

Seniors Noor Singh, Hazal Gurcan, Surabhi Rao and Tamlyn Doll dance to the song “Glitter in the Air” by P!nk. This routine featured the four senior members of the varsity dance team.

by Gloria Zhang, Reporter

Harker presented its annual upper school dance production on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. This year’s Dance Show was the largest upper school dance production with 160 dancers and was completely sold out by Wednesday.

This year’s production featured hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, jazz and tap numbers, along with a hip hop faculty dance. Additionally, the show presented a jive interlude in the second half of the production and a ballet piece as a closer right before the finale.

“We have one dance that has three dancers on pointe, which is something that I do every now and then for the show. It is an exciting addition for the genre of pointe to be included in our school show,” Karl Kuehn, director of the upper school dance production, said.

The jive number was performed by Riya Chandra (12) and Timothy Wang (10). Riya first proposed the idea of including the dance in this year’s production to Kuehn and then began rehearsing with Timothy in the months after.

“[Riya] approached me and asked me if she can use her background in ballroom this year in the show, and for a few different reasons I agreed,” Kuehn said. “It’s a short piece that serves as an opportunity for other dances to have a quick change to change, but it’s exciting to feature the two of them in jive dancing.”

Seven dances were choreographed by student dancers. This year’s students choreographers were Charley Huang (11), Liana Wang (11), Miranda Larsen (11), Gracean Linthacum-Janker (11), Sanjana Marcé (12), Tamlyn Doll (12), Hazal Gurcan (12), Surabhi Rao (12), Sravya Cherukuri (12) and David Zhu (12).

For Tamlyn, captain of the varsity dance team, choreographing her dance “Funhouse” involved finalizing music for her piece and working on the choreography at home. In addition to teaching her dance to her dancers, she also proposed lighting and staging plans.

“I am really proud of the way [Funhouse] came together. I am genuinely so grateful that my dancers came back each week having mastered the choreography from the previous week’s rehearsal, and it allowed me to have a stress-free tech week leading up to the show.” Tamlyn said, “I have also definitely grown as a choreographer since I did ‘Vogue’ with Surabhi Rao last year.”

Hazal, another member of the varsity dance team, found that the process of choreographing her dance, “Hall of Mirrors,” allowed her to express her own personal style of dance through creating her own movements to music.

“I think I challenged myself to stray a bit out of my comfort zone by choreographing some movement that was fast and intricate, while still keeping my style of slow, fluid movement present in the dance. I think the hardest part about choreographing is teaching,” Hazal said. “I get nervous showing my own choreography to people because I’m always worried about whether or not they will like it, and it’s even scarier putting movement that I’ve created on other people.”

Prior to the final production on Saturday night, Kuehn and assistant director Rachelle Haun honored the seniors participating in the show. The graduating members of the varsity dance team also gave a series of speeches thanking Kuehn and Haun as dance and performance mentors and presented both with parting gifts purchased using money donated by the show cast.

“I am so sad that this is my last dance show because this time of the year is my favorite time of the year. It’s what I live for. I am going to miss having a dance show to look forward to and constantly being physically and mentally challenged with choreography.” Tamlyn said. “I do plan to keep dancing for the rest of my life, but there is no dance program like Harker’s out there. I will definitely cry the last time I perform ‘Glitter in the Air,’ our senior dance. It’s absolutely beautiful and I will miss everything about the dance show.”