2022 Dance Production “Blast from the Past” kicks off with auditions


Trisha Iyer

Students audition for the Dance Production “Blast from the Past” in the Patil Theater. Over 150 participants attended the auditions on Saturday, for which the cast list will be posted this Friday, Sept. 17.

by Trisha Iyer, Reporter

Over 150 participants attended auditions for the Dance Production “Blast from the Past” from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on Saturday in the Rothschild Performing Arts Center, which will be performed on Jan. 28 and 29 next year. The cast list will be posted this Friday, Sept. 17, and rehearsals begin the week after. 

Under the supervision of this year’s production directors—dance teacher Kimberly Teodoro and upper school Dance Director Karl Kuehn—Harker Dance Company (HDC) and Kinetic Krew’s dancers taught students a short routine of five eight-counts to test some technical skills.

“The members of Harker Dance Company made [the routine] as a team,” Emma Cai (10), a member of HDC, said. “Mr. Kuehn gave us a couple of things we needed to add in our routine. In this case, we had a right leap, a double pirouette on the right, a left kick and a hip-hop section.”

Upon signing in, each student received a sticker with a number assigned based on alphabetical order of last names. After learning the movement phrase in thirty minutes, students took a short water break and regrouped on the stage of the Patil Theater, where they were called up from the wings in groups of ten following this numerical order to perform the routine to “Dose” by Ciara. After all groups had gone, the students flooded back onto the stage and performed the routine once more altogether. 

At the end of auditions, Kuehn introduced the juniors and seniors who will be student choreographers for this show: Makayla Aguilar-Zuniga (11), BB Ajlouny (11), Kai Due (12), Nupur Gupta (11), Nikki Kapadia (12), Eileen Ma (11), Sujith Pakala (12), Brandon Park (12), Anja Ree (11) and Irene Yuan (12). 

While Dance Production auditions used to be called merely placement, with all participants guaranteed a spot, spacing and safety protocols implemented because of the pandemic have led to some cuts for both last year’s production and the upcoming 2022 production. The pathos of auditions, however, remains the same. 

“My ultimate goal is to place students in routines that they will be the most successful in,” Kuehn said. “At the audition, I’m able to analyze their technique, their performance skills—that helps me put them in an appropriate routine if they’re cast in the show.”

This year’s auditions also marked a change in the involvement of Kinetic Krew. In prior years, the members of HDC have primarily taught the routines at auditions. Yet Sujith, who co-captains Kinetic Krew with BB, felt the need to start this year. 

“During the time when people just had time to practice on their own [before being called up to perform], we went to specific groups and ran the routine with them, answered some of their questions,” Sujith said. “I felt good because I remember also being an underclassman guy who was struggling with those types of moves, and so I was just trying to make sure they knew what those were.”

Kuehn also touched briefly on the possible inclusion of tap and on pointe routines in the production and shared the story behind this year’s theme: every song in this year’s production will be reused from a previous show. 

“I compiled, with the Office of Communications, all of the programs from previous years so that [the choreographers] can go through the music and select songs that they want to recreate choreographically,” Kuehn said. “I’m really excited for this theme, I’m excited to be back in person, of course, and I look forward to a great show.”

Those who auditioned and are also in the Conservatory Certificate program earned workshop credit for attending.

Additional reporting by Desiree Luo.