Dance groups prepare extensively for pep rally


Contributed by Nairi Harumi

Dance ensemble Cantico practices for their annual pep rally performance in the Schluntz Gymnasium. The club performs both contemporary and hip-hop styles.

The cheers of students echo on the walls of the gymnasium. The sea of blue and red blend together on the bleachers as students cheer for each performance. Amidst all of this, it is showtime for the groups that perform at the pep rally.

The pep rally is an annual event where hundreds of students gather in the Schluntz Gymnasium to watch performances before the Powerpuff game. Although each performance is only a few minutes long, a significant amount of thought and preparation goes into making each piece performance-ready for the audience.

Lux is a new dance group that focuses mainly on hip-hop. The team was created this year but plans on making their debut at the pep rally. Co-captain of Lux, sophomore Joy Xiang, considers the surroundings and people in the stands when teaching a number to the group.

“You want to think about how to use the space you are given. During the pep rally, there are people seated everywhere in the gym, so you really want to use the 360 and perform to all the audiences. You don’t want to make one audience feel excluded,” Xiang said.

Senior Nairi Harumi is one of the captains of Cantico, another hip-hop and contemporary dance group. When she choreographs dance routines, she considers how the music choice will affect the crowd.

“I know for the pep rally we do choose a certain type of song. It’s not slow hip-hop, it’s faster paced hip-hop; we want everyone in the audience to be hyped up,” Harumi said.

According to Harumi, choosing a song that the audience is familiar with helps spectators stay engaged.

“We know that if we play a cool song but no one knows the words to it, it will be silent in the gym during the pep rally.
We also want to do a variety of music. We don’t want to do a certain type of rap music for all of our songs,” Harumi said.

Popcorn, another dance group that has performed at the pep rally numerous times, focuses on K-pop music. Sophomore Emerson Lin, the captain of Popcorn, said the group balances the difficulty of the dance with the quality of the performance.

“Since we are open to anyone in terms of experience, we have to think about the skill level. We have to be careful that it’s still fun for everyone but not too hard, but it still looks nice when we perform it,” Lin said.

Unlike the dance groups, the Samba Drumming Club does not have to strictly choreograph their numbers. According to sophomore Charles Long, a member of the club, the performance is a combination of spontaneity and preparation.

“There are the basic drum rhythms that we have that everybody knows. We learn different calls to go into samba funk or samba reggae and then we just play away. It’s kind of improv, but we know everything,” Long said.

After choosing and designing their numbers, the performers have to make sure everything is ready for the event. This includes polishing their routines, deciding on costumes and making sure everyone is confident in their routine.

For Xiang, the event provides an encouraging environment for people to show what they have been working towards.

“The pep rally is a great chance for all the groups to show each other what they’ve been working on and we could all learn from each other,” Xiang said. “Although the school seems very split at the pep rally, the groups are all very supportive of each other which is great when people are divided by their grade’s color.”