Arts & Entertainment

WHRHS 2017 Spring Dance Concert: Watchung Hills Students Choreograph and Dance


WARREN, NJ – All but four of the 18 dances presented by the Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) Dance Ensemble at its “Spring Dance Concert,” Thursday and Friday, May 18 and 19, were not only danced, but also choreographed, by the WHRHS Dance students.

The four numbers not choreographed by students were: 

The opening number, “Layout,” which was choreographed by guest choreographer Mark Roxey and the Roxey Ballet Company of Lambertville, a world class contemporary ballet company with an extensive New Jersey season and schedule of local, national, and international touring; 

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The first number coming out of Intermission, “Dance and Swing,” choreographed by WHRHS Dance Teacher AnnandaCarmody. 

And the last two numbers of the evening, “Slap,” with music, “Slap,” by John DeKadt; and “Excerpt from Astigmia,” with music, “Rons and Cones, Above,” by Blue Man Group, both choreographed by Dance Ensemble Advisor Melissa Markowich.

Dance and Swing also featured a performance by the WHRHS Jazz Band, doing, “Sing, Sing, Sing,” the iconic and rousing Swing Jazz classic by Louis Prima, for which the WHRHS Jazz Band received a standing ovation three weeks earlier at the annual Spring Jazz Concert on April 28. It was the only number at the Dance Concert performed with live music, adding to the intensity and the sensory layering of Dance and Swing’s overall presentation.

Layout, the opening number, was rehearsed by Carmody. It was distinctive in that the student dancers were members of the WHRHS Advanced Dance Class. They are: Kayla Carfaro, Jessie Gittleman, Melissa Hertzberg, Alexandria Mancini, Stevie Mauro, Stephanie Moreno, Victoria Pantagis, Jaemi Spaven, Alyssa Titus, Brielle Tomassetti, Dena Vayas and Cidney Weng. Many of these dancers and also members of the Dance Ensemble, and participated in many of the other numbers throughout the dance concert.

“The Dance Concert gave all the students in the Advanced Dance Class as well as the after-school extracurricular, Dance Ensemble, an opportunity to express their artistic style by performing solos, duets, and group dances on the big WHRHS Performing Art Center stage,” said Carmody. “We are very proud of the artistic expression the students shared with the audiences at the Dance Concert, and of their self-driven dedication, imagination and thirst to explore and master their craft through choreographing, learning, rehearsing and performing these ambitious dance pieces.”

In addition to the opening number of the entire concert, and the opening number after the intermission, the concert’s three solo performances were titled:

“So Close,” with music, “So Close,” by Olafur Arnalds, choreographed and danced by student Julia Piela;

“You’re Mine,” with music, “I Walk the Line,” by Halsey, choreographed by students Katey Berger and Marissa Miller, and danced by Katey Berger; and

“Solitude,” with music, Eco,” by Jason Walker, choreographed and danced by student Aayushma Patel.

One duet was performed. It was titled, “Sequence & Series,” with music, “The Fiddlers,” by Tingsek, choreographed and danced by Michelle Du and Julianne Lin.

Other numbers in the first half of the concert, included: “Body Love,” with music “Body Love,” by Mary Lambert, choreographed by student Katherine Peterson; “Next To You,” with music, “Next To You,” by Of Rust and Bone, choreographed by student Sasha Correa; “Dynasty,” with music, “Dynasty,” by Mii, choreographed by student Dena Vayas; “On a Whim,” with music “Like the Dawn,” by The Oh Hellos,choreographed by student Arielle Ostry; “Fade in Fade Out,”with music, “Fade,” by Kanye West, choreographed by student Stephanie Moreno; and “Dear Cruz,” with music “Safe Inside,” by James Arthur, choreographed by student Stevie Mauro.

Other numbers after intermission included: “Internal,” with music, “Incomplete,” by James Bay, choreographed by student Jessie Gittleman; “Clockwork,” with music, “Steampunk Girls,” by Steampunk DJ, choreographed by student Ariana Stoddard; “Beyond,” with music, “Samskeyti,” by Siger Ros, choreographed by student Michelle Shui; and “Wavelength,” with music, “Rackwick Bay,” by Phamie Gow.”

The Dance Ensemble members who all danced in many numbers at the Spring Dance Concert are: Katey Berger, Jennifer Cagno, Sasha Correa, Brianna Casas, Hollace Chase, Michelle Du, Jessie Gittleman, Camryn Graf, Mallory Helmes, Olivia Hu, Abby Kotar, Emma Kotar, Noelle Kulisz, Sabrina Lane, Julianne Lin, Allison Manspeizer, Stevie Mauro, Daria Monti, Stephanie Moreno, Arielle Ostry, Victoria Pantagis, AayushamaPatel, Katherine Paterson, Julia Piela, Morgan Pravato, Carissa Putruele, Gillian Santos, Tori Sen, Michelle Shui, Jaemi Spaven, Ariana Stoddard, Hayley Thompson, Dena Vayas, Emily Yan, and Jenny Yan.

Seniors, Production Staff

Fifteen members of the Dance Ensemble are seniors, Carmodysaid. 

They are: Kayla Carfaro, who plans to attend the University of Rhode Island; Sasha Correa, who plans to dance professionally; Jessie Gittleman, the University of Delaware, Dance Club; Julianne Lin, Rutgers University, Dance Club; Stevie Mauro, who plans to sing professionally in Thailand; Stephanie Moreno, Dance Major at Georgian Court University; Arielle Ostry, Dance Minor at George Washington University; Morgan Pravato, Dance Minor at the University of Maryland; Michelle Shui, Wellesley College, Dance Club; Alyssa Titus, The College of New Jersey, Dance Club; Brielle Tomassetti, the University of Central Florida; Dena Vayas, Dance Major at Towson University; Cidney Weng, the University of California, Berkeley, Emily Yan, New York University; and Jenny Yan, Northeastern University.

The Dance Concert Production Staff include: Technical Director Chris Valenti, Video Technical Director Nicolas DiNizio; Lighting Design Melissa Markowich; Lead Audio Engineer Michael Maloney; Light Board Operator Christopher Oakes; Stage Manager Jenna Leski; Assistant Stage Managers Ryan Presgraves and AJ Martin; Poster Design, Steven Speeney and students; Camera Operators Krystyna Leski, Adam Noble, and Mylan Dettling.


WHRHS CAPTIONS 2017 Spring Dance Concert


WHRHS PHOTOS Dance Ensemble

Members of the Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) Dance Ensemble line up on stage prior to the 2017 Spring Dance Concert, on Friday, May 19, in the WHTHS Performing Arts Center. All but four of the 18 dances on the concert program, which was presented twice, on Thursday, May 18, and Friday, May 19, were not only danced, but also choreographed, by the WHRHS Dance students.



Closing out the first half of the Spring Dance Concert, May 18 and 19, at WHRHS was “Dear Cruz,” with music “Safe Inside,” by James Arthur, choreographed by student Stevie Mauro. The student dancers are, bottom row, from left, Michelle Du, Mallory Holmes, Choreographer Stevie Mauro, Carissa Petruele, Allison Manspeizer, and Gillian Santos; and top row, from left, Morgan Pravato, Michelle Shui, Dena Vayas, Katherine Paterson, Tori Sen, Camryn Graf, Stephanie Moreno, Sabrina Lane, and Sasha Correa.



One of the highlights of the Spring Dance Concert was the number, “On a Whim,” with music “Like the Dawn,” by The Oh Hellos, choreographed by student Arielle Ostry. The student dancers are: Kneeling. from left, Katey Berger, Aayushma Patel, and Victoria Pantagis; and standing, from left, Sasha Correa, Julianne Lin, On A Whim Choreographer Ostry, Julia Piela, and Camryn Gaf.


WHRHS PHOTOS Concert Poster

The Poster Design for the 2017 Spring Dance Concert was Computer Aided Graphic Design Teacher Steven Speeney and his students.



Katey Berger

One of the three solo dance performances at the Spring Dance Concert was “You’re Mine,” with music, “I Walk the Line,” by Halsey, choreographed by students Katey Berger, above, and Marissa Miller, and danced by Berger.



The one duet was performed at the Spring Dance Concert was titled, “Sequence & Series,” with music, “The Fiddlers,” by Tingsek, choreographed and danced by Michelle Du, left, and Julianne Lin.


WHRHS PHOTOS Stretching On Stage

WHRHS Dance Ensemble dancers assembled on the stage of the WHRHS Performing Arts Center prior to the Spring Dance Concert on Friday, May 19, to run through stretching, above, warm-up as well as team spirit-building exercises.



Following the last number at the Spring Dance Concert, Friday, May 19, at the WHRHS Performing Arts Center, titled “Excerpt from Astigmia,” with music, “Rons and Cones, Above,” by Blue Man Group, choreographed by Dance Ensemble Advisor Melissa Markowich, the student members of the WHRHS Dance Ensemble and WHRHS Advanced Dance Class take to take their bow. All but four of the 18 dances on the concert program, which was presented twice, on Thursday, May 18, and Friday, May 19, were not only danced, but also choreographed, by the WHRHS Dance students.





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