Alone but together

BVH’s dance team moves practice sessions to video call

During quarantine, the GTP dance team holds a class over Zoom taught by wardrobe officer and senior Alejandra Limon (middle right.) The meeting was recorded by junior GTP member Amari Adrianzen (top left.) Dancers: Mia Aguimatang (top middle), Jaliyah Journigan (top right), Faith Rivera (middle left), Kaitlyn Garcia and Sofia Guzman (center), Erika Vargas (bottom left) and Alexis Arenas (bottom right).

Diana Gonzalez, Sports Editor

During quarantine, some may be napping or browsing social media, but the members of the Bonita Vista High (BVH) Get to the Pointe (GTP) dance team are learning a step-by-step choreography taught to them by a fellow dancer through the Zoom video calling platform. Although the dancers of GTP may not be together in a dance room, they believe they are making the best of their resources to stay fit and in communication—using technology to continue dancing.

“We want to keep training as much as possible because we are still going back to school next year, so we want to make sure that everyone is still on the same page and we can come back, since everyone has still been active and not getting any lazier,” GTP Teacher’s Assistant and junior Mia Aguimatang said.

Aguimatang noticed other teachers using the Zoom platform to run classes and wanted to use this tool for the GTP team to hold dance practices. Aguimatang texted the members of the dance team and later received approval from GTP Director Christine Timmons.

“[Zoom is] actually making us better because all of us are taking time out of our day at least once a week to just stretch or dance. I don’t know how next year is gonna go though. I’m scared, but I don’t think it will affect us in the class environment,” GTP dance member and junior Amari Adrianzen said.

The Zoom classes are taught by any member of GTP who volunteers to lead the class on a particular week day, since teachers are not allowed to use Zoom due to a recent ban by the Sweetwater Union High School District. The classes are typically scheduled from 3:00-4:00 pm, but the amount of classes per week vary based on how many students volunteer to teach. 

“We’re missing a lot of big events and we can’t perform anymore at assemblies, so we’re just trying to make the best of it by still dancing,” Adrianzen said.

The classes begin with a typical warm up routine and then the student leader goes on to teach a 30-40 second choreography of their choice. While the dancers believe this method of practice can be helpful, it is not the same as an in-person practice for the dancers.

“[These practices are] different because you don’t have that same interaction, and it feels weird because everyone isn’t on the same schedule. So sometimes we’ll have a class and people will come in, leave or have to do work,” Aguimatang said. “We’re not all in the same place at the same time.”

The dance meetings held online are not only meant to keep the dancers fit but also to lift their spirits after facing the disappointment of missing out on many performances. Performances like their District dance concert, the Spring dance concert and upcoming assemblies are now cancelled.

“We’re really sad because we worked hard all year just to prepare for our dance concert, and now that we can’t perform, we either have to just save the dances till next year or scratch them and start new,” Adrianzen said.

Senior dance members are especially disappointed by the sudden end to their season. Their most recent performance before the quarantine took place at Eastlake High’s (EH) Dance for a Cure event, but at the time they were not aware that it would also be their last. Fortunately, Timmons recommended outside dance companies to seniors so that they can continue their dancing careers.

“We have our senior dance which we worked hard on, and we were bummed because we worked so hard and we’re not going to be able to show it. For me and my last dance concert, I wanted that last time on stage because we won’t get this dance concert again,” GTP Wardrobe Officer and senior Dance Leader Alejandra Limon said.

In addition to recommending future dance classes for the seniors, Timmons sent workout videos to the dancers to help them stay fit in these times. Due to the quarantine, the GTP dance team auditions will be held virtually. In normal circumstances, aspiring GTP members would have to audition in person but for this year’s auditions, students will be uploading videos of themselves dancing. In mid April, Timmons posted a choreography routine to Youtube, and those who wanted to join GTP would watch this routine and submit their videos and online applications in an email to Timmons.

“We hope to be sure that we have a good team next year. I think it’s just a little weird that the dancers aren’t able to meet the new people at the actual audition, and we have to wait to see the video submissions. When we finally get to meet them next year we didn’t get to meet them already, so we have to start all over again,” Aguimatang said.

Although the GTP team has incorporated methods, such as workout videos or group calls through Zoom, to improvise practices and dance auditions during these times, Limon believes there is no way to get back what the seniors lost to the quarantine.

“I learned to not take our performances for granted. The last one we had was Dance for a Cure, but because we had the District dance concert so close the next week, we didn’t take it seriously. But we should have because that was our last concert,” Limon said. “I wish I would have done the final dance concert because that would [have] closed my year. I would not say Prom or Grad Nite would close my year; I thought I would finish with the dance concert.”