“Everyone should be dancing”

GTP hosts open virtual dance workshops


Sourced from Get to the Pointe Instagram

On April 6, Get to the Pointe posted a flyer to promote their dance workshops. The first workshop was April 12 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

From their respective dance spaces, current and incoming Bonita Vista High (BVH) students attended virtual dance workshops hosted by the Get to The Pointe (GTP) dance team on Zoom. The four workshops took place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. last week until Thursday, April 15 and were taught by GTP members.

“My workshop will be focused on a specific style, which is contemporary. I’ll be teaching the choreography to students and that’ll just help them with retaining choreography, which is super important for the team if they’re interested in joining. [It’s also] a fun class since we don’t get to have dance classes a lot these days,” GTP Wardrobe Captain and senior Faith Rivera said prior to her workshop.

Rivera led the Tuesday workshop, following the Monday “Beginner Jazz” workshop and preceding the Wednesday “Hip Hop” and Thursday “Jazz Funk” workshops. All four, however, had similar structures.

“We always start with a warm up because preserving our bodies is important. Then I’ll spend most of the time teaching the choreography […] For me I really like focusing on performance and intention for dance,” Rivera said. “That’s something I really enjoy about dancing because you can bring a story to it, and that really stimulates a lot of connection between dancers and their audience. And then at the very end, we’ll be able to have a time where everyone gets to perform on the Zoom, and we cheer each other on.”

While GTP first hosted open workshops last year after Captain and senior Mia Aguimatang introduced the idea, these were their first virtual workshops. Distance learning circumstances led workshop instructors to take factors like space and Zoom logistics into account. 

“[I’m worried about] my internet cutting off, or getting kicked out of Zoom meetings when I’m in the middle of teaching, or kids not turning on their cameras so I don’t get to interact with them like how we would in person,” GTP member, “Hip Hop” workshop leader and senior Alexis Arenas said. “[In contrast,] if I were in person and we were to be watching them, it would be hard to watch a specific group of people, but if they’re on my screen I could just view them [all] very easily.”

Get to The Pointe (GTP) Captain and senior Mia Aguimatang (left) and GTP Wardrobe Captain and senior Faith Rivera (right) dance in Aguimatang’s garage on April 13 after school. Rivera is leading her virtual dance workshop, focused on contemporary dance, over Zoom. (Lucia Rivera)

Additionally, teaching to a general audience differs from instructing other GTP members, who have more dance experience. As a third year GTP member and leader within the team, Rivera taught choreography throughout the school year and recognized the difference in comparison to teaching new students as she prepared for Tuesday’s workshop.    

“It’s important for me, as well as the other choreographers, to make this a safe and open space for whoever wants to dance, whether they know how to dance or not, because we love dance, and we all started somewhere. We want to make everyone enjoy their experience and really get into the art,” Rivera said.

Students interested in attending the workshops contacted GTP Director and dance teacher Christine Timmons or the GTP Instagram account. Senior Joana Peralta was one attendee at Rivera’s Tuesday workshop, where choreography to Harry Styles’ “Sweet Creature” was taught.

“I wanted to try out something new since I’m not as familiar with contemporary dance [compared to] jazz and hip hop. Also, since I’m friends with Faith I wanted to support her and learn from a part of her world,” Peralta said.

After the initial warm up Rivera led, she jumped into the main choreography. However, Rivera also emphasized “intention and storytelling” in her workshop, something that Peralta appreciated.

“The warm up reminded me that I really haven’t done much physical activity other than walking short distances, so I got some necessary stretches,” Peralta said. “I also appreciated learning new moves that could communicate different emotions, and it was really interesting to learn how we could tell a story with our own creative choices in simple ways.” 

Get to The Pointe Wardrobe Captain and senior Faith Rivera (right) leads a group of Bonita Vista High students through her dance warmup over Zoom. She films herself on GTP Captain and senior Mia Aguimatang’s (left) laptop while Aguimatang follows along behind her. (Lucia Rivera)

Timmons hoped that workshop attendees may be inspired to take a dance class or audition for GTP after attending but also wanted them to enjoy themselves. While Peralta is a senior and already took a BVH dance course previously, she did have “fun.” 

“Especially now people get bogged down sitting in a chair in front of their computer, and I don’t think people realize that getting up and moving and dancing is very positivenot only physically, but mentally,” Timmons said. “I also promote people stepping out of their comfort zone. This year has definitely been challenging […], but I still feel like those students that are taking my class are still getting an experience they would never get before.”

For workshop instructors, these events also offered an opportunity to grow. Whether they have led workshops before like Rivera, or have not, like Arenas, they gave students a glance into BVH’s dance community.

“[My hopes are] first to have fun. I love teaching, and I love just being able to get some other people [involved],” Rivera said. “Secondly, if there are people looking to join the department I hope that my class can encourage them to really take that leap of faith and go for the program or the audition. And third [is to] improve as a teacher myself because I’ve done a lot of teaching, but it’s always a learning experience for me as well.”