Doors open for all

GTP hosts a dance workshop on April 8


Stephanie Liang

Junior Kai Bonggat demonstrates the choreography and dance moves to the students participating in the workshop. They dance to the song Dem Beats by Todrick Hall.

Stephanie Liang, Arts & Culture Copy Editor

Upbeat music filled the dance room as students smiled and laughed, enjoying their time while learning the combination to Dem Beats by Todrick Hall. Students danced and followed junior and Get To the Pointe (GTP) member Kai Bonggat who provided them with words of encouragement and taught them the choreography.

On Friday, April 8th, GTP held an after school jazz dance workshop from 1:30 p.m to 2:30 p.m. The workshop aimed to allow extra practice for students who wished to attend GTP’s  2022-2023 dance team auditions on April 22nd. Despite this, it was still an open dance space for anyone who wanted to participate and try dance in a safe environment. Bonggat had volunteered to lead the workshop and explained his goals he hoped to accomplish by the end of it.

“I want everyone who is auditioning to feel more comfortable with their pickup skills and choreography. And if they’ve never danced before, I want them to be able to go into an audition with confidence,” Bonggat said.

I think [the workshops are] really important because they introduce people to dance, its different styles and some things they never would’ve tried.

— Junior and GTP member Valeria Valencia

Bonggat began the workshop with a simple warm up, giving the dancers the option to either copy his movements or to do whatever they felt comfortable. Afterwards, Bonggat began to teach the jazz dance combo in a style known as ‘marking’.

“Marking is essentially just getting the choreography and the counts into your body so when you do perform [the dance], it’s not as jarring,” Bonggat said. “You want to get comfortable with the movements and sync it with the music before you dance.”

GTP dance team teacher Christine Timmons was behind the planning of the GTP workshop. She mentioned that she knew it would be a good teaching experience for Bonggat. Timmons expressed that teaching dance to others is something “he is capable of and it’s nice to be able to practice that at school.”

“He’s been dancing since he’s been walking, so he has a lot of experience and he’s really positive and passionate,” Timmons said. “He genuinely loves dance and loves for people to learn more about it.”

Junior and GTP member Valeria Valencia joined in and participated in the jazz dance workshop. She went into the workshop wishing to support and learn from Bonggat, who is one of her closest friends.

“I love seeing new dancers and participating in different styles of dance. When I found out it was jazz, I wanted to come,” Valencia said. “I wanted to be able to fully get the dance down, technique wise, and I think I was able to achieve that because Kai is a great teacher.”

Throughout the hour-long workshop, dancers would take breaks to drink water, practice the dance moves and talk to one another. At one point, everyone was split into two large groups where they took turns completing the combination. Cheers were heard as every participant shouted to show their support.

“I had such an amazing time. I think everyone brought such great energy. Whenever you come to these workshops there’s never any sense of anyone shaming anyone, which is really great. You can just be 100 percent yourself and open, and I just love that about these workshops,” Valencia said.

The message and feeling of comfort was clear, as throughout the workshop Valencia and the other participants asked Bonggat for help when they needed it and were shown the support.

“I know a lot of people don’t know we have dance classes and the policy in this room is that anybody can dance. We’re always happy to have people who have zero experience come join us and learn what dance is,” Timmons said. “I feel like my students really understand that this is a welcoming environment no matter what their experiences are.”

Unfortunately, events like the workshop do have to come to an end. However, everyone who participated left with hugs, compliments and learned new jazz dance moves.

“I think [the workshops are] really important because they introduce people to dance, its different styles and some things they never would’ve tried,” Valencia said. “We had newcomers, which is crazy. Guys don’t usually come and they did. It was so amazing and they had such an amazing time.”