Giani Bright (10) and Beverly Castellanos (11) lead the team in a warm and stretch routine at the beginning of class. The Starlettes team practices for the final performance on April 30 at the Performing Arts Center. Photo by Keyla Blanco
As the clock hits 4:45 pm 17 high school girls warm up under the leadership of their team officer. The ARS Starlettes dance team practices a series of battements and turns followed by stretching and a series of splits. This weekly routine is in preparation for the final 2015-2016 performance at the AISD Performing Arts Center (PAC) on April 30.
“We’re performing literal award-winning pieces so we get to show off a bit more for the show,” Captain Giani Bright said.
Bright led the dance team in their only competition in February in Boerne, Texas. This performance resulted in a trophy and plaque for highpoint in jazz, contemporary and lyrical dance routines. Since then, Bright has choreographed four new dances to include in the upcoming show.
“I’m glad we’re performing our competition pieces, as well as the class dances,” Bright said. “I’m really proud of the contemporary piece because I think it’s the best I’ve done so far.”
The Starlettes meet every Monday and Tuesday for an hour after school to learn new choreography and perfect their previous routines. In recent practices the team has split into individuals grade levels, class of 2017, 2018 and 2019, to prepare separate class dances. Each class dance includes unique and original choreography and will be performed at the show.
“We’re splitting into solos, duos, and class dances which I think helps us cover more ground,” Junior Lieutenant Beverly Castellanos said. “I’m excited to see the way others choreograph and everyone’s unique style of dance.”
The incorporation of trios, duos and solos is new to the usual shows the team puts on. The show will consist of twenty total dance numbers by the Starlettes dance team and the Covington Dance program, led by former ARS dance coach, Mo Washington.
“This is a very personal show,” Holly Schmidt, dance team coach, said. “They’re doing amazing choreography and doing jumps and turns that challenge them. You’ll see their strengths. It’s a student oriented, unique and personal show.”
The dance team will share multiple student-created dances that include contemporary trios, hip-hop duos, culturally diverse solos and group dances. These dances, as well as a few others, will be performed to those attending the show at the PAC on April 30th at 7pm.
“I’m very excited to see the solos this year,” Castellanos said. “I’m especially excited to see Ashwara’s [ARS freshman] dance because she’s doing a traditional Indian piece and I’m glad we’re including different styles this year.”