Bright lights directed on stage and a constant mummer of excited chatter filled the auditorium on April 12 when the group, Teen Jazz, directed by Amia Cervantes, performed at U-32 from 9:45 to 10:49. During that hour, the U-32 students watched eight dances that featured a tap routine, jazz routines, modern routines, and the senior dance featuring the four seniors: Stella Gardner, Katie Phillips, Brin Bushy, and Isabelle Franke. These seniors also participated in other dance routines throughout the performance. Students and teachers were allowed to sign up in order to attend the performance. The administration was neutral about attendance, “I encouraged teachers to decide if they could afford a missed day of class but otherwise did not encourage or discourage,” said Amy Molina.
This was not the first time that Teen Jazz has tried to make U-32 part of its annual tour before their recital. “Student Council came to us and asked if they could sponsor Teen Jazz coming to school. We said yes, but that it wouldn’t be a mandatory event for teachers or students. Teachers could sign up if they wanted to attend. The program has asked for a few years, but it is pretty expensive and we didn’t want to add another class disruption to the long list.” Molina went on to explain.
The students have to meet a certain requirement to qualify for the dances. The program looks very good on college applications, especially if you get in as a freshman.
Elizabeth Wilson, an 8th grader who is a dancer at the studio, explained the benefits of being in Teen Jazz, and how she was influenced and encouraged to join the program:
“All throughout my time at the studio they have prepared us for Teen Jazz. It is our studio’s program, so for me, it feels like the next step for when I get into high school.”
Elizabeth has been working towards her goal to join Teen Jazz and to meet their expectations. She believes that it is a good opportunity for her, and also for other dancers in her studio to try out. She explained how it is much more difficult than the classes she takes now, and that it will be a huge achievement for her, considering that it is mainly sophomores through seniors in the program.
Teen Jazz is an exclusive program. It is a hard class to get into because of its high standards, but also because it is a pretty big commitment and has to fit the student’s schedules. They meet every Friday for two hours, and on Friday every three weeks for five hours. The members of Teen Jazz need to be able to attend each class in order to stay in the program.
Though it is clear that there is a great deal of effort and hard work that these students put into their performance, on stage their dancing looked effortless. It was a real treat for U-32 students in attendance.