By Isabelle Lee
ANAHEIM HIGH SCHOOL, ANAHEIM – Many different high schools from all over the Southern California region came together to perform and showcase their pieces in a dance show on the night of Friday, Nov. 4. Anaheim High School’s dance department annually hosts the Anaheim Invitational, Diverse Images, which is a two-hour show consisting of two pieces from each of the different high schools.
University High School’s Dance Company presented two pieces, Steady, choreographed by senior Paula Cho, and That Super Dream, choreographed by senior Julia Cheng. That Super Dream entailed the story of a newsboy who frantically delivers news to passing pedestrians and then falls into a deep slumber afterwards. Then, he dreams of joining a group of four super heroes, each with four unique powers, in a conquest to save the world. Set to the well-known theme song of The Incredibles, this lively, crowd-pleasing, and energy-filled Broadway jazz piece awakened the audience.
Steady provided a stark contrast from That Super Dream as it established a sorrowful and angst-ridden mood amongst the audience. Choreographer Paul Cho says, “It's a dance about interdependence and relying on one another for strength and stability after tragedy, even though it's not easy at first.” The dancers’ flowing, blood red skirts against their black leotards created beautiful contrasts and tableaus. Set to song Unsteady by X Ambassadors, this emotional contemporary piece showed the deeper, expressive side of University’s Dance Company.
Invitationals like these are important opportunities for dancers to become exposed to different styles of dance. As choreographer Julia Cheng puts it, “Anaheim Invitational was a beautiful way for dancers from different schools to connect personally and through art.”
Senior and dancer in That Super Dream Nina Koh says, “While watching dances that other companies performed during dress rehearsal, I felt inspired and motivated to choreograph more myself.” She adds, “Dance has taught me to be flexible and resourceful, especially in unanticipated situations, and has also been a creative outlet that allows me to express my emotions and communicate to a large audience in hopes of evoking a sense of connection.”
Dance as an art form has allowed many to further their understanding of themselves as well. “Dance has made me a lot more open-minded,” Paula Cho says. “I've learned the importance of trying to gauge from another's perspective in artistic opinion, and that has translated into something I always try to do as I approach any challenge in life.”
University High School will be performing at the Santa Ana Invitational at Santa Ana High School on Dec. 2 and will be hosting the New Year’s Invitational at University High School in January.