Legends of The Benjamin School Perform in Spring Dance Concert

Leah Klein, Staff Writer

Both middle and high school students came together in Benjamin Hall on Friday, April 1st, to captivate audiences with the annual Spring Dance Concert. 

“This year’s theme was based on “Legends”, not of dance legends per se, but of music legends.  The Dazzlers performed to Tina Turner’s famous “Proud Mary” during the finale, the dancers (both MS and US) also performed to the music of the Beatles, Bob Marley, Harry Belafonte, Miley Cyrus, Billy Joel, Ruelle, Prince, Shirley Bassey, Fergie, Irving Berlin, to name a few…. a mix of the old and new,” said Upper School Performing Arts Chair Sara Salivar.

Preparations for the Spring Dance Concert were underway almost immediately after the Variety Show performance concluded in January. Dancers have been attending classes to practice ballet, tap, jazz, dance, contemporary, and musical theater. Performing for football games and in the first semester Variety Show also added to their experience.

“We had practice 5-6 times a week. These practices varied from 1.5-3 hours long. For our own dances, solos, duos, and trios, we had to do them on our own time usually during lunch, community block, or after practice,”said sophomore and Dazzler Skyler Hoben.

Kate Grande, a junior and Dazzler at Benjamin, participated in eight numbers. To prepare, she had to commit hours each week to practice. 

“I went to the dance studio every day during lunch for the past month, and also spent time practicing at home as well as going to practices 6 days a week,” said a visibly tired Grande.

Choreographers Angelica Downey and Corey Heins developed numbers for the dancers that ranged in style from classical ballet to contemporary hip-hop. 

“Aside from training the dancers, the choreographers work on their pieces by exploring movement with their dancers, selecting the right music for their pieces, and then setting the dances. It takes a lot of time, dedication, talent and a clear vision to complete this,” said Mrs. Salivar.

Legends’ twenty seven numbers included dances, reflections, and solos. The Dazzlers and The Sparklers, The Benjamin School’s two dance teams, were featured numerous times. 

“We had a great mix of large group numbers, small group numbers, duets, trios and some terrific solos that showcased the individual talent of our dancers. This was a high energy production, especially since it was the first time the Dazzlers, Sparklers and Dance Ensemble performed together in a LIVE production since 2020,” said Sara Salivar.

An entire crew lay behind the scenes to help create a magical experience. Ken Archer directed the video presentation and video control booth, while Christopher Bell managed the lighting design and sound and music editing. Marina Gasparini and her stage assistant Sage Sorenson instructed performers backstage and helped to organize. 

For seniors, their performances at the Spring Dance Concert will be their last, due to their tenure at Benjamin ending. Some students have danced alongside seniors for multiple years, and will be sad that they will no longer be performing with them.

This year was such a close and great team, it’s like we’re sisters. We all go through our ups and downs together and always help each other back up. Dancing with the seniors has made this year so special and feels like a family, and we will be missing them so much,” said Asia Cohen, a sophomore who is a member of the Dazzlers. 

At the conclusion of the concert, the four senior members of the Dazzlers were honored: Sophia Liporace, Amelia Porges, Abby Swank, and Caroline Yancey.

“Being on the Dazzlers has defined my high school experience, starting the summer before freshman year, so dancing with the team for the last time was really meaningful. Abby, Amelia, Caroline, and I have had an incredible group of girls for our last year, and I will miss them all so much,” reflected Sophia Liporace, a senior Dazzler who performed for the last time on Friday.

Freshman Hanna Soffan, who has a younger sister that attends The Benjamin Middle School, best summed up the performance. 

“I attended the concert because my sister does dance at the middle school. I’m obviously really proud of how my sister did, but I also really enjoyed seeing a few people I know in high school perform. It was really clear they put a lot of effort in, and it paid off! I overall really enjoyed the performance and am happy the school doesn’t undervalue the arts,” said Soffan.

The next opportunity to see live performing arts will be at the senior showcase on Saturday May 7th, at 3pm in Benjamin Hall.