Visual arts on display in two student showcases

Dance Concert

Members of the TPHS dance program — from Dance PE classes to the award-winning varsity hip-hop team — poured onstage for their first performance of the year, the Fall for Dance concert, held in the Performing Arts Center on Sept. 29 and 30.

The dancers, whether they took the stage alone or with a group, spent weeks preparing; the JV and varsity hip-hop and contemporary dance teams began rehearsals before school started in August.

“The performance was a chance to perform what we’ve been working on before the competition,” Nicole Koo (11), a dancer on the varsity hip-hop team, said.

The showcase began with a dance by students in the Advanced Dance/ Choreography and Production PE class entitled “Beneath the Surface,” performed in front of a video of dancers swimming in a pool. The inspiration behind the water-themed performance came from Sarah Kaye, the Dance Team Director.

“I always liked to swim in Lake Tahoe … I loved the way it felt to be underwater,” Kaye said. “I wanted to kind of display the feeling of fluidity in the piece.”

But Kaye’s own experience with water was not her only inspiration for the piece.

“I had a friend who passed away last spring [who] was a very fluid dancer,” Kaye said. “At his funeral, they played a song called ‘Fluid,’ so that’s where the water inspiration came from.”

The following performances were a mix of the different dance programs at TPHS.

Varsity contemporary dance performed two pieces: “Stilhed, I’m so Sick” and “Quietly Yours.”

Leela Trussel (11), a dancer on the varsity contemporary dance team, was able to communicate through the dance.

“Each piece focused on the movement and skill of the dancers, which allowed the dancers to express themselves,” Trussel said. “I see contemporary dance as a way of expressing myself … it’s kind of a softer form of ballet, danced to more relaxing music.”

The Dance PE classes — both the entry-level PE class and Intermediate Dance — also performed.

“[The performance] requires practices once every week and sometimes even lunch practices on the field,” Danica Lin (10), a student in Intermediate Dance, said. “Our coaches also record videos of our practices so we can go home, reflect and fix our mistakes.”

Like the contemporary teams, the JV and varsity hip-hop teams performed the pieces they had rehearsed since August. JV hip hop performed “Motorsport” while varsity performed “Beychella.”

“The performance went pretty smoothly,” Koo said. “I loved being on stage, and being able to perform to such a supportive crowd.”

Music Concert

TPHS musicians put their skills on display in the Performing Arts Center for the TPHS Music Department’s Fall Concert on Oct. 17.

The Fall Concert, the first concert of the year, featured performances from Band, Orchestra and Jazz Band.

The concert began with three pieces by the band. Gene Stone (12), a flautist, said that although there were some “hiccups,” the band did well overall.

“On one of our last pieces, [‘Galop Festivo’], we got off track … but we got it back together,” Stone said.

Stone played a solo for the first song of the evening: “Amparito Roca.”

“I get more freedom [when soloing],” Stone said. “[In] ensemble you have to listen a lot … it is more stressful because you want to sound uniform as a group.”

Next, the Orchestra played five pieces.

Justin Pan (12), a pianist, said his favorite song was “Emerald Falcon.”

“It was really nice … the way the whole orchestra blends together and makes it sound really full,” Pan said.

Pan also soloed for the orchestral rendition of the song “Amazing Grace.”

“[In a solo] performance, I’m getting credit for what I worked for, and it’s nice to see my efforts pay off,” Pan said.

AP Seminar and AP English Literature teacher Lisa Callender attended the concert. She said the orchestra’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” stood out to her for its beauty.

Jazz Band finished off the concert with seven pieces.

Raisa Tuerxun (11), a vocalist in Jazz Band, sang on two selections. 

“At first when I looked down at the audience I was nervous, but then I decided to forget I was on stage [and treat it as] just another rehearsal,” Tuerxun said.

Tuerxun did a scat solo for “Lover Come Back to Me,” which she prepared for by listening to artists like Ella Fitzgerald to familiarize herself with scat, a form of singing using wordless vocals.

“Even though most of us were really nervous beforehand, the concert went really well,” Tuerxun said.

Callender complimented the “eclectic” song assortment and the “perfect” length of the show.

“If you’ve never gone to [a] concert, you should go to one and see how talented your peers are,” Callender said.

Photos by Anna Opalsky/Falconer

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