Twice-Told Tale

The Student News Site of Lake Highland Preparatory School

Twice-Told Tale

Twice-Told Tale

Five, Six, Seven, Eight…

Ms. Renee Korte
(Above) LHP’s Junior Varsity team poses for a pre-performance photo at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. Haley Fazekas, the captain of the team, is in the center. The team is about to compete in the Junior section of the competition, and they have been practicing their routine for several months. Last year, their dance was choreographed by professional choreographers in a five-hour rehearsal over Thanksgiving break. This year, they practiced for their competition at the Studio Synergy. A panel of judges will score them based on various criteria such as technique, choreography, and costumes. With this level of rehearsal, the final product was outstanding.

Lake Highland’s dance team is one of the fastest-growing and most drastically improving areas of Lake Highland’s many different student activities. The team is known for performing in the Weng Gymnasium at Lake Highland’s pep rallies and on the stage of the Harriett Coleman Center for the Arts for Veterans Day. Frequently dancing to upbeat pop songs such as “Vegas” by Doja Cat and “Lost” by Scott Key, the team cleverly combines widely known songs with lesser-known ones. Dancers can often be identified by their sparkly, sequined costumes and tan jazz shoes. Last school year, the team held its first-ever April Dance Showcase, due to the increasing number of team members. This year, the dance team’s coach, Ms. Renee Korte, said the team has, “Eleven new dance team members between the two teams [Varsity and Junior Varsity].” Ironically, the dance team altogether now has exactly 20 dancers. Ten are on Junior Varsity, and ten are on Varsity. The two Varsity team captains, Allison Rench, grade 12, and Allison Raymond, grade 12, have each been on the team for over three years.

Coach Korte says both captains help choreograph dance routines for Junior Varsity and other groups. Rench, Raymond, and the Junior Varsity team’s captain, Hailey Fazekas, grade 10, have so far proven themselves to be excellent captains this year, both in managing their teams’ sizes and utilizing the larger group size to create better choreography. Every year, Lake Highland’s dance team competes at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. However, this year, Varsity won eighth place, and Junior Varsity scored third, which is a great improvement in comparison to last year, when Varsity scored thirteenth, and Junior Varsity scored fourth. These higher placings can certainly be partially attributed to the group’s larger size, as the judges last year left comments on Varsity’s scoring sheet that the choreography would have been better if it contained more dancers. But altogether, this shows that the teams’ excellent captains, coach, and dancers, as well as the larger group size, have helped propel LHP dance towards success. 

Less experienced dancers now accept dance team as a way to get into dancing, as well as a way to learn and grow. Junior Varsity dancer, Eva Tenghoff, grade 8, has embraced this mindset. She has no former dance experience outside of musical theatre, but she is using that as a building block for dance. Joining Lake Highland’s dance team has not only made her a better dancer but also helped the team as a whole. Tenghoff says other musical theatre friends of hers also joined the dance team in recent years to improve their dance technique. With so many new dancers comes an increased sense of community.

This sense of community is being fostered by the structure of the dance team. Highly experienced dancers, such as Allison Rench and Allison Raymond, who have been on the team since eighth grade and ninth grade, respectively, get rewarded with the opportunity to be captains for their years of commitment and hard work. Newer dancers get to grow and bond together and learn from upperclassmen teammates. Eva Tenghoff said she initially joined the dance team, “To have fun with [her] friends and improve [her] dancing.” Her first year with the dance team was in 2022. She says she still feels like her reason for joining is being fulfilled, and just as importantly, she says the team has, “A lot more committed and talented dancers this year, and it feels more like a team than ever before.” Ms. Korte says her favorite thing about teaching dance is, “Watching the students grow in their technique, having the desire to improve throughout the years, and the accomplishment they feel when they perform their routine after all the hard work they put into it.” With so many different skills to work on while dancing, Lake Highland’s dancers certainly have to put forth a lot of effort.

Lake Highland’s dance team incorporates styles such as jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and sometimes even ballet. They have to be able to achieve a precarious balance between the strength required to maintain stability in challenging poses for long periods of time and the flexibility required to stretch themselves into dramatic positions. With this need for strength and flexibility comes a need for a good practice space. Last school year, after the dance studio in the Annex building was taken down, LHP’s dance team practiced in Studio 2 at the Orlando Ballet School, which is a ten-minute walk from Lake Highland’s main campus. The Orlando Ballet School offered a high-quality sprung floor, as well as 800 square feet of space per studio. It was shared with professional dancers and students.

However, Ms. Korte says they now practice at Studio Synergy. Studio Synergy is located behind Lake Highland’s Charles Clayton Campus, and Ms. Korte says it is, “Very convenient for the students, and no one else is in the space so it is a nice quiet and private place for them to practice.” This improved practice area makes it possible for the dancers to work harder and focus more. Whether it’s for pep rallies, competitions, or Veterans Day, LHP’s dancers can now enjoy their dancing and give their audiences more of a performance than ever before. Eva Tenghoff says her favorite dance routine this year was, “Pep rally because there was such a good audience and [their] dance was so energetic.” From audience energy, a better practice space, larger numbers, and a greater sense of community, to team spirit, it is clear that Lake Highland’s dance team is ready to grow and succeed throughout the rest of 2024 and far beyond.

(Above, from left to right) LHP Varsity dance team dancers Allison Rench and Allison Raymond give their teammates a pep talk backstage. They are about to start their annual Veterans Day performance, which takes place in Lake Highland’s HCCA building. Veterans of the U.S. military gather in the HCCA each year to watch this honorary performance. (Sofia Tenghoff)
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sofia Tenghoff
Sofia Tenghoff is a staff member of Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale. She is also a staff member of the school's literary magazine By Any Other Name. Tenghoff's favorite hobby is creative writing, and she has published a personal essay in Teen Ink and won the Middle School First Page Story Contest in grade 8. She is now a Junior in high school. When Tenghoff isn't writing, she enjoys running, reading, drawing, and computer programming.

Comments (0)

All Twice-Told Tale Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *