Stepping out and stepping it up |

Stepping out and stepping it up

11th annual Dance Showcase adds a little more class to the act

Every night before she falls asleep, Heidi Keenan runs through a checklist in her head of all the things that need to be done for the Steamboat Springs High School Dance Showcase.

It’s a long list.

“(Everything) from the choreography to the accounting to the lights,” Keenan, the show’s co-director, choreographer and one of its dancers, said about the list of responsibilities for the student-run performance. “And everyone who auditions is guaranteed to be in the show. There are some girls who have never stepped foot on stage.”

The theme of this year’s show is “Step It Up,” and it will feature more than 16 routines covering a variety of dance genres.

“There’s ballet, lyrical jazz, hip hop, Arabian and salsa,” said Heather Coram, co-director, choreographer and dancer. “There are more varieties of pieces this year.”

The students said they’ve worked hard to make this showcase classier than some of the shows in previous years, which were criticized by some about whether the dances were appropriate for child and teenage audiences and performers.

“Last year was a critical make-it-or-break-it year,” Keenan said. “There were a lot less girl fights this year, too.”

The students enlisted community members to mentor each choreographer.

“We are bringing the community back into the program, instead of just looking down at us,” said Morgan Dingle, co-producer, choreographer and dancer.

Five male students also will appear in this year’s production.

“There are two seniors and three junior guys,” Coram said. “And a lot of them asked us to be in it before we asked them.”

The dancers began working on this year’s showcase as soon as last year’s performance was over. For some of them, the reward comes from seeing the finished product.

“I like taking on different characters for different pieces,” said Liz Handing, co-producer, choreographer and dancer. “For hip hop you have to be more gangster, and for ballet you have to be more professional.”

It took a lot of bake sales for the dancers to raise the money for the costumes and props, and every year they give out one scholarship for continuing education.

“We give a $1,000 scholarship for someone who will pursue performing arts in college,” Keenan said. “And we get to read all the essays and decide who receives it.”

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