Round Rock ISD Dance Students Perform Together at Intersection

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  • Pushing up off the stage, the Principals of Dance III class prepares to do a floor kick.

  • A student slides across the stage while reaching outward and upward.

  • A performer from Jazz IV makes an x with her arms and reaches upward.

  • The Principals of Dance III class prepares to dance with intensity.

  • The Jazz IV class kicks out during their performance at Intersection.

  • Posing before her dance, Gina Yoo ’19 faces the audience.

  • Laurence Thigpen ’19 reaches upward during the performance.

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Round Rock ISD ‘s 36 high schools and middle schools gathered at the Performing Arts Center for Intersection on October 27th. All of the dances from Westwood were choreographed by dance teachers Ms. Marla Valk, Ms. Katherine Gunderson, and Ms. Jessica Steedley.

The students were very well-prepared due to their rigorous practice which they started at the beginning of the second six weeks. They worked on their dance every single class leading up to the performance and even attended the dress rehearsals at the PAC during the week before Intersection. The dances were all tailored to the expected audience.

“I liked the beginning part of our dance because we practiced it a lot and I got very comfortable with it,” Amanda Yin ‘22 said. “Mrs. Valk told us that Intersection is where many parents come so she wanted music that’s a little older or a bit more classic.”

Each of the different dance classes at Westwood performed a different dance. Many of the dances demanded for careful group work and synchronization.

“I’m in Ballet I/II, and there is a section in our piece where we form two concentric circles. While practicing it never turned out as well as it did on stage, in my opinion, because we were quite uniform throughout the piece. All the dancers together really made the piece what it is,” Anuja Uppuluri ‘21 said.

Music played a big role in each one of the dances. Some of the dances were pop songs while others were only instrumental.

“Since our song had no lyrics, our music was based off our expressions,” Uppuluri said. “We leaped when there was a rise in the symphony and moved around on our feet and looked towards the ground when it was a softer part of the song. It really made for another way for the audience to see what we were trying to show in our ballet dance.”

The students’ dedication to dance has helped them grow into more advanced dancers and many of them received the opportunity to choreograph parts of the dance.

“I think we’ve grown more self-aware, not only as dancers but also as choreographers. Ms. Gunderson had a set dance for us to prepare however we did change a couple steps along the way as students, and I think that was a valuable experience,” Uppuluri said.

The dance teachers also controlled the lighting during the performances. The lights changed color and added a lot of visual effects to the dances.

“The pieces looked very different on stage,” Ms. Gunderson said. “The kids really transformed from doing it in the studio or cafeteria to being on stage with their costumes and lights and everything, it really pulled it all together.”

The next RRISD dance show will be Escapade, which is set to take place in the spring. SunDancers and Warrior Pride will also join to perform at Escapade.