Lone Peak Dance Company - Great Power Comes in Small Numbers

By Lily Mueller - Staff Writer

As one of Lone Peak’s many extra curricular opportunities, the Performing Dance Company not only qualifies as a sports team, but as one of many performing arts teams instructed by Krista Di Lello. Participating at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, State High School Festival, and the National High School Dance Festival, which happens every other year, along with performing in two school concerts and sports halftime shows, Dance Company provides many opportunities for dancers of all styles. With so many possibilities to perform, create, and compete against themselves, one would expect the Performing Dance Company to be a team with large numbers, yet this company only has 16 dancers.

“All dance genres and styles are welcome.  PDC should be technical and diverse.  They should be at a level where they can work, create and perform in any and all styles of dance.” said Di Lello.

With 60 plus dancers auditioning, only sixteen dancers makes the company seem like a small amount of dancers- especially when comparing the numbers to some school’s dance companies. Three other schools, each with a great dance reputation in Utah, were asked about their company size and showed that their companies were much larger in number. Olympus High School had 76 to 86 dancers audition with 16 to 20 dancers making their JV company and 20 to 26 making their varsity company. Bingham High School had 76 dancers audition and accepted 31 of them. And Westlake had over 100 dancers audition, with 33 of the students accepted.

Each school believes something different sets them apart, yet also believe, in many of the same qualities.

“I believe what sets my team apart from others is how [much like] sisters they are.  They truly care about one another and we are a tight family.  We also mainly focus on dance as an art form.  We study methods of choreography and improvisational skills to help them create new and innovative dances.  We don't compete!  We dance to perform and create.” said Bingham High School Dance Instructor Gina Terrell.

“I am a very passionate coach and I devote a lot of time and energy to making my dance company rock! My personal high school dance company experience wasn't very positive so I give my students opportunities and resources that I wish I had in High School.” said Chelsea Budge, Westlake High School’s dance company instructor.

However, Lone Peak’s results speak for themselves.  As one of the leading schools in the state of Utah, the PDC has had many victories including being the only dance company in state invited to perform in the National High School Dance Festival and always ranking in high levels at state festivals, which include the Utah Shakespeare Festival. To receive such high recognition, many dancers on the team have done studio dance in their earlier dance years and continue taking from local studios in the area. In studio dance, many typically learn basic technique as well as many of the showman qualities dancers developed for competition and performing. In the school dance curriculum, dancers learn the artistic side to dance as well as how to light, costume, choreograph, and stage a performance.

“In addition to a traditional dance team regime, PDC dancers learn and apply the fine arts dance curriculum the covers concepts and topics not often addressed in studio and competitive dance environments, in order to develop the dancer as a whole artistic being.” explained Di Lello.

Though the Performing Dance Company is small in number, it’s dancers show the ability to go above and beyond their size. Excelling at the dance festivals they attend, in their at-school performances, and as a group of artists, the Lone Peak Performing Dance Company provides an opportunity that all dancers should experience.