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Student-designed dance concert

 After three months of practice, 120 Del Norte High School students are ready for the stage, dancing to a wide variety of music from jazz to gospel.

But some students, in addition to rehearsal, have spent hours choreographing their own dances, choosing the music, coming up with the steps and incorporating props to create a work of moveable art, said dance teacher Katie Pena. Students created 25 out of the 26 pieces that will be performed at the concert tonight, Friday and Saturday, she said.

The theme of DNHS’s dancer concert is “Dancing in a Burning Room,” which, Pena said, is taken from the title of one of the dance tunes. 

“(Students) have to find a song that interests them and they create all the movement for the piece,” Pena said. “They have to take into consideration different choreographic techniques like adding in lifts and the different directions the dancers are facing, and they have to stage the piece. They also come up with a costume idea.”

One dance titled “Dance Without You,” choreographed by seniors Kelsey Mercer and Clancey Barrington, who are advanced students, features 12 dancers total with a duet by two principal dancers, Pena said. It’s a jazz piece and the dancers will be wearing black rhinestone masks.

“That dance has a lot of lifts,” she said. “So it’s physically demanding. This partnership has done several dances together; very unique dances.”

Another piece, a gospel-like tune called “Bottom of the River,” was choreographed by students Sara French and Wren Adams and uses chains that are plastic but look real, Pena said. 

“It’s upbeat as well,” she said. “The music is really powerful.” 

The dance concert starts at 7 p.m. tonight with showings at the same time on Friday and Saturday nights at the Crescent Elk Auditorium at 994 G Street in Crescent City. 

Tickets are $3 for children ages 6 to 12, $5 for students and seniors and $10 for adults and are available at the door. Children 5 and under are free. Ticket proceeds are used for scholarships, Pena said.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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