On Saturday, March 14th, County Prep dance instructor Heather Warfel-Sandler and 14 dancers attended the NJHS Dance Festival at Union City High School. It was an event filled day which included adjudications of each school’s work, master classes, scholarship auditions, and a performance by several professional NJ dance companies.
County Prep presented two dances for adjudication. The first, titled Herstory, is a piece created by the Dance IV class of juniors and seniors. Through discussion and collaboration, the students in the class came up with the concept to use various personal stories as a background for the dance, in order to present a dramatic dance that would challenge them to be expressive and vulnerable on stage. The music for the piece includes recorded text of the dancers themselves sharing their experiences, and the movement was created by the dancers as they were inspired by each other’s stories. The piece made a strong impression at the festival, with members of the audience being moved to tears.
The second piece, Ready, was choreographed by Ms.Warfel-Sandler. It is a lively, physically demanding dance created especially for the advanced dancers in the 407 Dance Company. It was also very well-received, as several dance professionals in attendance commented on the ‘precision’ of the dancers and the ‘finely crafted choreography’.
“I was stopped several times throughout the day by fellow dance teachers, who told me how moved they were by our work,” says Ms.Warfel-Sandler. “Others were impressed by the creativity, professionalism, and movement quality of our students overall throughout the day. I’m very proud of how our dancers represented County Prep. We were able to introduce the NJ dance community to what our program is about, and I’m very excited that so many understood and appreciated our vision.”
Thanks to Ms.Cristen Pennello and Union City High School for hosting the event, and for the unique opportunity to network with both young and professional NJ dancers in a non-competitive atmosphere – a great success for everyone involved.