Dance department invites the neighborhood

Dance department invites the neighborhood

Dance is communal, bringing in people from all walks of life as performers and as fans. 

That was the concept for the Dance department’s fall concert “Alert the Cul de Sac,” which ran from Friday to Sunday. The concert brought in the dance team from the high school Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences (VAAS).

While there was no theme, most of the dances were created by company members and they covered personal events. 

“Lost in… ILYT, ILYT, ILFA”

The opening performance conveyed a somber tone and introduced a romantic conflict between the two main leads. The choreography by Chair’Donai’ Brooks was powerful and perfectly matched the music, especially when the tempo picked up. Themes of anger and pain could be felt from this exciting piece.

“Venus Vixens”

Minor technical errors did not detract from the overall fun energy of this piece choreographed by theater major Melaney Garcia. Dancers matched the bright pink background with an equally bright and flirty attitude. They made dancing in heels seem easy.


This VAAS piece choreographed by Bradley Boleman and Samantha Tzintzun was immediately dramatic and captivating. The group was impressive and the tricks including lifts and cartwheels were a delight to see.

“Departing Memory”

This piece was centered around the idea that “the collective memory is never as strong as time moves us along.” Artistic Director Brian Moe’s choreography was hauntingly beautiful. The dance featured simplistic movements and audible breaths, which helped to convey the theme. This piece’s ending was captivating as well.

“In the Night”

This routine was compelling exciting. Dexter Amande, Gabriela Freire and Salma Ubwa were in the pocket, hitting the beat hard at every point. The choreography by Jenny Ghiglia and Marae Onsgard featured fast footwork and a fun ending.


This VAAS piece featured structured group work. The dancers choreographed by Bradley Boleman were clearly having a good time.

“Absence of Light”

The second act closed with a piece by the Pierce Dance Company, which featured an intriguing storyline. It was dedicated to those “learning to see without light.” Jasmine Sanchez, the main dancer, was effortless and seemingly weightless in her movements. The piece as a whole was impactful and gripping, from the eerie, dark characters to the  

“Faux Jangles”

Act Two opened with the only solo of the night, a tap piece featuring dancer and student choreographer Katya Castillo. The piece had fun interactions with stairs and platforms. Castillo landed her spins beautifully and was in sync with the song’s tempo the whole time

“Forever in Ink”

This piece featured elegant choreography by theater arts major Joyanne Tracy. It was set to spoken word and a piano cover of Christina Perry’s “A Thousand Years.” Dancers Rachel Logan, Mimi Taylor, and Tracy all had gorgeous extended lines, but it was hard to focus away from Tracy.

“Press Play”

Every dancer’s personality shone during this piece choreographed Dexter Amande, Elijah Aguilar, Derek Zhang and Anya Li. It was beyond amusing to see the dancers’ faces light up with joy as they hit every beat hard with attitude. 

“Bradley’s Angels”

This piece by VAAS was clean, with all dancers in sync for the performance. The group as a whole was strong straight through to the ending, skillfully managing their bandanna props.

“The Salem Sisters”

This broadway number was appropriately set to “I Put a Spell on You.” Dancers from the Pierce Dance Company were fun and engaging, making the performance as a whole enjoyable.

“Haunted by What Will, Was Is.”

This piece was a showstopper. It featured a light and video effect that played with shadows and silhouettes. Technical Director, Lighting Designer and Sound Designer Edward Salas is commendable for the show as a whole, but for this piece especially. Dancers Gabriela Freire and Cheyenne Smith were breathtaking, and their performance could stand on its own even without the screen effects. It was like a museum piece come to life. 


The last VAAS piece of the night highlighted the strengths of all their dancers. The group work was clean overall and the choreography had good transitions.  

“Como Tu”

This salsa piece choreographed by Denise Gibson was fun and flirty and allowed dancers to showcase their personalities. Every couple made the dance their own, drawing the viewer’s eye to all parts of the stage.

Great dancers make audiences want to dance with them, and that was the effect that “Alert the Cul de Sac” had this weekend.