Dancers reflect on the hard work leading up to the fall recital


Media: Sarah Bender, Hill photographer

Reet Tharwani ’24 performs her solo piece to the song “Fire on Fire” by Sam Smith.

With broken backs and sore ankles, we were able to suck it up and push through. Only one week left until we had to go on stage with a huge smile glowing with energy. Again and again, with all the free time we got, we were in the studio practicing our numbers from beginning to end. Didn’t know where we were during our free period? We were in the studio. Even with dance class four times a week, we still felt like we needed more practice. Asking questions like: “Did that move look good?” Or, “Did I do that right? Should I change this move? What do I add?” Only after 50 times of trying to add the right thing, we finally felt somewhat confident. 

Finally, on Oct. 29, show day came. There were no flyaways with our hair sprayed to the back of our heads. The rush of adrenaline topped our feeling of nervousness. Seeing other dancers perform before us hyped up the audience and gave us a sense of belonging. It was time to shine. The stage was pitch black, and we could barely see. Walking out on stage, we hoped we didn’t fall. Suddenly the light shined so brightly in our face as we saw hundreds of little eyes watching us. The music started to play as our arms followed. The rest was just muscle memory, and we worried about nothing at all. Performing the work, being rewarded for the commitment we put into it, feeling our enjoyment actually dancing, and seeing the audience react to it as if it was new (because we’ve seen it over and over again) were the most rewarding parts. 

MK Barnhart ’24 performs in the spring 2021 dance recital. (Media: Sarah Bender, Hill photographer)

From Barnhart: I had my dance instructor, Laura Cobbs, choreograph my number. I had reached out to her earlier during the term about our fall dance recital, questioning my long list of song choices and choreography. Both of us eventually narrowed the song list down to one song, and she had thoughtfully come up with all of the steps to my piece. After learning my choreography, I was eager to get back into the studio to perfect the piece within two weeks. When the day of the recital arrived, I was super nervous all day. My one-minute and thirty-second piece was stressing me out all day long. I put on my stage makeup and put my hair into a low bun and was ready to head to the stage. Right before the show, I was on the stage up until the last minute rehearsing my turning section and fixing any last mistakes that I had thought I made. When the show started, I was the second number, and my stomach was turning because I was so nervous. When I stepped onto the stage, my mind was racing, but everything flowed naturally. I expressed all of my emotions in the small time that I was on stage. Laying on the edge of the stage at the end of my piece was the greatest feeling knowing that I did not forget any of the choreography that I had worked so hard on. When I came off the stage, I was shaking because of how nervous I was while performing. The best part about performing is the adrenaline rush before the lights turn on on the stage. At the end of the recital, the entire dance team was so excited because the show went smoothly, and we can’t wait for the spring performance! 

From Tharwani: I decided to choreograph my solo on my own. After finally picking a song that I enjoyed dancing to, I searched online for inspirational dance moves. Nothing came into my head. I was stuck on where to move my arms and feet and what moves were enjoyable to watch. Finally, I came up with most of the dance and all that was left was filler moves. Two days before the recital, I asked Ms. Cobbs to help me with one eight count, and, just like that, my dance was created. Show day arrived, and my hair was slicked back with my makeup on fleek. The whole team huddled behind the curtains cheering each other on. We were all proud of how far each of us came, and we couldn’t wait to choreograph more numbers and make more memories together. 

The winter dance recital will be held on Friday, Feb. 11, with the theme of “lights.”