Newsies cast members participate in dance training

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Dance class members practice tap dancing for Newsies

In the dance classes leading up to Newsies auditions, potential cast members refine their tap dancing and rhythmic skills.

Terry Hendricks teaches a two-hour-long dance class for a wide range of students on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the PAC, most of whom are looking towards being in Newsies. Among these students is junior Markos Buhler.

“We’ll come in for the first hour and learn tap, which will play a part in Newsies, and then for the second hour we’ll be getting our bodies in shape, stretching, trying to become more flexible, and learning cartwheels and spins,” Buhler said.

The amount of experience students have with dancing and drama productions varies greatly.

“There’s people who have been doing tap all their life, there’s people who have done it in a show before, there’s people who did it when they were super little, and then there’s people like me who have never done it before,” Buhler said.

Sophomore Paige Williams, on the more inexperienced side regarding the Jesuit drama scene, shares how the class helps her specifically.

“I’ve never done a Jesuit show before, so I’m excited, but nervous, which is why I’m doing dance classes so I can actually be prepared for auditions,” Williams said.

For freshman Alannah Connolly, who has been tap dancing for 12 years, the dance class offers more than just developing skills.

“It’s super fun to get to know people at dance classes, and it’s a really nice place to talk to people about having things in common, especially for freshman,” Connolly said.

Because there’s such a wide variety of people taking the dance class, Terry structures it so as to cater to everyone’s level of experience.

“Usually she splits us up into the advanced groups and the non-advanced groups,” Connolly said. “There are a couple of us in the advanced group who do wings and new things that we’ve never really done before. A lot of the non-advanced group is learning basic things and combos that’ll help them build up their skills.”

The class builds everyone’s tapping skills up so that when the play comes around, the cast will be that much more prepared.

“We’ll play any song that has a good beat to it, and increase the speed of it,” Buhler said. “We’ll try with slower speeds to get the hang of it, and then try faster and faster so we can get more precise and better at it. Tap is one of the things that you can hear every step, so we have to work super hard for it to sound really good.”

Specifically for Newsies, the class introduces parts of the major tap dancing numbers to students, in even further anticipation of the play.

“There’s two or three songs in Newsies that are tap,” Williams said. “They’re just teaching us all of the basic steps so that when we do the show, they can put those together.”