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Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

A Glimpse Behind the Curtain of Granite Bay High School’s Dance Program

Lincoln Roach
Audrey Benner, a member of the dance team and TI, is seen rehearsing.

Granite Bay High School’s dance program is one of the most popular classes on campus. With one and a half hour long classes, and 90 days in a semester let’s take a look at what these dance classes can accomplish. 

GBHS has four dance classes you have the opportunity to take, starting with Dance One all the way to Dance Four. Dianne Walker and Desirie Milburn both teach this amazing course this semester, and they prepare their students each semester for the dance show. From costumes to carefully choreographed routine, they have every detail covered so that their students are ready to perform to over 500 people.

“She’s really fun and creative. I don’t know how she comes up with so many dances for so many different classes,” sophomore Sophia Dissly said. For 22 years, Milburn has been the dance teacher at Granite Bay High School. Before coming to Granite Bay she professionally danced for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings for eight years and performed for many artists as well. Artists include C & C Music Factory, L.L. Cool J, Run D.M.C., Martina Mc Bride, Mary J Blige, 98 Degrees and Montell Jordan. 

Milburn has danced her whole life. She focused mainly on ballet, jazz and some tap. She continued dancing through high school where she joined her high school dance team and became captain of the dance team senior year. She attended a Sacramento Kings dance workshop where she was recommended to audition for their dance team. However, she didn’t audition for a year so that she could get settled into her first year of college. She graduated from Sacramento State, with a degree in Spanish and minoring in dance. She joined the Sacramento Kings dance team for her last three years of college. She became a Spanish teacher but then started teaching dance classes at the high school. Eventually, she completely evolved out of Spanish and into developing the dance program to where it is today.

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              “I love all the dances. hip-hop is my favorite because it’s so upbeat,” Camryn Gotham, a freshman at GBHS, said. Each dance class learns about five to six dances, all of different styles from contemporary to hip-hop to ballet. They memorize choreography of all genres as well as from different choreographers. The Dance classes have teaching interns (TI) who help choreograph pieces alongside Milburn. Milburn also hires choreographers from both the Sacramento area and out of state to create more great pieces.

In each class they start each day with a warm up. They workout their legs and core to strengthen their jumps and turns, as well as stretching to prevent injury. After that they often do across the floor activities to work on their skills and technique. From there, they learn new choreography and clean dances they are working on for the upcoming dance show that has the pieces the dance classes have been working on.

“Costumes really match the vibe of the dance. For hip-hop we are wearing baggy clothes and for another dance we are wearing bright colors and leotards,” said Dissly. The TIs are in charge of picking costumes for the pieces they have choreographed. Costumes are chosen in relation to the dance style, song and choreography. Contemporary dances generally have flowy costumes like dresses that show the arms and legs in order to best see the appearance of the lines from offstage. On the other hand hiphop generally has baggier clothes.

“Practicing the dances at home and asking questions in class to make sure I am really comprehending the choreography,” Dissly said. With the beloved dance show coming up May 9-11, students taking the class are preparing for the performance. The show is performed in the theater and tickets can be purchased online. Thursday and Friday shows start at seven PM and Saturday shows begins at four PM. 

“They helped clean up routines, especially before the dance show which was a huge help,” Madison Fischer, a freshman at Granite Bay High School said. To dancers taking the class, teacher assistants are a huge help to the comprehension and skills of the dance.  “I just feel like as a leader, a good leader tries to get really amazing talented baby leaders,” Milburn said. In dance Milburn and Walker guides and trusts the teacher’s assistance to give their valued opinions and choreography on the routines.

“Being a TI is extremely rewarding, after lots of time spent into choreography, teaching, and cleaning; seeing the kids pull it all together and bringing the dance to life is amazing and never fails to bring smiles,” Ava Casagrande, a graduated student who was a TI and took dance one through four, said.. TIs work hard to ensure Milburn’s students are prepared for the dance show. The challenges they must overcome in order to clean up, finish choreography, and allow all students to know it by heart are very strenuous. The challenges they face from students missing class weeks before the show to changing choreography last minute, these TI’s make it happen.

“And I think the coolest thing afterwards is students overcoming that fear (of performing). So I think it’s a really cool life lesson, you were afraid to do it, but you did it,” Milburn said.

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About the Contributors
Elyse Patmon
Elyse Patmon, Staff Writer
Elyse Patmon is a freshman at Granite Bay High School. This is her first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.
Kaitlyn Beckham
Kaitlyn Beckham, Staff Writer
Kaitlyn Beckham is a freshman at Granite Bay High School. This is her first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.
Lincoln Roach
Lincoln Roach, Staff Writer
Lincoln Roach is a freshman at Granite Bay High School. This is his first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.

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