High School Dancers Take the Stage for Annual Recital
Members of the Carmel High School Dance Team performed like they never have before at the 19th Annual Dance Recital. After overcoming the challenge of working together, while being apart, the dance team members put on a showcase for the community that highlighted their hard work and dedication to their passion.
“It was an honor and a pleasure to be able to host the recital this year,” remarked Tasha Cucinelli, dance team head coach and gym teacher who runs the dance program at Carmel High School. “The longevity of a program holds so much value and being able to continue our long-standing tradition meant so much to me, the students, and even the alumni.”
“We were so excited that we actually got to put on a show,” said Jessica Hunt, coach and graduate of Carmel High School. “We were very nervous that we weren’t going to get to, due to COVID-19. Everyone worked so hard and we were able to learn several different styles this year that some students have never tried before."
The dance performances, some choreographed by the team coaches and many others choreographed by the students themselves, covered a variety of genres, including lyrical, hip-hop, tap, ballet and even some dances inspired by viral dance videos on TikTok. This year presented some unique opportunities for students to work together in virtual settings to prepare for the final recital.
One notable hip-hop performance from the student group “Pump It” was choreographed by the students during a hybrid dance class. Students Marissa Dello-Russo, Tristan Colon, Jennyfer Bassett Lopez, Jennifer Gerace and Ana Nieves, choreographed their performance from varying locations – some were at home, and some were in-person in the classroom. This was an incredible feat as they learned to synchronize their movements during virtual meetings.
“It means so much to me that I could perform with my team, despite the pandemic,” remarked junior Jennifer Gerace, who completed her third year as part of the team. “This team has been a huge aspect of my life, and if we lost our season this year, I would have been devastated.”
Evidence of the hybrid nature of the last year could be seen in a pre-recorded performance that was projected onto the screen in the auditorium to include a student who was unable to be at the recital in-person.
The annual “Rise Up” performance during the recital was a focal point of the night. Rise Up has been a recurring theme for the dance recital for several years, providing the opportunity for the dancers to focus their creative energy on a different positive topic each year. This year’s theme was “Rise Up for America,” which featured choreography to the song This Land Is Your Land while the dancers wore shirts featuring words of positivity on the back. The dancers represented six different classes and only performed all together one time prior to the recital.
"I love dancing, especially with the people on my team. I have become so close with other team members in such a short amount of time. I’m very thankful that I got to be a part of this experience,” noted junior Isabella Gallagher, a first-year team member.
Junior Giuliana Dello-Russo summed up her feelings simply: “I was just so happy to get to be on stage!”
All the evening’s dancers wowed audience members who were in-person and at-home watching a live-stream, which had never been done before. The team was able to provide a live-stream option for the first time thanks to fellow classmates trained in the Maker Space room at the school who helped with the set-up.
“We were excited to live-stream for the first time this year thanks to the Maker Space students who came and set it up for us with Mr. Rainey,” said Cucinelli. “It was such an awesome opportunity to be able to share the recital through the live-stream, since we couldn’t have everyone in-person with us.”
“I was so impressed with the outcome of all the dances,” Cucinelli remarked. “The students learned 17 pieces of choreography during team practices, dance class and on their own time, which is not an easy task! Learning that much choreography is one thing, but then being placed under the stress of performing adds another dynamic and they rose to the challenge.”
Watch a full recording of the recital on the Carmel Dance Team’s YouTube channel.
- Hands In The Air: Choreography by Jessica Hunt; Performance by the 2020-21 CHS Dance Team
- Move Your Feet: Choreography: Giuliana Dello-Russo; Performance by Giuliana Dello-Russo, Marisa Dello-Russo, Ana Nieves, Tessa Thompson
- Here’s To Never Growing Up - Senior Solo: Choreography and performance by Ashley Geist
- Pump It: Choreography and performance by Jennyfer Bassett Lopez, Tristan Colon, Marisa Dello-Russo, Jennifer Gerace and Ana Nieves
- I Remember: Choreography and performance by Rosetta Calogero and Bianca Davila
- 90 Days: Choreography by Jessica Hunt; Performance by Rosetta Calogero, Tristan Colon, Ellyse Davis, Marisa Dello-Russo, Leanna Florez, Isabella Gallagher, Riley Galligan, Ashley Geist, Maesha Hossain, Nikita Osickova, Ashlyn Spinelli and Tessa Thompson
- It’s Gonna Be Me – Original Video Choreography: Performance by Jennyfer Bassett Lopez, Tristan Colon, Jennifer Gerace, Anna-Rose Marino and Ana Nieves
- Rise Up for AMERICA: Original Choreography by Larry Keigwin & Co. and adapted by Tasha Cucinelli; Performance by De’Avion Dalton, Fiona Faccilonga, Katelyn Grgecic, Sophia Piacente, Luisa Spadaro, Jennyfer Bassett Lopez, Rosetta Calogero, Tristan Colon, Giuliana Dello-Russo, Marisa Dello-Russo, Leanna Florez, Riley Galligan, Ashley Geist, Anna-Rose Marino, Ana Nieves, Nikita Osickova, Ashlyn Spinelli, Tessa Thompson, Kate Smith, Coach Cucinelli and Coach Hunt
- Bailar: Choreography by Tasha Cucinelli; Performance by Jennyfer Bassett Lopez, Ellyse Davis, Giuliana Dello-Russo, Marisa Dello-Russo, Leanna Florez, Jennifer Gerace, Anna-Rose Marino, Ana Nieves, Ashlyn Spinelli and Tessa Thompson
- Don’t Stop Me Now – Senior Solo: Choreography and performance by Ashlyn Spinelli
- Look At Me Now: Choreography and performance by CVDT Alumni – Cat Caban, Edan Marcial, Madison Vendel
- 16 Shots: Choreography by Jessica Hunt; Performance by Jennyfer Bassett Lopez, Tristan Colon, Ellyse Davis, Giuliana Dello-Russo, Marisa Dello-Russo, Leanna Florez, Isabella Gallagher, Riley Galligan, Ashley Geist, Jennifer Gerace, Maesha Hossain, Anna-Rose Marino, Nikita Osickova and Tessa Thompson
- Crazy In Love: Choreography and performance by Isabella Gallagher and Leanna Florez
- Once Upon A Dream—Choreography: Madison Vendel; Performance by Jennyfer Bassett Lopez, Tristan Colon, Ellyse Davis, Giuliana Dello-Russo, Marisa Dello-Russo, Leanna Florez, Isabella Gallagher, Riley Galligan, Ana Nieves and Tessa Thompson
- Mama I’m A Big Girl Now: Choreography by Tasha Cucinelli; Performance by CVDT Seniors – Asley Geist and Ashlyn Spinelli
- You Can’t Stop the Beat – Finale: Choreography by Tasha Cucinelli and Jessica Hunt