Ten years ago, when Westview High School first opened its doors, a group of dancers eager to start a dance team was fortunate enough to find Shannon Parker to lead them. Parker, a credentialed dance teacher and coach, formed the Westview Dance Troupe in 2002. Currently with 20 students, the troupe practices their dance skills in Advanced Dance class during the school day and puts on various performances in addition to competing in many competitions, including the US Nationals.

Parker’s philosophy about dance troupe addresses the development of the whole human being. “As students dance, their innate creative abilities provide them with capabilities for spontaneous response and discovery of aesthetic form,” said Parker. “Dance Troupe can teach self-assurance, good manners, self-discipline, physical fitness, poise and how to work as a team. It can teach young men and women to share with others, to set goals and work toward them.” In addition, Parker believes that dance team reinforces values such as pride, confidence, honesty and maturity, the same values that most parents emphasize.

Being a part of the dance troupe is hard work, as most dancers train at a studio at least four evenings a week. Parker trains with them three times per week and spends another five hours a week in practices. All their dedication has been well worth the effort though since the team won four different divisions and two solo divisions at the 2011 US Nationals. “We also won a sweepstakes award last year – the highest score of the entire lyrical competition,” said Parker.

All troupe dancers are required to study choreography and produce a dance piece for one of the two fundraising concerts they put on each year. The troupe is primarily funded by revenues from the concerts and a silent auction, as well as donations from the families of the dancers.

Upcoming events for the troupe include various competitions in Southern California during February and March, the Poway Dance Festival (April 24 & 26), and Act for the Arts Festival (May 11). Last is the annual spring dance concert, the X Factor (May 30 & 31, June 1). “This year is a big celebration, as it is our 10th anniversary, “ explained Parker. “We are doing a special tribute to some of the best pieces we have seen on our stage over the past 10 years.”

Many of Westview’s dancers have gone on to major in dance and dance professionally; there are several alumni dancing in New York and Los Angeles.

 

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