The showcase must go on

High schoolers work together to get performance ready to go

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— Organizing two dozen teen-age girls on stage for a finale piece for the Steamboat Springs High School Dance Showcase looked like a daunting task, especially with no song picked out and none of the dance choreographed yet.

But co-director Abby Fritz took the job Wednesday night head-on.

"This is about all of us on stage together," she said to young dancers. "Not who can do what move."

She rallied the girls from their seats in the school theater, got them on stage and began working with her fellow directors to put together a few simple moves for starters.

About 15 minutes later, Fritz was counting to eight to mark the beats while the dancers worked through the dance moves that will make up the beginning part of the routine.

"That's pretty good," Fritz said, with a slight hint of surprise in her voice. "Ready, next part. Next part!"

She started counting again and the dancers continued with their newly learned choreography.

"That's OK," Fritz said. "Now all we need is a song."

It's not always easy organizing the annual dance showcase at the high school.

"It's entirely student-run," co-director Jessica Toothaker said. "We do lights, costume, music and choreographing."

That is a lot of responsibility falling on some young shoulders. There are no adults to make the girls come to rehearsals. No dance coaches are there to make the dancers work as a unit and solve problems with creative differences. It's just the students putting together a dance concert all on their own.

"It's very challenging," Fritz said. "It's hard because it's students trying to tell students what to do. It's hard to be authoritative to people you are the same age as."

There have been some differences and some challenges this year, but the show will go on.

The showcase has five directors, all high school seniors. Along with Fritz and Toothaker, Katie Noble, Amryn Richards and Liz Salzgeber take on the responsibility. Each was hand-selected by the directors of last year's performance.

"Fortunately, the directors are really close. So it made it easier," Toothaker said.

They picked all the dances to be performed. Each piece, except the finale, was choreographed by one of the dancers and pitched to the directors before rehearsals started.

The directors are then responsible for making sure each routine is ready for show time next week.

About 50 girls dance in 11 different routines in the show, which cover a variety of styles.

Hip-hop is the core of the showcase, reflecting the dancers' taste in music, but some pieces also cover African, salsa and ballet styles.

"We tried to have as much diversity as we could," Toothaker said.

This year's theme for the showcase is "Dancing for a Better Place" and some of the proceeds will be given to Planned Parenthood.

The dance showcase will be performed three times next week, at 7 p.m. Jan. 30 and 31 and Feb. 1 at the Steamboat Spring High School Theater.

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