This past month elementary school students from around the city gathered to learn dance and choreography from the Diamond Bar High School dance team.
This year marks the company’s second annual Youth Camp, held on Oct. 10 and will continue on Saturday. Throughout camp, the students participated in dancing exercises, virtual games and a get-to-know DBHS’s dance community.
“Last year it was such a big success that we wanted to be sure we continued hosting the event, even virtually,” Dance Company director Kari Simonson said via email. “Aside from being a fundraiser for the Dance Company, our goal is to share our love of dance with the younger generation.”
During Youth Camp, participants have been learning and practicing a dance choreographed and taught by members of the DBHS company. At the end of their training, students will perform in the Dance Company’s virtual fall concert in November.
“Last year the youth campers were the biggest hit of our fall concert, so it’s important that we include them again this year,” Simonson said.
Members of the Dance Company’s Student Leadership Team are the primary facilitators of the camp and are in charge of leading the campers. The leadership team also manages publicity, community outreach, choreography and instruction for this event.
“The kids (ranging from 5 to 13 years old) and dance company members were separated into groups of three,” junior Shulamite Yang said via Messenger. “Each group was facilitated with a number of [the] Dance Company leaders, sectioning the given two hours into sections for learning choreography and for playing games.”
They played such games as Just Dance, Pictionary and, for the younger participants, Simon Says.
“The first day went by perfectly,” junior Emily Imamura said via Instagram. “We were worried about keeping the camper’s attention throughout the virtual instruction but everything went as planned.”
Next week, the DBHS Dance Team plans to review choreography with small groups of students in Zoom breakout rooms, and will also try recording a performance. Finally, they will learn a collective version of the choreography for every participant to perform together.
“We will also ask the camper’s families to film the kids dancing to the song on their own for the sake of video quality and will edit each clip accordingly if that is the better option,” Yang said. “Either way, the attendees of our Youth Camp will be a part of our concert this fall.”