Photo Credit: Henry M. Holden
By Henry M. Holden
On Thursday, May 30 and Friday May 31, 2019, the Randolph High School Dance Department packed the school’s spacious auditorium.
Michele Adriano, Dance Program Director, created the Randolph High School Dance Department in 2008. She was initially drawn to Randolph when she discovered they did not have a dance program.
“It gave me the opportunity to just build a program from my own vision,” explained Adriano.”
The opportunity to start the program on her own excited her. Since its start, the dance department has reached a new level of 120 students participating this year.”
“When I first started teaching, many people questioned why the high school was starting a dance class. ‘You teach dance? Is that even a real class?’ doubters questioned.
Today, the answer is obvious. Over time, the program has become an integral part of the fine, visual, and performing arts department and it has great support from the board of education, administration, staff, student body, and parents.
“Dance education allows students to communicate ideas and express thoughts and emotions creatively through movement,” said Adriano “I believe that dance is an equalizer, offering multiple levels of success for the many different types of learners we encounter in our classrooms. I have seen the enormous amount of self-worth and gratification students feel daily as they discover, create, teach, and perform movement. I advocate for the inclusion of dance education in all schools.”
In early March 2019, Michele Adriano became seriously ill, had major surgery, and is currently at home and on the road to recovery. Standing in for Adriano is a well-accomplished professional dance teacher, and former teacher and choreographer for Roxbury High School, Mrs. Melissa Reardon.
“Mrs. Adriano has done an incredible job building and maintaining the program, and all of the students have stepped up to help out in every way possible” said Reardon. “It is evident how much everyone loves her and the program and the overwhelming amount of support and encouragement I feel here daily. The students, staff and administration have been wonderful. I am happy to be stepping in to help this wonderful and amazing program.”
All the dancers went on to echo the words of Adriano and Reardon expressed through their self- confidence, spirit, and accomplishment in the creative and exciting dances they performed.
The showcase opened with a video message from several of the 30 graduating seniors, on what dance meant to them, and how incredibly inspired they were by Mrs. Adriano. The video was created and edited by Malina Ruiz.
Of the 24 dances on the program, nine were choreographed by Mrs. Adriano and Mrs. Reardon. The other performances were created by the students. Three of the senior students, Maura Holden, Julia Pepe, and Becca Jacobson were student teachers and were given floral bouquets at the closing as special recognition for their efforts during the year.
Some of the dances were an updated nod to yesteryear. The result was a remarkable collection of new performances and some of the top dances from days gone by, ranging from Jazz and Swing, to Rock and Hip Hop.
Peppered into the mix were solo performances from ballerinas Jenna Bachrach, Charlette Gu, Katelyn Power, and Julia Pepe.
The showcase opened with Queen, choreographed by Maura Holden. It revisited Freddie Mercury’s famous “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Don’t Stop Me Now.”
“Believe,” choreographed and performed by Jenna Bachrach was a refreshing look at Cher’s “Do You Believe?”
#TBT/#FBF was a modern look at earlier songs by the Chordettes Remix (Mr. Sandman), The Marvelettes Remix (Please Mr. Postman), District 78 and Pitbull, performed by the Period 3 Dancers.
Heroes choreographed by Karen Hull, Laura Murillo and Alyssa Waters featured the music of Kelly Clarkson.
Swing was choreographed by Mrs. Adriano and Mrs. Reardon and performed by the dancers of Period 2. It featured music ranging from actor/jazz singer Valarie Pettiford, Jurassic 5 (an alternative Hip Hop group) to the music of Benny Goodman and his Orchestra. From the glittering gold of the costumes to the crescendo of the music to its finale it was one of the most memorable performances.
The evening could only be described as performances glittering like the lights on Broadway
One final surprise was Mrs. Adriano walking up on stage to accept a bouquet of flowers and a tumultuous standing ovation from the entire assembly. Mrs. Adriano expressed her gratitude for Mrs. Reardon’s standing in for her and doing such a magnificent job. She also said she was looking forward to returning to her duties in time for school in the fall.