Dance for Fitness ventures to Hippodrome Theatre
As a part of John Carroll’s elective class Dance for Fitness, I would never have thought I would get the chance to dance with a professional dancer on Broadway. This opportunity was given to both sections of Dance for Fitness as well as other dancers in the school to help fill the class on April 3.
Our field trip officially began around 2:25 p.m., when we left JC and headed to the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore. We walked into the theatre at 4:15 p.m. for our dance class at 4:30 p.m. As a person who doesn’t spend a lot of a time in the city, it was exciting to see the historic Hippodrome Theatre, beautifully restored with red velvety seats and ornate ceilings.
As we walked into the dance studio we met Whitney, our dance instructor, who would later play Ethel in the play we would get to see called, “Memphis.” Just like any other strenuous physical activity, stretching beforehand is a must. The Dance for Fitness class lined up in rows throughout the dance studio to try and make room, but unfortunately the dance studio itself was too small for our number of students.
As we began to stretch, my muscles complained because I am not a flexible person. Whitney was excellent at preparing our bodies as well as hers for the vigorous dance that lay ahead, as she focused on working our muscles from our toes to our necks.
Then we began to learn the dance to “Tear down the House” from the show. Since this was a play and not simply a dance performance, Whitney educated us not only in the perfection of the moves, but also the need to put the emotion of the character into the moves and personalize them, which is a hard concept to grasp.
As we began to learn the steps to the song, we pushed forward quickly because we only had about an hour to learn the full dance. Whitney told us that this was the usual pace that the professionals have to learn and perfect the dance before moving on to the next song.
Although the dance itself was fantastic, the truly interesting part of the field trip was the knowledge that Whitney shared with our group as well as her ability to instill sheer awe into each and every person on the field trip who struggled to grasp one dance.
After the dance lesson, Whitney opened up the room to discussion as we all tried to cool down. She answered questions ranging from musical theatre to the play itself, and even about the type of industry she is in. After the question and answer session with Whitney, we all changed into our semi-formal play attire and went to dinner at Panera Bread down the street until it was time for the moment we had all been waiting for: the performance of “Memphis.”
The play was phenomenal with its theme of discrimination that is still relatable for students today. The acting, singing, and dancing were all astonishing, especially since we all realized how truly talented these young people were because of our dance class. One dance had us all tired and exhausted, but they had a two and a half hour play with multiple songs to dance to when we only learned one.
Looking back on this field trip, I realized this was one moment in high school I would never take back because it was a unique moment that JC gave me the opportunity to experience.
Megan Foard is a Multimedia Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.