Twirling Into the Spotlight: EHS Dance Day


Meher Mehta '25

The Edison High School Dance Ensemble, the advanced dance students, and the beginner dance students gather for a photo.


Peppy music bounced off the walls of Edison High School on February 26, 2022. Students ranging from elementary through high school all gathered to celebrate their shared passion for dance. As the first in-person Dance Day since 2020, this event was highly anticipated by the dancers in and beyond EHS. 

Students viewed this event as a massive opportunity.

“I think it’s [Dance Day] a great opportunity to work with talented individuals and have fun,” said Anika Prakash ‘24.

The day started off with the Bollywood dance class (hosted in the cafeteria), taught by Sneha Rajagopalan ‘23. The students consisted of both boys and girls, most of whom were elementary schoolers. Rajagopalan started off the class by leading them through warm-ups to a popular Bollywood song. The instructor worked slowly to make sure that every student understood, and the students were able to catch on fast. 

After warm-ups, the students took a quick break before they had to move on to the next activity. The kids had to learn a dance to a Bollywood song that they would present to their parents at the end of the day. Rajagopalan encouraged them to keep trying despite initial failures. Eventually, they could perform the dance without their teacher’s guidance, despite the fact that they were only beginners. 

“It was fun. I could see some of the kids who really got into it, and I liked seeing how much they enjoyed Bollywood. I hope they’ll ask their parents to continue dancing,” said Rajagopalan. “It was very interesting because I could sense that they [the students] were looking up to me. This was both metaphorical and literal, since they were so tiny. They would ask me for help, and it felt great to be making that difference…You could tell that there were different types of students. Many students paid attention and asked many questions. On the other hand, there were some students who weren’t as interested. Essentially, good students need good teachers and good teachers need good students.”

Ms. Vicki Jenkins, the dance teacher at EHS, was the advisor to this year’s Dance Day. Though she did not teach any of the classes, she made sure to help out where and when she saw fit.

“Just seeing their [the young kids’] enthusiasm was enough for me. Watching my own students have the teaching experience was also great,” said Jenkins. “When I teach younger kids, I approach it the same way as I approach my lower level classes for the older kids. The foundation of it all is the same—it’s just how you change up the foundation. It’s also important to give the younger kids suitable steps so they don’t get hurt.”

The Bollywood class was followed by the Hip-Hop class, which was taught by Alisha Edwards ‘22 and Emily Rodriguez ‘23. Most of the kids stayed for this class as well, and they were joined by a few new faces.

The kids started off by getting to know each other, and then Edwards and Rodriguez led them through warm-ups. After about ten minutes, they all got into learning the actual choreography. Most of the kids did not have any experience with hip-hop—only two girls had ever taken a hip-hop class. The choreography for the dance was a bit difficult and fast-paced, but Edwards and Rodriguez walked the kids through it slowly and patiently. Though the moves were fast and energetic, the kids were able to get the hang of it through practice and encouragement. 

Towards the end of the class, the kids were split into two groups to perform the dance for each other. The kids all cheered for each other, and it was clear that they were enjoying the event. Each of the performances was performed well by each of the students—their practice paid off. 

The last class for the beginners was the jazz class, taught by Micaelynne Correia ‘25. Contemporary dance, the first class for the advanced dancers, was taking place simultaneously in the dance studio. The classes for the advanced students were taught by experienced dancers who worked in places such as Broadway. 

The contemporary class mainly consisted of high schoolers, and throughout the course, their experience with dance was clear. The advanced performers learned a dance as well, but they were not performing for anybody. At the end of the class, they were split into two groups to perform for each other. 

By this point, all of the young dancers had made their way in to perform the dance for their parents, and many of the older students stayed behind to cheer them on. 

Afterwards, the advanced dancers made their way back to the dance studio for their next class—jazz. This class was taught by Athena Petrizzo or “Miss Athena.” Petrizzo trained at the American Ballet Studio and completed a degree in dance and business. She is also part of the Radio City Rockettes, a dance precision company.

“I would say what makes a good dance teacher is having patience and remembering what it was like to be a young dancer,” said Petrizzo.

Overall, Dance Day was a big hit for the students.

“I think my favorite part was learning from such talented people in the dance world and feeling the energy in the studio,” said Shria Prakash ‘22.