Dancing takes musical performance to new level


“Let Yourself Go” included a tap portion to open the musical (Photos courtesy of Tara Johnson Photography).

Alexis Cornett, Editor in Chief

“The best things happen while you’re dancing” so the song in White Christmas says. And it’s certainly true for this year’s musical performance. With more than five production-type dance numbers and various dance styles, White Christmas and its devotion to dance was unique for a Milford Theatre Company musical.

“There’s lots of musicals where there really wouldn’t be as much dance,” Theater Director Megan Weeks said. “But we think it helps set us apart. When I go to see other high school shows, it’s a big difference that I see what our kids can do and what our shows highlight. It’s a huge piece and I think it keeps the audience engaged.”

Most Milford performances have some element of dance to them, but White Christmas featured different styles, including jazz, swing, partner dancing and tap. With several technically-talented dancers in the cast, the directing staff felt that they could take on the challenge. “We were in a unique situation where we knew we had something that we don’t normally have,” Weeks said. “So we wanted to kind of do that in a way to highlight that we had some high-level dancing seniors too, which was nice to be able to have some numbers that really were unique to them.”

Choreographer Suzanne Jonna plays a pivotal role in the artistry and excellence of the dance elements of the musical. “She will push you so hard,” Senior Angelina Maruskin said. “But that’s because she knows you have the potential for it.” In celebration of her 20th MTC musical, Jonna performed alongside her dancers in “I Love a Piano” for the final three shows.

The opening number for Act Two, “I Love a Piano”, was a six-and-a-half-minute tap number that was a show stopping performance. For the dancers involved, hours of rehearsal were necessary to prepare for the show.

“I think the hardest part about that one was learning how to tap dance for that number,” Senior Vivian Lakin said. “We just had long, extensive rehearsals with a small group of 11 of us. I think that was a big piece to take on, but it was fun because everyone that’s in that group wants to be there, and we’re all hard working.”

The camaraderie between the dancers was essential to their success. “Everyone, especially those in the small dance ensemble numbers, are very, very hard working,” Maruskin said. “They’ve worked so hard to make sure they know the choreography, and they want the dances to be clean.”

Sophomore Ella Hendry saw the Saturday night performance of White Christmas. “I really enjoyed seeing all my classmates perform on stage,” Hendry said. “I feel like it showed off the talents of the dancers and singers a lot.”

There is something inherently special about the beauty of dancing. “I love to dance because it’s one of my forms of expression, to let out all of my emotion,” Senior Ben Sanko said. “I love to do it recreationally with my friends and just have a great time and tear up the floor.”

“Blue Skies” was the closing performance of the opening act of White Christmas.