CET Dance Classes


CHS senior Ellen Reed practices her turns in front of the mirror.

CHS senior Ellen Reed practices her turns in the mirror.

After spending four hours sweating and moving around in a black box theater, a few CET students decide to stay after for another two hours to participate in CET’s new dance classes, taught by the choreographer of the fall show Rachel Costantino. To willingly dance for a total of seven hours in a school that has few fans set up to take the place of air conditioning speaks to the commitment these students have. “It speaks to who you are.” Costantino said.

Costantino and Quinn Strassel, the director of CET, talked about having dance classes when many CET students were having trouble finding musical theater training in dance that fit with their already busy rehearsal schedules. Costantino offered to provide classes every week, half an hour after rehearsals on Sunday, and Strassel jumped at the chance.

“I wish that there had been something like this for me in highschool,” Strassel said. “I had great acting and vocal training before college; but I still to this day really struggle with dancing.”

 The classes get back to basics, as many CET students  don’t have this early knowledge of dance. Even if they do, Costantino believes it is never bad to review dance fundamentals. The classes break everything down and go at a much slower pace.  

Rachel Costantino gives instruction as students Ellen Reed, Phoboe Bolz, and Max Klarman listen.

The dance class starts with what is called “across the floor,” where Costantino addresses the details in simple moves and teaches terminology to the students.

“We did turns for about an hour,” said Costantino, “just on the left and the right really breaking it down step by step.” After across the floor, the class has a combo. A combo is a dance routine students learn after the end of the class. Combos are similar to routines that may be be taught at auditions or seen in a show. Loey Perpich Jones, a sophomore in CET, wants to study musical theater in the future and is attending the dance classes to prepare. By doing a new combo every week you get so much exposure, you get so used to being moved around which is good in the future for auditions and different shows,” Perpich Jones said.

Even though Costantino says the classes go slow compared to a average dance class, they still are difficult.

“I think that they work you really hard; they are really intense!” said Aris Chalin, a junior in CET. Costantino says that if her students are sore she is proud.

At the end of the class, no matter how sweaty and sore the students feel, they stand in a line, hold hands, and end the class as many shows do: with a bow.