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Dance program expresses passion through movement

   Located in M237, the dance studio is a room full of passionate and devoted dancers who step out of their comfort zone through the ecstatic guidance of Victoria Gallegos.

   Though this is Gallegos’ first year teaching dance at Gabrielino, her passion for dance began early on. 

   “I grew up in San Gabriel, attended Coolidge Elementary, and went to private school for junior high,” said Gallegos. “When I was looking to attend Gabrielino, I noticed that there was no dance [program] offered at the school, which played a huge factor in my decision because I knew that I wanted to be a professional dancer.”

   Instead, Gallegos attended Arcadia High School for their dance program. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in dance, she applied to be a dance teacher in the Visual and Performing Acts program at Gabrielino. 

   “It truly felt like a full circle moment for me,” Gallegos said. “I was so excited when I was hired because I now got to offer a brand new program that I did not have access to when I was in high school.”

   Through Gallegos’ instruction and interested students, the dance program was split into Dance 1 and Dance 2, which students can enroll in for Physical Education credit or to pursue their interest in dance. However, there will be an established Dance Team during the next school year. 

   “Within the dance program, my goal is to teach artistic growth, hard work, leadership skills, networking, and preparation for a professional career after high school,” Gallegos stated. 

   This past weekend, the dance department put on a showcase displaying the students’ well-articulated dances, talent, and performances. The showcase featured students from Gabrielino and those from Jefferson Middle School (JMS), another part of the district to which Gallegos dedicates her time. 

   “I’m feeling pretty excited and ready for this weekend’s showcase,” commented Julina Mireles, a sophomore in Dance 2. “We want to give our best performance of the new routines and that is something we have been keeping quiet about and working hard on.”

   With Mireles’ prior experience, she finds enjoyment and fulfillment in being able to express herself through dance. Mireles has been dancing since she was three, rotating from hip-hop to ballet to Folklorico, a traditional Mexican dance. 

   Recently, the dance program performed at JMS Day, its annual welcome for incoming freshmen to preview what Gabrielino has to offer. 

   “Performing on JMS day was exciting for all of us because we wanted to show incoming and potential [dance] students how much we enjoy the program,” Mireles added.

   With the upcoming dance showcase, their main intent is to show students and the district the hard work Gabrielino students have put into crafting and perfecting their dances. 

   “This showcase is also to show my dancers that with their hard work and dedication that is the reason why they are who they are today,” Gallegos commented proudly.

   Minglu Zhou, a senior in Dance 1, practiced ballet in elementary school and resumed dance this school year to continue to express herself through movement. From being signed up for dance by her mom at a young age, the dance program at Gabrielino allowed her to re-enter the realm of dance. 

   “I’m sort of nervous [for the showcase] since the last time I’ve performed on a stage was 6 years ago,” Zhou said. “I do look forward to performing with everyone to show how much work we put into learning and drilling the routines throughout this school year.” 

   Throughout the Dance 1 and Dance 2 program, several routines will be performed, from ‘Rise Up’ by Andra Day to Beyonce, featuring talent from a range of levels. 

  Sherelene Guo, a current senior in Dance 2 started dancing at Gabrielino and has been a part of the program for two years. Her love for performing drew her to dance, where she was able to combine musicality and art into her performance. 

   To Guo, the most challenging aspects of dance are learning combos of the choreography and solidifying the finer details of the performance; however, seeing the formations of the dances come together makes the experience rewarding. 

   As this weekend’s showcase is Guo’s last time dancing with the program, she is optimistic about the event. 

   “I hope people just have fun with our show because as a performer, the best gift that could ever be given from the audience as an entertainer is their energy and enjoyment,” Guo said.

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About the Contributors
Angelina Chung
Angelina Chung, Contributing Writer
Angelina Chung is a Guest Writer for the Tongva Times. Outside of writing, she enjoys Soulcycle, cafe-hopping, and traveling. Angelina's passion for English and story crafting led her to journalism, where she continues to explore and develop her writing skills.
Bren Belmonte
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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