Orchesis dancers prepare for their November dance


Ishika Mishra

Saroya demonstrates her crafted choreography for her fellow dancers to the song Sparks by Coldplay.

Ishika Mishra, Reporter

Orchesis dancers prepare steadily for their performances at The Dance show which will take place Nov. 18 and 19 at 7:00 PM in the auditorium.

A focused tension hangs in the air as the dancers focus closely on the way their peer choreographer moves. Stumbling over the freshly learned choreography, the dancers look around at their fellow crew and feel a sense of safety in their pursuit of putting on an engaging performance.

Saroya guides the choreography away from missteps by using the marks on the floor.

“For our upcoming November Dance Show student choreographers have been teaching since early September,” head coach Colleen O’Mahoney said. “I love watching my dancers take on leadership roles of their own.”

One of these student choreographers, Junior Priyanka Saroya, has done so.

Student choreographer Priyanka Saroya searches for corrections whilst the Orchesis members rehearse her choreography.

“Orchesis gave me the opportunity to step out of my shell and take charge,” Saroya said.

“Being able to choreograph and share my vision allowed me to be more appreciative of dance in general.”

Saroya works with passion and thought to create routines for her dancers.

Saroya begins one of five 45 minute rehearsal sessions by describing her freshly created choreography.

“Creating choreography is not a straight line,” Saroya said. “For my dance, Sparks, I started by breaking apart the song: The lyrics, the back rhythm, etc. After I’ve analyzed the song, I turn on the music and improv. I repeat this process multiple times and write down the movements I liked to teach to my dancers.”

The dedication of the performers matches their appreciation for the unifying spirit that they feel Orchesis provides.

The dancers follow Saroya closely as they finish learning the new routine.

“The process is tiring, sweaty, and sometimes stressful,” a junior on Orchesis, Hala Habahbeh said. “But at the end of the day, we come together, as a team.”

Junior Marian Ronquillo mimics Saroya to refine her movement.

“It’s scary, it’s absolutely terrifying, but in the moment the lights are on you and the crowd patiently waits for the music to start, a switch clicks in your head and you’re doing what you know best,” Habahbeh said. 

Latin dance, afro beats, kpop, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, tap, and hip-hop will all be featured at this year’s Dance show.

Colleen O’Mahoney has been coaching the Orchesis team since the beginning of the school year.

O’Mahoney hopes to have a lasting impact with her first time directing the Dance show.

“When I was a student at Palatine High School I was a member of Orchesis all four years,” O’Mahoney said. “I was so grateful for the opportunities I got to perform and the friendships I forged. When I came back, as a teacher, I was ecstatic at the chance to…pay-it-forward.”

Tickets for the Dance Show will be on sale around the beginning of Nov. and also at the door. See Colleen O’Mahoney or any Orchesis member for more information.