Over 50 dancers from ages 4 and up entertained an appreciative crowd in several styles at Friday’s Spring Showcase.
The annual event, held at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School in John Day, is also the kickoff as the Grant Union Gold varsity dance team prepares for this week’s OSAA Dance and Drill Championships.
Dance groups performing at the showcase included the youngest Level One group, taught by Autumn Holland with assistant Caroline Colson; Level Two taught by Trista DeRosier; and Level Three taught by Megan Cameron.
These three groups and the junior high competition team, the Gemstones, practice at the Body Fitness & Dance gym, while the Grant Union Gold operates through the school.
Kattie Piazza is a first-year coach for the varsity dance team, and she coordinated the showcase. She took over where former coach Shannon Adair left off.
“I was super honored with the turnout,” Piazza said.
Besides coaching her team and serving as emcee for the evening, Piazza also performed in a duet with Gemstones coach Becca Batease and was part of a mixed-age group performing a hip-hop routine choreographed by Adair.
Other performances included solos and duets.
Seven-year-old Jaylan LaDuke danced with the Level Two group in costumes with poofy pink skirts, performing to Meghan Trainor’s song “Dear Future Husband.”
“I loved it,” she said of the event. “I love having Trista as my coach and dancing.”
Batease, a Grant Union senior, said the Gemstones will be “very ready for state in April.”
Gemstone dancer Halle Parsons said the team performed well. She also was a part of the hip-hop performance. She said she loves the opportunity she has to express emotions through dance.
“Our team is open-minded and able to say what’s on our minds which helps us improve,” she said.
Senior Reannah Lemons performed with the varsity dance team as well as a solo routine. She said she’s looking forward to state this week.
“This team has grown tremendously this year, and I’m excited to see how we place,” she said.
The Grant Union Gold topped off the showcase event with their performance themed “Revolt.”
A poem at the beginning of the presentation, reads, in part: “They said I couldn’t do it. Be grace. Be power. ... Prove them wrong.”
Piazza said she was proud of all the dancers who performed at the Showcase.
Her team will leave for state Wednesday, March 15, and perform at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 8:10 a.m. Thursday, competing with 1A through 4A teams.
“The high school team performed the best I’ve seen them so far this year, and I’m excited that we got to perform for our home town,” she said, adding she’s encouraged by the size of the local dance programs. “I hope it continues to grow and that we can continue to serve the community.”