A Talk With Our Dance Team Captains!

Isabelle Kim (12)
What interested you about the art of dance?
“I was interested in dance at first because I [saw it as a beautiful way to express yourself and a] break from academics. [When I first enrolled in Wilson], I wanted to join a sport and dance stood out the most to me.”

Do you idolize any dancers? If so, who?
“I look up to Mina Myoung due to her stage presence and her style. She [is well-known for] choreographing K-Pop dances such as Red Velvet’s Psycho.”

What is your proudest achievement related to dance?
“My proudest [achievement came] from my freshman year. I had the honor of getting the Rookie of the Year Award [and it was really] meaningful because I did not have much experience during my first year. My hard work paid off and it felt really [gratifying to be] recognized by my coach and teammates.”

What is your favorite song at the moment?
“It would probably be Paris by The 1975 because it is nice to listen to. It is a good song to listen to [if you want to chill and relax while you] drive.”

Contemporary or classical dance?
“I like contemporary better because you can put your own spin on it and it gives you more freedom [with your movements] rather than [feeling restricted with your movements].”

Emily Tran (12)
Did you always know that you were a good dancer or did it take a lot of practice to get where you are now?
“It took a lot of practice. I have been training for 12 years now and [I joined] the dance team as a freshman, [after having been part of a studio for nine years]. It was very educational because [being a part of the studio and the dance team] are worlds apart, but both sides have ultimately helped me become a better dancer.”

What are the qualities of a good dancer?
“A good dancer needs to be open-minded, have the passion to learn and be able to step out of their comfort zone. They also have to be able to take criticism because no one is the best dancer; you can always improve yourself and there is so much more to dance as an art form. Being able to take critiques as a way of growing [is one of the most important qualities that a good dancer must have].”

How has dancing impacted your life?
“When I was a freshman, I was pretty shy. I usually stuck with my group of friends, but when I joined the dance team, [my fellow dancers] helped me break out of my shell. I became closer with the team and they helped me express myself through [the art of] dance. Specifically, it served as a form of expression without [words]. I am very grateful for being a part of the dance team because they not only helped me with my dance skills, but they also helped me feel more comfortable with myself and speaking to others.”

Where do you see yourself a decade from now?
“Hopefully, I am already out of medical school, doing a residency and shadowing a form of medicine under a doctor or surgeon. I [see myself slowly] working my way up [in the medical field] a decade from now.”

Choreography or improvisation?
“I like choreography [the best] because [unlike improvisation], it has set steps so you do not need to worry too much about what people think of you. I used to be shy, so I did not like improvisation, but now, [I am more comfortable doing it].”

Ilicia Marie (12)
What inspired you to join the dance team?
“When I first went to a performance [at Wilson], I liked how [the dance team] executed their [movements] and I could [clearly] see that they had been trained really well. I wanted to be a part of that, [so I decided to join the dance team].”

How do you interact with the dance team despite not having classes in-person?
“[Since classes are online this school year], we do a lot of team building exercises over Zoom. Despite this, I still keep in contact with all of the girls through text. So [even though we may not be able to meet in person], keeping in touch is still important.”

What was the first dance you learned?
“I think that my tryout piece was the first dance that I learned. It was a jazz combo: a really upbeat and technical type of dance with different moves that I had not seen before. That also marked the first time I danced with the team.”

What are your other talents besides dancing?
“Aside from dancing, I [am also in the drama club] and I really like writing. I was drawn to drama when I first learned the basics of acting. [Displaying] your emotions on stage [was what really interested me about the art of acting]. As for writing, I like to write about my days and the stuff that I have experienced in journals.”

What is your fondest memory?
“My fondest memory was when we were all in the dance studio [one day]. One of the boys played Bohemian Rhapsody and we all [sang along]. We were supposed to be working on posters and [when we finally had a] break, we let [loose] and started singing and dancing.”

Ronald Lu (11)
How have you improved as a dancer since you first started?
“I had no experience when I first [joined], so [in the beginning], our coaches have been getting instructors in summer camps that helped us grow. Danny Vela, our coach who recently left, served as an instructor and he taught us dances as a team. From there, I also took opportunities such as choreographing for class dances [that helped me improve my skills as a dancer]. [At the heart of it all, we] learned and improved as the years went by.”

Do you believe that everyone has the ability to become a good dancer?
“[I definitely do]. If they work hard and have the right inspiration and motivation, anyone can become a good dancer. I started [off as a bad dancer just as how] everyone else starts at the bottom. In dance, you have to feel the music and the movements.”

What is the hardest choreography that you have learned?
“During the summer of last year, we had dance camps [that taught us advanced and hard to learn] choreography. The teacher instructs fast and it was hard to pick up on the small details. The music was also fast-paced, [but the most difficult part that] I needed to work on was retention.”

What is your favorite subject in school?
“Computer science is cool because it is not as mentally taxing as [other subjects]. It includes problem-solving and I feel accomplished after working on the code and [seeing my] finished product.”

What is your favorite style of dance?
“Hip-hop [is my favorite style of dance] because it is fun to dance to the beat of the music with striking and clear movements and you can really feel the energy spread around the room.”

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