Over a Hundred Students Inspired by Arcadia High's Orchesis Dance Company

By Arcadia Unified School District Digital Communications Intern Jasmine Oang
Orchesis Dance Company dancersODC dance leaders teaching students hip-hop fundamentals

Over a hundred Arcadia High School students joined the school’s Orchesis Dance Company (ODC) for its biannual Open Hip-Hop Class in the Arcadia High Career and Technical Education (CTE) Building. Students of all grades and experience levels jammed out to the popular hip-hop song “I Like It” by Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin. Choreographed and taught by ODC’s Dance Captain junior Talia Yip and junior Jenny Namkoong, the routine drew energy and optimism from participants.

“We get to show people a part of our lives and what we love to do,” Yip described. “We’re allowed to share that through the Open Hip-Hop routine and teach everyone so they can experience it as well.”

Despite the high attendance, participants rotated throughout the mirror-lined room, each getting a chance to be in the front and watch the choreographers from various angles. In addition, ODC members sporting the company’s purple tank top and ODC officers distinguished by a white jersey floated around the room, dancing side-by-side with students and answering questions.

“It was really good overall,” Namkoong reflected, “In the beginning, we were struggling [with the routine] just a little bit, but by the end, I think we got the drill down. [ODC] had a lot of fun, and I think everyone had a great time.”

Attendee and dance student senior Kenna Gao described, “We get to meet new people and learn a different genre of dance. Dancing is just one of the ways I express myself.”

After learning the choreography slowly by eight counts, gradually speeding up the tempo, and then adding the music, participants ended the day by performing the routine in smaller groups and showcasing what they learned. “Our goal was to get everyone dancing and moving, not focusing on perfecting the routine,” Yip explained. “We went a little fast to fit it all in the span of an hour and a half, but everyone looked like they really had fun, so we accomplished our goal.”

What many don’t know is that ODC is self-funded. “All the money we make in this fundraiser goes directly to us and helps us pay for choreographers, costumes, our directors, and more,” Yip pointed out. “This event is one of our biggest fundraisers.”

ODC member sophomore Rachel Lee noted, “We worked really hard and [the ODC members] had a lot of fun teaching and helping others out. We really appreciate everyone who came out and hopefully, they come back next semester!”