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The Mirror

The student website of Van Nuys High School
Van Nuys, California
The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

They’re All that Jazz: Ms. Partida’s first period strikes again

Despite smaller than average numbers, Ms. Reesa Partida’s first period musical theater dance class once again produced a successful showcase.
Junior Cenna Marie Falliciano and sophomore Dilan Patton preform a number from “Bonnie and Clyde” at the showcase.

Ms. Reesa Partida, one of the school’s two longtime dance teachers, faced a problem at the beginning of the school year.

Only a handful of students signed up for her first period, a musical theater dance class.

The students and Ms. Partida were worried, as last year’s class had a healthy total of 30 dancers.

Yet, the students and Ms. Partida were able to keep the annual Musical Theatre showcase tradition and class afloat, putting on two performances this May. 

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Each year, the class spends the school year discussing ideas on pieces to perform. 

With numbers featuring a majority if not the entirety of the class, Partida holds auditions for solo parts often. 

“The preparation process for the MT showcase is mostly student-based, given that we get to choose the group and solo songs we want to perform,” junior Caenna Feliciano says. “Throughout the whole year, we choose group songs that we like, audition for roles and then Ms. Partida directs and choreographs the numbers for us.” 

Students who aspire to bring their own performances through solos, duets or trios undergo the same process, auditioning in front of the class. 

“Preparation was stressful yet rewarding, as I personally had quite a few numbers to prepare, from a solo, duet, all the way to a four piece harmony quartet,” sophomore Dilan Patton says. “The show really grounded me and made me really remember that no matter how small the show is, I still have to work hard.”

Each performance varied in lighting, costumes, choreography and performers. Through each number, it is clear to see the close-knit friendships amongst the performers, and their mutual love for the art of musical theater. 

Ceena Marie-Falliciano and Eva Padilla-Vega perform a duet from SMASH. (THE MIRROR | IVAN ALCALA)

One of the bigger numbers, “Wait For Me” from the musical “Hadestown,” was performed right before intermission, leaving the audience with a sentimental, impactful performance.

Juniors Julian Pankowski and Eva Padilla-Vega’s short duet stuck out. Portraying Greek Gods Hades and Persephone, the chemistry the two shared was obvious.

While in the brainstorming process, students like to resort to songs that hold some special meaning to them.

“I chose to perform ‘I’m Just Ken’ not just to perform  as an overly dramatic rockstar with a blonde wig and a dance battle and go out with a bang for my senior year, but to hopefully convey the underlying message of the Barbie movie,” senior Griffin Hummel said. “I remember walking into the theatre the opening weekend, just expecting to see a fun, overly pink, comedic movie, but saw an incredible homage to feminism. Everyday I’m surrounded by the most talented, smartest, hardworking women, some of whom have been through the ringer just to get to where we are today, and to grant me the opportunities I have.” 

With a creative blend of articulate dance styles and musical theater songs, each performance greatly varies from the other.

“Gotta Be This or That,” from the musical “Forever Plaid,” performed by freshman Tucker Chandler, sophomore Dilan Patton and juniors Julian Pankowski and Xavier Martin-Porter, held special meaning.

The song was actually put together in honor of Chandler’s father, who originated one of the starring roles in the show.

“‘Forever Plaid’ was my dad’s big break,” Chandler said. “The show also led him to meet my mother, as she had a crush on him throughout the show and was a huge fan for 10 years before they actually met.”

The show also holds a special place in Chandler’s life, as well as his father’s.

“The musicality and harmony has, in a way, twisted itself into my family,” he said. “Literally, there’s an abstract painting above my dad’s fireplace. This show has embroidered its stripes into my taste in music, as well as my sense of humor.”

As this school year winds down, Ms. Partida continues looking for students to join the class and perform in the showcase next year. If you’re interested, talk to Ms. Partida in room 524, your academic counselor or any student currently in Musical Theatre.

My Rating: 10/10

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About the Contributor
Lilit Aprahamian
Lilit Aprahamian, Marketing Manager
Singing, acting, and writing all serve as an entrance into the creative world, and a platform to creatively express my own words and thoughts in an articulated way. It is fascinating to see the flow within poetry, and to bring that artistic side wherever I go. The creative elements within greatly complement each other and have helped me discover who I am. As a new voice to journalism, I hope to bring this insight, as well as my other passions, to a wider audience through my featured writing. When aside from the stage, I drift my focus on volunteering and providing support for children with special needs. Currently, I am involved with Drama Club in my fourth year, now President, and am the Secretary of the Senior Board. I am also involved in the Choir Program as the Class Representative and am Secretary of the Improv Club.
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