Thursday, November 17, 2016

We had a Ball, Y'all!

With the Fall Ball taking place 2 weeks ago, many students at GDS prepared by buying dresses or suits, planning dinners, and asking people out on dates. When many think of the Fall Ball, formerly TWIRP (The Woman Is Required to Pay), they think of Sherwood where it’s commonly held, or the fun environment, but few think of everything that goes into the dance. The effort and planning that goes into the dance is, as I learned, very immense for not just the Executive Student Council, but for students as well.

Junior Clarke Phillips did not go to the dance this year but has gone in previous years. She mentioned that when she did go, she “did the whole shebang” before the dance by going to dinner with friends, getting ready together, etc. When asked if she would go next year she said “I might go but I don’t know yet.”

I also spoke with the Executive Student Council asked about the problem that occurred when Sherwood double booked the venue. “I was angry,” Executive Student Council President John Ball  '17 stated. “Planning the dance takes a lot of work. We have to pick a senior theme, book a venue, buy decorations that are within the student council budget, and the hardest part is spreading the word about the dance. We also have to get everything approved by faculty, find chaperones, and finally get a DJ.” When asked about why the dance is always held at Sherwood despite the complaints the Student Council received last year, they responded by telling me that Sherwood is the most economically viable venue and that now by knowing the issues and complaints people had last year, they can take steps to fix the issues and make the dance fun for everyone.

Levi Smith, a junior, said he was not able attend this year. He’s said he does enjoy dances but also admits that they’re not the best because the venue is very small and cramped. “When you’re a freshman there’s this wow factor, you know? The dance seems new, cool, and exciting. It’s the first time you really get to ask people out so it seems like it’s awesome, but as you move up in grades it loses that wow factor. With the name change last year, less people go so it really isn’t as fun.” Another student agreed with this. They said they had gone and that they too would improve the music. “The DJ is always someone much older than us and doesn’t play music we’d enjoy.”  However, he did admit that the dances can be fun if you’re with friends and just having a good time.

People have very different opinions about the dance but most agree that it is a fun, enjoyable event. All the planning and hard work that goes into the event from not only the student council, but the student body as well makes the dance enjoyable, and they succeeded this year as everyone had a ball and it can only get better.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Behind the Scenes of "A Chorus Line"

As you glance across the room the blinding lights create a hazy vision of the hundred or so people sitting in front of you, each pair of eyes staring and examining your every move, creating the strangling feeling in your stomach telling you, “welcome to the spotlight.” You’ve been rehearsing this very moment for months, so what could possibly go wrong? There’s no need to be nervous … but then again, there is. You could miss a step, you could sing the wrong line, you could get a little nervous tummy ache and, well, you know the rest. Either way, this is it. An audience awaits, the music is ready, and the show is about to begin. This is, A Chorus Line.

For the past two months, 24 Greensboro Day Upper school students have been rehearsing their next up-and-coming musical, A Chorus Line. For those of us uneducated on the musical itself, A Chorus Line follows 16 individual actors wishing to “make it” on Broadway. However, not as Broadway’s next top-shot star but as the individuals who have no character name and are simply used for their voice and dance moves. These 16 actors are trying to earn a spot on Broadway’s chorus line.

I attended a rehearsal of the show this past Thursday and I can truly say that this cast may be one of the most hardworking casts GDS has ever had. The work that they put into the musical is significant, and they have spent long nights perfecting the very smallest details. We get to see the final product of the show as they stand on stage, but behind the scenes, they’re also students, high school students who are balancing both their school work and their work in the show. Whether they are piled with AP U.S. History work from Mr. Piacenza, studying for an upcoming quiz in SeƱora Swinton’s Spanish 2, or attempting to finish a load of math homework from Mr. Ross, all of our students show an exemplary ability to figure out how to best handle it all.

Favorite scenes for the cast
Avery Blue '17 (Zach):
My favorite scene is probably “One,” which is basically a number where everybody dances and sings and I like it because it’s where everybody comes together and it sounds fantastic and it shows all the hard work. Everybody is able to show off their practice; it’s just really cool.”

Morgan Winstead '18 (Judy Turner):
“There is a series of songs that pile into one big song called “the Montage.” There’s one part where its Judy’s turn to talk and she runs down and she starts spewing out everything that comes to the top of her head. She talks about how her little sister was a brat and so she decided to shave her sister’s hair off, she talks about how her mom embarrassed her, and that she’s seen a dead body—and that’s all she says—she only says, “that was the first time I ever saw a dead body.” It’s just stuff like that, it’s random, and that’s the best part of the show for me.

Desmond McIntyre '17 (Richie Walters):
“Personally, I love the Montage. It’s really long, but it’s so much fun and it will blow your mind! Also, the ending number, “Bow,” is jaw dropping. You will definitely be in tears, have chills, everything! I love the song and I love the dance.”

Why should people come to the show?
Avery Blue '17 (Zach):
“I guarantee you’ll be able to find somebody that you can connect with on one level or another. You can come out and enjoy the music and the dancing because it’s fantastic. Plus, it’s just a good night to have with your friends and family.”

Morgan Winstead '18 (Judy Turner):
“All of the characters are really relatable and even though not everyone is playing a character that is similar to them, it still feels really human. With shows that we’ve done in the past, it’s felt like that, but I don’t think anyone’s ever felt more connected to their character than we have in A Chorus Line which is going to make it really interesting.”

Hayley Rafkin '17 (Val Clark):
“This show is different than any show we’ve done before. It’s more of a one on one experience and more personal because we interact and make connections with the audience. These aren’t necessarily fictional characters; we’re real people that are portraying a real audience process. So this is more of a story of people rather than characters.”

Laura Tutterow '17 (Cassie Ferguson):
"People should come out because as a senior, it’s very sentimental moment for me and we’ve all been working extremely hard!"

Davis Dunham '17 (Paul San Marco):
"This is definitely the most dancing we’ve ever had to do in a show before. The opening number is completely dancing and its ten minutes long. We dance at the Ballet, then we dance in the Montage but that’s a twenty minute long song. It’s so much dancing, but we’ve all worked extremely hard and it’s going to be an amazing performance.”

Lindsey Cooke '17 (Stage Manager):
“I’m the stage manager for A Chorus Line and I have been really impressed with this rehearsal process so far. This show is a lot different than ones we’ve done before, it’s the most dance-based show that’s been done since I’ve been in high school. They’ve all worked extremely hard and I know the audience is going to be able to see it!”

A Chorus Line runs November 10-13, 2016 at Greensboro Day School's Sloan Theatre. Tickets are available at