Orchesis to Perform “Revamped” This Weekend


The Orchesis Dance Company said goodbye to almost half of their dancers last year when they all graduated. Female numbers overwhelmed male numbers in previous years, but this year only one male dancer is left in the company. Their annual Spring showcase, named “Revamped” this year, attempts to acknowledge this loss and the dance company’s goal to restructure their dances to better showcase the dancers they do have.

The Orchesis Dance company will perform “Revamped” tonight and Saturday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium. The audience should expect a wide variety of performances: lyrical, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and even theatrical based dances.

“Last year was my first year in Orchesis, and I was the newbie basically, but the seniors took me under their wing. When they left, there were so many tears because all the seniors were leaving and there were just so many of them. The dynamic has completely changed this year since there are only three seniors leaving and so much of the company joined this year,” senior Allison Fair said.

This year, an elite dance group called Puzzle League will come together with Orchesis and perform at the show. They’ve been featuring in Orchesis showcases for three years. The professional group consists of plenty alumni, including Trina Nicolsin, now an Orchesis supervisor, who graduated from Niles West in 2007. She and the crew will be dancing in “Puzzle Dynasty.” The group has a daughter group, Piecemakers, which trains the dancers in a way that they’ll have the skill set to join Puzzle League in the future.

“Right now I’m on Piecemakers, and it’s a really cool experience to learn and be a part of the Chicago dance community,” junior and officer (captain) Jasmine Pumanes said.

Most of the smaller sets are choreographed by the student featured, but some are choreographed by others, like Pumanes’s solo, which was choreographed by Nicolsin. Fair and her friend, senior Andrea Kirincic, are just an example of students who choreograph their solos, or in their case, duo. For the two, it’s their first time choreographing, but junior Nicole Cardona isn’t a first-timer.

“My Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly piece was more about everyone coming together, and my solo piece was based off my dad and stuff that’s happened between us and was more personal. When you choreograph for other people you have to think about their skill set. I also always make a point to ask ‘Does everyone feel comfortable with this?’ because I don’t think it’s fair for dancers to perform a piece they don’t like, because I think dancing is supposed to be fun. And although I don’t have to take into account other people’s skill set or their comfortability in a solo piece, they’re harder to choreograph than a group piece,” junior Nicole Cardona said.

Her MLK dance piece “Stronger Together,” which involved signs carried by the dancers that had phrases like “Love is Love,” and “Make America Love Again,” will be performed in Revamped. It’ll be Cardona’s third year in Orchesis, and she has made friends with everyone in the crew, including Kirincic, who as a senior will have both joined this year and left this year. The goodbye will be bittersweet, as it was last year.

“I regret not joining my freshman year, for sure. This year has been rewarding and fun, and while I can only infer how fun last year was and how crazy replacing half of a team is, I’m so proud of what I’ve done and what the team has accomplished. I’m excited to see the friends I’ve made grow as dancers when I pop in a couple times next year,” Kirincic said.

Contributions made to this story by Lisa Jahjah