Dancing with the Staff makes a comeback


Roni Minogue

ADP and staff together after the performance

Abria Turner

After two cancelled productions, Ayala Dance hosted Dancing with the Staff live in the newly renovated MPR. The show began on Thursday, November 19th and featured Advanced Dance and Ayala Dance Production the following day. 

Back in 2018, dance teacher Christina Hofstetter came up with an idea that would create synergy between staff and students. Through a revamp of the show Dancing with the Stars, Hofstetter found a way for a group of teachers and dancers to perform alongside one another on stage. She called the final result, Dancing with the Staff.

“My vision was to bring the staff at Ayala and the students together,” Hofstetter said. “My vision is for the students to be able to see their teacher in a different way, in a good light, and to bring the school culture truly to life and onstage.”

The theme for this year’s concert was “The Happiest Place on Earth,” which meant that all of the songs would be from Disney movies. Dance members choreographed two minutes worth of movement to teach to the staff. Each team also planned what props and costumes would be involved in their set.

“I am going to be dressed as Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy, which I realized the big running joke is to call him everything but a raccoon,” English teacher Mariana Jolly said. “So I’m a trash panda and I’m a fox. But I will be giving my best raccoon Guardian performance.”

With Jolly, English teachers Katy Amirtash, Vivian Yeh, and Felicia Mills performed as a group. Each staff department became their own team. 

Yeh competed in the first two competitions, which took place 2018 and 2019. Both times she won second place and was determined to be first this year. 

“It’s my turn,” Yeh said. “I think it’s time!”

Though they put on an entertaining performance and won third place, the counseling department ultimately took first place and won the coveted mirrorball trophy.

“I think seeing the counselors win was definitely a highlight,” Hofstetter said. “I wish all departments could get together like that. It was just really fun to watch them practicing and bringing all sorts of props from home, and just putting it all onstage.”

Regardless of the final result, many people enjoyed the overall experience and environment of the show. 

“I love seeing my coworkers out of their element and even spending time with them,” Jolly said. “Because we come here to the school, but we’re stuck in our classrooms all day long and don’t really get to interact with one another, this is a great opportunity for us to spend some time with our co-workers and colleagues and see them beyond being an English teacher, and I really like that.”

The second half of the concert highlighted the Ayala Dance Production. Groups of students, as well as soloists, were able to perform their self-choreographed material.

Senior Brenda Murillo performed to a song called “To Build a Home” by Cinematic Orchestra.

“I was a little bit nervous,” Murillo said. “It was my second solo I’ve ever done in my entire life, and it felt like a definite breakthrough moment for me. I remembered the choreography. And the audience, I’ve never interacted with the audience so much.”

Throughout the show, the audience cheered as they watched their children, peers, and teachers perform. Much preparation went into this production, and the final result ended well.

“I think the overall experience was stressful, but it was definitely worth it,” Murillo said. “I would definitely go through that experience a million times, if I have to.”