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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton High dancers to brighten children’s hearts with upcoming holiday performances

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● By Julie Slama

Brighton High Bengalettes, seen here in 2016, will perform the fifth annual holiday show Dec. 11–12. (Julie Lutz/Brighton High)

Children of all ages will enjoy some holiday traditions come to life through Brighton High Bengalettes’ fifth annual holiday show.

“Our children’s show brings back memories of Bob Hope entertaining during the holidays, the Rockettes, ’Twas the Night before Christmas and a magic show coming to life,” said Lisa West, a former Bengal who has been Brighton’s dance director for more than 25 years. “They’ll be stockings, the Grinch, and music box dolls and Raggedy Anns — all dancing.”

The 45-minute performance will be at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 11 and Tuesday, Dec. 12 on the top floor of the Bengal Building on Brighton’s campus, 2220 East Bengal Blvd. (7600 South). Tickets are $5 and are available preceding the show in the school office or for early arrivals, at the door.

“It’s a close, intimate performance which usually sells out because it has become a tradition in our community,” West said.

Before the dancers take the stage for children, they will perform in Brighton’s auditorium at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6 in the winter invitational concert. Tickets are $5 at the door.

“We don’t compete or even have a region, so in the 1990s, I invited a bunch of my friends who also directed dance to come to Brighton. We have about 10 schools perform and it gives students an opportunity to learn from watching each other’s programs,” she said.

Dancers from all of the schools will take two master classes and run through a tech rehearsal the day of the performance.

West said it also gives her dancers more performance opportunities in different venues — a large auditorium, an intimate studio, halftime of the football homecoming game as well as another concert in February.

The February concert, “Dance Company Presents ‘Find your Fire,’” will feature 90 students from ballroom dance and Dance 3 classes as well as the 25-member Dance Company, said West, who teaches four dance classes each school day.

The 90-minute concert will be at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 13 through Thursday, Feb. 15 in the school auditorium.  Tickets are $7 at the door.

Already, Dance Company members performed a number in the fall musical, “Xanadu,” which West choreographed, and they held a fall performance, “Voices,” where the students researched strong women in real life or mythology and portrayed their spirit and qualities through dance.

“Since our school is on trimesters rather than terms like other high schools in our district, we do in six months what other schools do in nine,” she said.

Dance Company students need to hold a 2.5 GPA, be in good citizenship and attendance, and sign a code of conduct. During the year, students also help their community. Last year, Dance Company members helped to package food for the Utah Food Bank over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.

Each April, students learn three dance combinations that showcase their talent to perform at Dance Company auditions before a panel of community judges.

“They bring everything they have so they can show how they can enhance our group,” she said. “This is a group of committed and disciplined dancers who are passionate about what they do. We usually have a couple of our dancers go on in college to dance and three or four of them go on in the field after getting their degrees.”