Kaska started this program last year with one first period dance class consisting of about sixty to seventy students and one small dance team with about six students. The program and class has since then expanded and continues to make a bigger name for themselves. This dance show was the first of many events the dance team and class will be involved in for this year and the future. Students enrolled in the dance class not only learn dance moves which include ballet, hip hop, jazz and tap dancing but also learn dance history, menial kinesiology and lambon notation. The dynamic of the program is similar to that of a physical education class in that the students are graded on participation, asking good questions, having a positive attitude, and being on time. In fact the students can also elect to have the class be considered for their physical education or art credit.
The program is unique in that those students involved in the junior varsity and varsity teams to not necessarily have to be enrolled in the first period class, yet all students must audition and show dedication to be a part of the program to any extent. Dance is an ‘A through G’ required course by State matches with other arts- has its own set of standards.
Aside from Mrs. Kaska who is primarily the main coordinator and ad visor for all things dance, choreographer Margarita Cruz, also Mrs. Kaska’s teachers assistant during her first period class works to move the dance team and class forward. Cruz, a competitive gymnast and dancer, gives input in the choreography of the dance, the music and the overall production of any big dance events.
The funding of the dance program however still relies heavily, solely on Kaska who says “dance is negative money right now” due to her personal contribution of dance costumes and shoes, the biggest expense the program faces aside from being able to fund dance shows. The dance shows do seem promising for the program’s pocket as the eight hundred and five dollar earnings from their very first show displayed.
In the future of the program Kaska has plans to expand and make more knowledgeable and passionate dancers of her students. “We hope to get a guest choreographer, so its not only me, that would be great.”
The dance program also plans on participating in the District Dance Festival at Newport Harbor this coming June. The District Dance Festival is a production with the dance programs from Newport Harbor, Corona Del Mar and Costa Mesa, coming together to perform and support each others programs. CDM and Newport Harbor both being strong programs focused around performance not competition, which Kaska hopes to build her program up to be. Kaska and the team also will be a part of the Battle of sexes rally and will be planning for their Spring Dance show which will be similar to the Fall Dance Show except with new music, duets, and solos. She works towards these goal by meeting with fellow coordinators during teacher planning days including dance teachers from other schools as well as CMHS arts teachers like Gilboe, Lindfors, and Piazza.
Originally she wanted a teachers dance number yet they got to busy, so she plans to hold a production one night in June highlighting them solely, with two show times to encourage more teachers to join.
Mrs. Kaska shows her qualifications for the position and solo dance advisor with her Bachelor’s degree in dance accompanying her Masters degree in teaching. Kaska says her “first love is dance” and the students seem to notice. Students describe Kaska as “very patient and loving, never yells or gets mad; one of those teachers you can call when you have a problem out of school.”
While this is her first time starting a dance program at a school, she hopes to see it evolve and move forward to a good program and really have its place on the Costa Mesa High School campus.
Written by Nakita Rico