Seniors take first place in East’s Disney-themed Spirit Week Dance Competition

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Lucas Tang ('23)

The seniors won the Spirit Week Dance with their Hollywood Studios themed dance.

This year’s Spirit Week Dance took place on November 20, in Cherry Hill East’s DiBart gym. A staple of East’s Spirit Week festivities, everyone from students to family to alumni gathered to watch the highly anticipated dance competition on Friday evening.

All four grades put on fantastic performances, but it was ultimately the seniors who grabbed first place, which not only crowned them as the winners of the dance competition, but also Spirit Week as a whole. The juniors came in second both for the dance and for Spirit Week overall, followed by the sophomores (in both the dance and overall), finishing off with the freshmen in last place.

The theme for Spirit Week this year was Disney, with each of the classes focusing on a different Disney park. The freshmen represented Epcot, the sophomores Animal Kingdom, the juniors Magic Kingdom, and the seniors represented Hollywood Studios.

The dance marks the culmination of a week of school spirit events, including dress up days, booth decorating competitions, a schoolwide volleyball tournament, pie eating contests, tug of war, and more.

“While [the] pie eating contest and tug of war are fun, nothing compares to the feeling of successfully pulling something off that took two weeks of daily practice,” said student body president Devyn Levin (‘22).

For the dance competition, each of the classes came up with a choreographed dance based around their theme park. Over 200 students across all four grade levels were involved in the dance and for weeks leading up to the performances, each of the classes put plenty of hard work into planning, choreographing, and practicing their dances, as well as making props for their performance and designing their matching class T-shirts.

“I’ll be honest, at times the process can be grueling,” said student body vice president Gina Liu (‘23) about the intense amount of preparation and practice that goes into getting ready for the dance. “But the end result is what’s worth it,” Liu continued. “Seeing our class’s effort manifested into a dance complete with a boy’s part, a girl’s part, a partner dance, props and banners is an amazing feeling.”

First to take the stage for the competition was the freshman class, who had selected Epcot as their Disney theme park. Dressed in matching black t-shirts with Epcot’s iconic “Spaceship Earth” ride on the back, the class of 2025 featured a medley of songs iconic childhood Disney movies in their performance, including remixes of “Just Keep Swimming” from Finding Nemo and “How to Build a Snowman” from Frozen. Additionally, since Epcot is known for their World Showcase, the freshmen also danced to various foreign language songs, including “Dinero” by Trinidad Cardona and the viral TikTok song, “Nuestra Cancion” by Monsieur Perine. What the freshmen may have lacked in experience they certainly made up for in effort and energy; their fun performance set the tone for the rest of the night.

“My favorite part about working on the dance was meeting new people and being able to try something new with my friends,” said Chloe Lin (‘25). Even though they came in last place, the class of 2025 pulled off an entertaining performance, especially considering it was their first time participating in the competition.

Next to perform was sophomore class, whose theme park was Animal Kingdom. Decked out with animal ear headbands and matching white and green shirts, the sophomores started their dance off with “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, before launching into “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King and other Disney songs including “Hakuna Matata” (also from The Lion King) and The Jungle Book’s “Bare Necessities”. The class of 2024 showcased exciting choreography to songs such as “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, “Africa” by Toto, “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry, as they led the audience through the world’s different animal kingdoms, from the ocean to the savanna.

“I think one highlight [of our dance] is the partner dance [to “Animal” by Neon Trees] because everyone had a ton of fun with it and I think it ended up looking really great,” said Jillian Koenig (‘24), one of the sophomore choreographers. The sophomores’ dance was a great performance all around and earned them third place.

Soon after, the juniors took the stage, clinching second place with their performance. The class of 2023 represented Magic Kingdom, home of Disney’s trademark Cinderella’s castle, which they featured on their sky-blue T-shirts. After starting out the dance by forming a Mickey Mouse shape, the students quickly transitioned into B.o.B’s “Magic in Me”. They then took the audience on a tour through Magic Kingdom by featuring segments representing different parts of Magic Kingdom such as Main Street USA and Adventureland. After lively choreographies to “It’s a Small World”, “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid, and “Be My Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, the juniors capped off their performance with Katy Perry’s “Firework”, filling the dance floor with the twinkling neon lights of their glow sticks. With their creative props (including a colorfully decorated wagon modeled after the famous Walt Disney World Railroad, which was rolled out during the “Main Street USA” segment) and impressive synchronization, the juniors climbed to second place with an overall top-tier performance.

Even with the other grades’ impressive dances, the class of 2022 — the winners of last year’s competition — once again came out on top with an exciting, creative performance that had the audience on its feet. Representing Hollywood Studios, the seniors kicked off their dance with the 20th Century Fox opening, complete with fanfare blasting from the speakers and spotlights flitting around the darkened gym. The lights then flickered back on to reveal the seniors, matching in dark blue T-shirts, on their trip to Disney. When asked where they wanted to go first, the response was unanimous: “Hollywood Studios”! The seniors embodied the glamour and charm of the Hollywood world, dancing to songs including “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga and “Welcome to Hollywood” by Beyonce. With roughly 100 students (the biggest turnout of all the dances), the senior dancers performed with unmatched energy and school spirit. From the boys’ dance to the “Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster” segment to the countless tumbling passes incorporated into their routine, the seniors had the crowd going crazy throughout their performance. There were also more sentimental segments, such as the seniors’ partner dance to “You Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story.

“My favorite part of the dance is always the partner dance because it’s usually sentimental and it is always special doing it with my best friend,” said Levin, who has participated in the dance in all four of her years at East.

For the finale of their last East Spirit Week dance ever, the seniors formed a “22” to represent their class year and danced to Big Time Rush’s “Famous”, electrifying the crowd.

The seniors’ above-and-beyond performance earned them a first place finish from the judges and an overall victory in Spirit Week 2021. Nevertheless, all the grades put on performances to be proud of and hopefully had an enjoyable time as well.

“[I loved] seeing everyone smile and laugh during all the practices,” said sophomore president Crystal Yeh (‘24). For many students, no matter the contest results, the Spirit Week dance is a memorable experience where they can have fun with their friends and classmates.

“I come back every year to be a part of [the dance] and I think it’s a one of a kind East experience,” Liu said, “Everyone should try it out at least once.”