Kicking it together
Friendships like theirs come once in a lifetime. In four years, seniors Caroline Peh, Jasmine Fan, Colby Wong and Katrina Lau have become inseparable, and as the only four seniors in Dance Team, they now stand as the foundation of Walnut’s award winning team.
Prior to joining Dance Team, Fan, Wong and Lau had been dancing at Dance Corner since 7th grade.
After many Christmas studio parties, family dinners and competitions with the studio, the three became extremely close. From there, Peh, who took lessons at Dellos Dance Studio, became friends with the trio through dance team auditions.
“In 8th grade, Caroline pulled the [dance team audition] paper out of her backpack and asked me, ‘Hey, are you going to audition?’ And it kind of all started from there,” Wong said.
Since freshman year, their friendship has developed through team practices, bondings and hangouts as friends. This year, their collective experience and behind-the-scenes work have manifested in two best choreography awards, one audience choice award and four first places among others.
As seniors, they carry the team in terms of experience and skill, and their chemistry both on and off the dance floor has been key to its successes.
Peh, the captain of the team, relies on the support of her friends to be not only leaders, but also role models for the younger teammates. Where one leader may be lacking the others make up for it: Lau is good at cleaning up dance moves and attention to detail, Fan helps lead and organize the group and Wong often uses her playful personality to lighten tension when practices become too serious.
“[As] the seniors on the team, we’re kind of the mentors or the role models of the team, and the fact that we all so close to each other and we all have the same mindset and goals really helps us lead the team,” Lau said. “Basically, we have to make up the team dynamic.”
The connection between the girls are distinct enough that at times words are not needed. During a basketball game when the music failed to play, Peh was expected to count out loud for the dancers. However, drawing breath and counting while executing perfect turns can be taxing.
“They caught on and supported me, so like they would start counting for me. That was a moment where they just knew [what to do] and helped me in order for the team to succeed.”
One essential component of dance is emotional communication. Interaction between dancers is just as important as connection with the audience when it comes to sparking a fervent response from the audience. This idea has been perfected after years of dance team practices, learning moves outside of the classroom and hanging out as friends.
“You can tell our passion for what we do and our relationship with each other when we dance,” Peh said. “We constantly encourage each other and push one another to go above [our] limits.”
The four dancers will be performing the only senior dance routine together at their spring show.
“It’s the last time we’re performing together,” Wong said. “Knowing that [this] will be the last time we’ll be dancing together is kind of hard to believe because we’ve been dancing together for so long, and just knowing that is really emotional. It’s kind of heartbreaking.”
Although each dancer is accomplished in her own way, together, they form the dynamic necessary to lead the dance team. In their final performance, Wong will bring her lyrical skill to interact with Fan’s emotiveness, and Peh and Lau will tie it all together with their technical prowess and attention to detail.
“Throughout these four years we learned a lot about each there, and getting to know one another takes time. We know each other’s weaknesses and what we aren’t good at but we’re all very understanding. Now, we’re closer than ever,” Wong said.
“I don’t think we will ever find a group of girls this close anywhere else,” Fan said.
By Angela Zhang, Staff writer
Photo by Sara Corona