Dancers rehearse for Sky-High's last Mass Dance Concert

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s (KPBSD) Mass Dance concert April 4th & 5th will be an historic one for alumni, students and faculty of Skyview High School. “This will be the final Mass Dance concert that Skyview High School will participate in,” Terri Zoph-Schoessler told the Dispatch in an interview last week during a rehearsal with her troop, “When the district opened Skyview High School in 1990, I started the dance team with 18 dancers, six of whom were named “Jennifer.” (True story.) In order to match existing programs at Nikiski, SoHi, and KCHS, Skyview had two classes of dance scheduled during the school day. Phil Morin, LuAnn Reynolds, Dawn Thorpe and I scrambled--as choreographers, costumers, fundraisers, set and lighting designers--to come up with dances that students could and would perform. This also meant that we spent a lot of time listening to lyrics to determine if they really were ‘just problem’ when suggested by our wide-eyed students. Each of us dutifully booked our own concerts and, in turn, invited the other high schools as well as any other companies we knew to “our” individual concerts, until that fateful day when Phil and I finally mustered the magic words: “Mass Dance!” (Thank you, Mass Band and Mass Choir, for showing us the way!) With one large annual concert, each troupe could prepare fewer and better dances. Phil built epic dances with massive sets requiring several trucks to move, LuAnn perfected the Star Sensations’ brilliant formations, Dawn’s teams sparkled in amazing sequined suits, and the Skylight Dancers found their own niche with humor and grace. For years, before budget cuts and retirements eroded our dance programs, we met, worked together, helped each other, and danced. Oh, we danced!” said Zoph-Schoessler.

Things change however, continued Terri. “After a time, Dawn Thorpe and LuAnn Reynolds retired. Phil Morin and I took time off for our families and to direct various community projects. Other choreographers took over the dance programs as after-school activities. Somewhere, however, in the back of our minds, the lure of Mass Dance lurked. Three years ago we finally admitted that we missed the camaraderie, so with the help of administrators and theatre managers; we resurrected the Mass Dance tradition. So for two days April 4th & 5th, I am proud to once again--and for the last time--showcase singers and dancers in Skyview’s final Mass Dance concert. We have swing dancers and neon colors, live singers and big lifts, Latin and lyrical, simple movements and complicated sequences and the support of amazing local talents including tap dancers, Peninsula Artists in Motion, Encore Dance Studio and Vergine’s Dance Studio along with Nikiski High and SoHi dancers. We are proud to share the results with you and look forward to seeing a packed house for our final Mass Dance concert,” she said. The Dance concert will be held at the Renee C. Henderson KCHS auditorium with show time is 7:00 PM. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 kids 12 years old and younger.