Spring fever

Kimberly Mei, Staff Writer

     They dance away at every varsity football game and pep rally, impossible to ignore in their red lipstick, sequined uniforms and infectious smiles. Music and grace fill the cafeteria during their morning practices. Once the sun goes down at 7:30 p.m. on April 12,13 and 14, the Planoettes will get to dazzle once more – in their annual Spring Show.

     “It is a year-end review of our competition routines and some new choreographed dances as well, from kick routines in their field uniforms to new styles such as modern, contemporary and lyrical,” Planoette director Meredith Walraven said.

     The program includes team dances, officer dances, sergeant dances, solo dances and elite dances, which are more difficult routines performed by the dancers of the Silver Line (elite dance group) and Maroon Line (elite kick group). As part of their tryout, aspiring officers for next year were each asked to brainstorm a theme for this year’s show. Directors Meredith Walraven and Lindsay Placke decided on the final choice: “That’s Entertainment!”

     “It is all about things people do for entertainment,” junior Natalie Keuss said. “There are routines about the circus, sports and even video games. One of the biggest challenges for me is making sure I remember all of the entrances and formations and things you have to do during the show to make it a success.”

     The Planoettes rehearse before and after school – this week they have been staying late to perfect their routines before opening night on Thursday.

     “The most enjoyable part is getting to be with everyone and all that goes on backstage,” one of next year’s senior sergeants, junior Hannah Champion, said. “The most difficult part is being at school till almost 10 p.m. and still balancing school work. My biggest worry is definitely forgetting a change or new section, since a lot is different from competition season.”

     On certain routines 70 girls must fit onto the stage in the Doyle Dean Performing Arts Center. Having many transitions allows all the Planoettes to get their turn in the spotlight.  

     “Setting 70 girls on our theatre stage is the most difficult part,” Walraven said. “It is small left to right so you have to have more depth in your formations than width, and that in turn hides more girls towards the back, so we really try to ensure everyone is in front at some point or another. Every year there is some level of stress in getting all of our contest numbers reworked to fit on our stage and getting the lighting and emcees together, and new routines set and clean in time.”

     The theater tech crew is helping to enhance the show by ensuring that special effects, such as lighting, are perfect. Theater tech is working around any schedule conflicts that have popped up, to ensure that the show goes on.

     “Lighting is another part that is difficult,” Walraven said. “We work with our amazing theater tech crew but this year has been the first since I have been director that the UIL one-act play has advanced, and it is on one of our show nights. That has been difficult, but Mr. Arp and the students have been very flexible and willing to help. We are very lucky for a great theatre department here at PSHS to help us put on our best show.”

     Despite the stress, Champion said that she cannot wait for the curtains to open on Thursday.

     “I am most looking forward to getting to show everyone how far we’ve come throughout the year,” Champion said. “Audience members should expect a very unique and awesome range of dances, from lyrical to jazz, that really highlight our team’s strengths, as well as some amazing music and costumes. I would say that anyone who isn’t planning on going is really missing out on an entertaining and great show, and they’ll be sorry they missed out.”

     Walraven said that for audience members to simply show support helps the Planoettes put on an even better show.  

     “It really just all comes together at the right time, and it’s so fun to see where they came from when they first learned some of this choreography to now where they will do it for the last time on Saturday night,” Walraven said. “Saturday night is one of the best nights to see the seniors presented for their last time as a Planoette, and seeing them dance with their dads in Act One is always such a treat. Our show is more than just dancing. The emcees add humor, our filler acts add excitement, and these ladies are athletes and artists. It is like running a marathon to dance through our show – some are in 90 percent of the numbers so they are changing and going right back on stage one after the other. When the curtain goes up I promise you won’t want to get out of your seat until the end.”

Ticket Sales Information
All shows begin at 7:30 in the Doyle Dean Performing Arts Center
April 3rd -5th and 9th-11th: 4:15-6:00 pm in the theater box office
April 9th-13th: 11:45-1:30 in the school cafeteria
April 12th, 13th & 14th:  theater box office will open at 6:00 pm 

Thursday night tickets $8
Friday and Saturday tickets $10