Stevenson finds perfect musical choice, choreography

SHARE Stevenson finds perfect musical choice, choreography

Many high school competitive dance teams outsource their choreography to a talented amateur or professional.

The Stevenson Patriettes take another approach. The coaches and six girls on the team collaborate to choreograph the dance and routine.

“When you hire someone to do the choreography, they don’t necessarily know your strengths as a team,” Stevenson coach Kristin Piekarski said. “When we do the choreography, we take ownership of the piece and can make changes as necessary throughout the season to enhance the piece.”

This year, they chose “Where the Light Gets In” by the group Sennen.

It turned out to be a good selection. The girls scored a 92.74 on a 100-point scale and finished third at the Class 3A state meet Saturday at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington. Lake Park (95.04) and Barrington placed first and second, respectively. Stevenson advanced to the finals with a score of 92.18 in Friday’s preliminary competition.

What made the performance stand out is that the song is entirely instrumental.

“We wanted to find a piece of music that could separate us from the other teams,” Piekarski said. “As soon as we heard it, we knew it would fit our style. Because there were no lyrics, we could do a lot with the song and make it our own story.”

Piekarski said the girls’ performance at state was their best of the season.

“It was pretty amazing the way they performed in their last competition,” she said.

Each year, six girls are chosen to help lead the choreography. This year, they were seniors Ari Cohen, Ali Marks, Molly Havlic, Monica Wilner, Reni Coulson and Amanda Saper.

Cohen, a four-year varsity Patriette, said it was an amazing experience to choreograph this year’s routine. The girls had a tough act to follow as last year’s squad chose the song “To Build A home” with excerpts of speeches from the movies “Miracle” and “Any Given Sunday” layered in.

“We all have different ideas about the song and we have to merge them into one,” said Cohen, a co-captain. “It takes a lot of time and effort but it’s so rewarding to beat other teams that have [professional] choreographers. Being part of the choreography is the greatest experience. You get so close with the other girls.”

Throughout the week, Cohen and her teammates received text messages, tweets and Facebook posts from Patriette alumni wishing them good luck at state.

That sense of tradition means a lot to the entire team.

“It’s [amazing] that those girls are still [supporting us] and watching the performance online,” Cohen said. “We always say that you’re a Patriette for life. This program has a great legacy.”

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