Dance team triumphs in Phoenix Cactus Cup

Dance team
Varsity girls perform their hip-hop routine. Photo by Samantha Simon.

Olivia Hitchcock


The girls varsity and junior varsity dance teams ventured to the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona the weekend of January 8 for the Cactus Cup Championship against 12 other high school dance teams and competitive dance studios.

The varsity team placed fifth in the hip-hop category and seventh in the jazz category. The junior varsity girls placed second in their jazz competition. In the senior solo division, Lexie Sokolow ’11 placed third, and Emily Kolker ’13 and Samantha Simon ’13 tied for sixth place.

The varsity team performed a jazz and hip-hop routine and the junior varsity team performed one jazz routine. Ms. Denise Piane, dance team coach, choreographed the varsity hip-hop performances to several songs, including “Like a G6” by Far East Movement, “I Like That” by Luciana, and “This Instant” by Sophia Fresh.

The junior varsity girls performed their jazz number to “For Your Entertainment” by Adam Lambert.

Piane called their Phoenix performance “hard-hitting, yet feminine.” She says the team prefers to blend mainstream music with electronic dance genres like dubstep in their hip-hop routines.

She says selecting music before choreographing the routines is one of the most challenging components of the preparation for the girls’ performances. She tries to select music that will be unique to their competitions. Then, Piane focuses on crafting “dynamic formations, creative partner work, and intricate movement.”

Adi Nisimov ’14, who also placed in the senior solo division, says the other schools and the audience were supportive of Milken’s team through the competition.

Hannah Aftalion ’13, Negeen Amirieh ’13, and Tara Beiser ’11 also competed in the senior solo division.

The team is eagerly anticipating their performances in February at Homecoming and at a regional competition.