PAC to hold Dancing With the Staff for the first time since renovation

Dance+Production+senior+David+Burn+%28left%29+practices+his+routine+Monday%2C+Nov.+15%2C+after+school+in+Room+130+with+math+teacher+Cristian+Bueno+and+junior+Amber+Reuter+to+prepare+for+the+10th+anniversary+of+Dancing+With+the+Staff.+Tickets+for+the+Dec.+9-10+event+will+go+on+sale+Dec.+2.

Sheila Neri

Dance Production senior David Burn (left) practices his routine Monday, Nov. 15, after school in Room 130 with math teacher Cristian Bueno and junior Amber Reuter to prepare for the 10th anniversary of Dancing With the Staff. Tickets for the Dec. 9-10 event will go on sale Dec. 2.

Aiden Park

After a two-year absence from having the traditional Dancing With the Staff [DWTS] in the Performing Arts Center [PAC], the event will return to the newly renovated building for its 10-year anniversary celebration on Dec. 9-10.

“I feel excited because we were supposed to have our spring concert in 2020, but that obviously got canceled [because of the coronavirus pandemic], and the year before, we did our Dancing With the Staff in the gym,” Dance Department director Leiana Volen said. “It is also a big year for us since this is our 10th year, so we want to try and make it more exciting.”

DWTS will be held from 7-9 p.m. for both days, during which students and staff can gather for a friendly competition and watch the performances Dance Production [DP] and Dance 3 have been preparing this semester, Volen said.

Unlike previous years, the indoor mask mandate will apply to all performers and guests as a part of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District’s COVID-19 safety regulations.

Starting Dec. 2, tickets will go on sale, each costing $10 with a Gold Card and $12 without, Volen said. Students will need to go to Room 130 – the dance room – during break and lunch to purchase them, in which they accept card and cash. 

For each performance date, though, the PAC can only fit 285 people.

I think this concert is important for all of the performers and attendees because they can finally get to feel some live energy,” the dance director said. “We hope the audience [feels] the emotions based [on] the choreographer’s concept.”

DP captain senior Jessica Choi said DTWS is worth the admission price, especially since last year it was prerecorded and shown for audiences in the ag parking lot as a drive-in event.

“It is our first show back in person, so it would be a great way to get involved in the school, especially for underclassmen who have not experienced it yet,” said Choi, who will be dancing with math teacher Cameron Tong — her statistics teacher last year. 

“My group and I are really excited to work with him as he is really enthusiastic and open to try new things,” she said.  

Although the show usually features nine or 10 staff participants, only eight are confirmed to perform next month, Volen said. They are assistant principal Melissa Stinson, math teacher Cristian Bueno Ramirez, math teacher Mariam Tan, math teacher Cameron Tong, theater teacher Christian Panuelas, dance department director Leiana Volen, Spanish teacher Vanessa Lara, and athletic director Paul Jones.

“We have not got to do it for the past year, so I definitely think that some of the teachers have forgotten how much fun it is,” she said. “The teachers are really busy this year, too, so it is definitely a unique year going back in person.” 

Since the beginning of November, the dancers have practiced a minimum of twice a week after school with their selected faculty member and continue to improve their other performances on the remaining days, Choi said.  

“The event itself is really exciting,” said math teacher Mariam Tan, who has already participated in five previous DWTS performances and has won the crystal ball trophy for best dancer twice. “The best part about [DWTS] is getting to know my students better because I can see them in another light, and they are actually teaching me.” 

DP member senior David Burn – the only male dancer on DP – said he will be performing with math teacher Cristian Bueno Ramirez, who like Tan has won the crystal ball trophy in past years.

“With our circumstances, we put together an incredible show [last year],” said Burn, referring to the drive-in event. “In the PAC, we can use lighting and more costuming to make the show even better.”

Senior Ariana Amirthiah, who attended and enjoyed the show in 2018 as a freshman, is looking forward to seeing her peers and teachers strut their stuff. 

“The PAC has also been remodeled since then, so I think it is going to be better than ever,” Amirthiah said. “I am looking forward to seeing Mrs. Volen’s performances since I had her for two years.”