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Performing arts students reflect on events canceled due to COVID-19


Correction April 14: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the cast of Mamma Mia! was holding online rehearsals. The Drama Llama club is the group that has been holding online rehearsals.

Senior Nastasya Stasiv walked out of the Dance Spectrum classroom with her friends in tears. In class, her teacher made the formal announcement that the dance show in May was being cancelled, resulting in almost everyone, especially seniors, crying in what Stasiv described as “mutual heartbreak.”

“As soon as Ms. Kato said the words ‘and to all of you seniors’ – that’s just when all the seniors started breaking down,” Stasiv said. 

Junior Izzy Ge is in fourth period with Stasiv, and said the May show is very “senior-centric”. They celebrate traditions such as the senior slideshow, a sentimental tribute of their four years in the program through pictures, and the senior dance, where seniors from every period come together for a final performance.  

Preliminary choreography by Stasiv and Kelman

“Dance Spectrum is a community and a lot of them have been in it for all four years, so it’s just really sad for them because they don’t get the final show,” Ge said. 

According to Stasiv, she was choreographing a contemporary dance with sophomore Michelle Kelman inspired by the movie 500 Days of Summer that she was excited to present. However, due to the May show cancellation, the choreographers’ pieces can’t be showcased in the typical fashion. 

“We work so hard on making these pieces and we’re all super passionate about it,” Stasiv said. “We just hope that our work will be noticed in some way, whatever ends up happening.”

Dance Spectrum performs at the Homecoming rally in October

Other performing arts shows were also cancelled, including the musical Mamma Mia put on by the theater program, as well as band, orchestra, and choir concerts. 

Senior Gem Gutierrez is in Wind Ensemble, the most advanced band in school, and said while their final concert was canceled, she was most disappointed that the band was unable to play and create music together. 

Like Stasiv and Ge, Gutierrez said her second semester was something she was really looking forward to because she really enjoyed the community she had. 

“I’ve done it for all four years and it just feels like it got cut short,” Gutierrez said. “It feels unfinished.” 

Dance Spectrum, choir and band perform in a collaborative piece at the Pediatric Trauma Concert in January

This year’s school musical Mamma Mia canceled their May performance date and had the largest cast the school has seen in a couple years, according to senior and co-president of the theater board David Peters. 

Peters said one of his favorite parts of the theater program are the special traditions the cast has, specifically before and after shows. Including the candle circle before their closing night performance, where students sit in a circle and express whatever is on their minds when the candle is passed to them. He said these are often emotional and deeply personal, bringing the cast closer together. 

“For theater, so much of it is about the person-to-person interaction,” Peters said. “It facilitates that very interpersonal sort of connection. That’s something that’s very difficult to achieve when you’re not actually there in the same room.” 

Though students are adapting to online platforms, most performing arts require being in the same room. Because Zoom classes aren’t very effective for groups such as band, Gutierrez said her Wind Ensemble class has resorted to other measures such as sending in individual recordings, which she said are difficult as the essence of a band is to create music together.

Though the Drama Llamas, a student run drama club, cancelled their show which was initially scheduled to run in May, the cast still has online rehearsals, which Peters said are “mainly a way to keep the community together.” The cast is working to adapt their musical to a radio play format, where individuals record their parts and the recordings are all compiled together.

The marching band’s final performance of the season in November

“It’s hard to put into words, but everyone knows implicitly what this feels like. I feel like everyone has something similar to what Mamma Mia was for me,” Peters said. “Everyone shares that sort of loss.” 

Though Stasiv is “devastated,” she said she is trying to stay hopeful and is grateful for her time in Dance Spectrum.

“I’ll definitely be carrying the memories with me,” Stasiv said. “I hope that somehow there will be a way where we can show our hard work and really recognize the seniors before they leave.”

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