Seniors Express Themselves Through Dance, Choreography


Graphic by Mark Schaefer / Photos Anna Adhikari and Jocelyn Hartman

Seniors Anna Adhikari and Jocelyn Hartman have focused on dancing since their childhoods and dance competitively in their respective styles to this day.

Elenna Mach, Editor-in-Chief

Aside from the typical sports played with sticks and balls and scoring points, many students dance passionately and competitively in and out of school, expressing themselves and creating their own choreography. For some, dance may be a hobby, but for others, it is a vocation that requires dedication and practice almost every day of the week. Seniors Anna Adhikari, Jocelyn Hartman and Alyson Kren each have their own specialty dance style which they focus on but no matter the dance category, they give it their all in every routine, show and competition.


Anna Adhikari- Ballet

Adhikari has spent the last four years on the Poms team, performing before fans at the halftime of a packed football stadium every Friday night in the fall and at every home basketball game during the winter. Dancing in front of an audience is not new for Adhikari as she has been performing for the past 13 years in numerous shows for the City of Rockville Ballet.

Adhikari rehearses and practices her choreography and technique five days a week and takes masters classes during the summer for other dance styles including contemporary, jazz and modern. She began taking dance lessons at the age of five when she was a shy child, but since then, has grown to be comfortable and open through dance.

“Dance is a way to express myself without using words,” Adhikari said. “When I was younger I was very shy and dance was a way for me to get out of my comfort zone.”

Dance is a way to express myself without using words.                     -senior Anna Adhikari

When she was eight years old, she met current junior Tiffany Reyes and they have since become dancemates but even more than that, sisters, they both said. Even though Reyes is her best friend and one of the most influential people because of her work ethic and motivation to become a better dancer, they are also each other’s biggest competition when it comes to dance.

“Ever since the day I’ve met her I knew and I still know I can depend on her [Adhikari] because she’s the type of person to support you no matter what,” Reyes said. “Her hard work and her perseverance is definitely present whenever she sets foot in the studio and the theater.”

Taking her dance and education one step further, Adhikari plans to major in biochemistry and minor in dance in whichever college she chooses. At the very least, she will join the dance companies in or around the campuses and be in their productions and shows, she said.


Jocelyn Hartman- Contemporary

From beginning dancing when she was just four years old, to performing before hundreds of people, to meeting and working with several professional dancers, senior Jocelyn Hartman has spent much of her life dancing and performing.

Her current studio, the CityDance School & Conservatory, teaches a variety of dance styles but she mainly focuses on contemporary because of its versatility.

“Since [contemporary is] a mix of ballet and jazz, it tends to be both grounded and upheld,” Hartman said. “It’s intriguing to me because in a span one eight count you can be in the air and then on the floor doing floorwork. Not to mention, the partner work in contemporary is like a completely different vocabulary from ballet because it has such a release.”

As part of the school, she takes classes for different styles of dance but as part of the conservatory program, she takes masters classes with guest professional artists teaching more about the respective style.

“Having opportunities to work with these professionals is amazing because not only do you get to learn about the different dance styles and different dance techniques, you get to also learn about their different stories and how they came to be,” Hartman said.

Physical activity is also artistic creation.     -senior Jocelyn Hartman

Through all her years in dancing, Hartman has come to love the close-knit bonds that she makes with other dancers as well as the performance aspect of dance, she said.

“For me, I think dance is like a community and like a family. I think it’s a great way to artistically express yourself [and] it’s like a second home because I’m there so much,” Hartman said. “Physical activity is also artistic creation, like I said before, I really love performing, so I love the performance aspect of it so it’s like you have the makeup, the costumes and everything- the final production is really rewarding.”

After all of her years in dance, she will attend American University next fall majoring in international relations and minoring in dance.


Alyson Kren- Irish Dance

Many people dance but few do so seriously.  Then even fewer can say that they do Irish dance competitively and then only a handful can say that they danced in national Irish dance competitions.

Senior Alyson Kren has attended the Hurley School of Irish Dance since its inception 13 years ago when she was five years old and since then has competed in local, regional and national competitions and even qualified for overseas competitions.

She started dance with ballet and tap but after watching the Trinity Irish Dance Show, Kren was immediately amazed and was sold on this style, she said. Some of her favorite parts about Irish dancing are the various nature of the dance as well as how it can be interpreted in many ways.

“It’s really neat because even though everyone does Irish dancing all over the world, it’s different in different places so even though we’re doing the same things here as in California, it looks completely different because of the style and the technique that they learned,” Kren said.

Kren was scheduled to compete at the All Ireland Championships in Killarney, Ireland this past February, but was unable to due to a foot fracture which she will be getting surgery on.

Despite the recent setback, Kren has tallied many years in competitive Irish dance, earning her the highest and most competitive level, the Open Champion, which which automatically qualifies her to compete at all National competitions. She competed at the North American National Championships July 2018 and placed 60th among the best Irish dancers in all of North America. Kren also qualified for her second nationals competition Canada in July, which she said she hopes to be able to dance in, depending on her injury recovery.

In the last few years, Kren has been interested in pediatric nursing and will pursue this career in whichever college she decides upon. Although she is not looking to dance professionally, Kren is hoping to help at the dance school that she has been a part of for most of her life which has shaped her work ethic on and off the dance floor.

“Throughout my entire time dancing, I have learned that in order to do well, I must work for it–success doesn’t just come naturally and without hard work,” Kren said. “I’ve had to give up and miss many other opportunities in my life in order to practice at home every day for hours at a time, attend dance practices for hours, do other forms of training such as cardio, weights, stretching, abs, and cross training, and travel all over the country to attend competitions.”