Dance team does it again

January 20, 2004

Marisa O'Neil

Measure A construction at Newport-Mesa schools has called for some

creative improvisation for many people.

Luckily for Orchesis, Corona del Mar High School's dance team,

creativity is something they have a lot of.

When the district-wide construction project closed Newport Harbor

High School's auditorium where Orchesis traditionally puts on its


annual recital, they had to scramble for another site. After six

months of searching for a replacement venue, co-director Paula Burton

lined up Huntington Beach High School's auditorium for last weekend's

performance, the team's biggest of the year.

"They came up with some very creative ideas," Burton said. "They

worked very hard to get where they are and they've done some nice


The dancers practiced until 10 p.m. five nights a week leading up

to the recital, said team member and co-president Lauren Pawell. The

12th-grader has been on the team for four years and dancing for 14


"Now Playing," Orchesis' production, featured performances based

on songs from various movies, including "Chicago," "Flashdance" and

"Austin Powers." Dancers performed ballet, jazz and hip-hop routines.

It also included, as it does every year, a final dance with some

boys from the school.

"The boys love it," Burton said. "And of course they get on stage

and ham it up."

Dancers created their own pieces for the show and set up the

lighting and costumes.

"Everything is choreographed by the girls," Pawell said. "We vote

on the ones we want for the show and the choreographers then have an

audition for the girls who want to be in the pieces."

Orchesis has performed at Corona del Mar High School for more than

25 years, Burton said. Many of its dancers have 10 or more years of


In addition to its annual recital, Orchesis also performs at two

rallies a year and a football game.

"I enjoy the team," Pawell said. "It's unlike any other team. The

girls have a lot of fun. Everyone really enjoys being there."

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