Last Dance Recital Features Exchange Students


Kaitlyn Cashdollar

Goodwill Ofori-Atuahene (12) leads Valerija Barkanova (12), McKenna Reid (11), Thomas Hudson (12), Caleb Hall (12), Abi Bebee (10), and Hanny Chairunnisa (12) in a Ghanian style dance choreographed by Ofori-Atuahene, an exchange student from Ghana. He took initiative and asked Nicole Berry, the dance teacher, if he could do a dance for the concert. His dance was performed to “Azonto Ghost” by Bisa Kdei.

Kaitlyn Cashdollar, Editor-in-Chief

This dance concert was a special event due to the variety of originally composed dances. There was a total of four dances that were choreographed by students this semester. Two of these were done by exchange students who were taking the class. Godwill Ofori-Atuahene (12) was one of the exchange students who took initiative in the class. He first approached Nicole Berry, the dance teacher, about doing a Ghanian dance after doing a presentation about Ghana in class. Ofori-Atuahene worked with Caleb Hall (12), an experienced dancer, to choreograph his dance “Azonto Ghost” by Bisa Kdei. Ofori-Atuahene taught Valerija Barkanova (12), McKenna Reid (11), Thomas Hudson (12), Abi Bebee (10), Hanny Chairunnisa (12) and Hall the dance and led them in it.

Another exchange student who choreographed their own dance was Klyssia Da Silva Pereira (12). She asked Berry if she could do a dance after Ofori-Atuahene mentioned maybe choreographing a Ghanian style dance. Da Silva Pereira is from Brazil and decided on a samba for her dance. She also worked with Hall to choreograph the dance “Maluca Pirada” by Alexandre Pires. They were the only two to perform in the samba. “[Hall and I] were talking about the dance performance, and [Hall] told me he was doing a dance with Godwill. He asked me, ‘Why don’t you do a samba?’ and I told him I wouldn’t do it alone. He offered to dance it with me, and we did,” Da Silva Pereira said. They finished the choreography for the dance in two days.

Other than the exchange students, there were two more original dances, both done by seniors. Hall, who will be pursuing a Major in Theatre Performance with a Minor in Dance at UCCS. Hall joined with Berry to choreograph “Kill Our Way To Heaven” by Michl. Hall started dancing last year, and ever since, the art has grown on him. “I’m kind of sad. I want to keep performing [at Manitou. The concert] was awesome. I’m exhausted, I did so many dances, but I gave it my all,” Hall said. 

Another individual performance was done by Olivia Doherty (12). Doherty choreographed the dance “Lily (Lily’s Death)” by Alexandre Desplat. The choreographing of the entire concert was a new challenge this year, according to Hall. “We had a lot of new dancers in, which isn’t a bad thing. I hope a lot of them stick with it. I’m really excited to come back next year and the year afterwards and just see what they’re doing,” Hall said.

There were also many emotions involved with the end of the year concert. Along with all of the seniors and exchange students that were leaving, there were students that were moving. Students were saying their final goodbyes, even to the teachers. “I’m going to miss [the seniors] very much, but it never feels like goodbye forever, so that makes it a little bit easier. I always hope that they’ll come back and visit and say hi. I hope to see them again,” Berry said. 

The dance concert was a refreshing combination of individual creative dances and ones that were done in more of a group setting. “I think that they all did a wonderful job. Some of the dances were the best I’ve ever seen,” Berry said.