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MCHS dance program adds classes, offers showcase

For the McHenry High School dance program, the recent Dance Showcase that drew a full audience is not only the culmination of a semester of dance education but also a sign of the program’s transformation.

Not only has the number of dance classes offered doubled, but now school officials are considering having two performances of the showcase, said Colleen Eddy, physical education and dance instructor. The 410-seat auditorium at West Campus was packed for the Dec. 7 show.

Eddy, who also directs the Orchesis Dance Company, said sometimes she’s still amazed at how the program has changed since she took it over in 2015. For the first time, the district offered an advanced dance class this year as a physical education option.

Eddy, a dancer herself who participated in high school dance teams, said there were two dance classes when she took over the program. Now there are four.

Staging two Saturday performances at the end of the semester, rather than one on Friday, would take the program to a new level. “It has changed a whole bunch,” Eddy said.

Dance is one of several physical education options for McHenry High School District 156 students. Class includes warm-ups, dance stretch, Hip-Hop and Jazz dances, tap, group dance and a finale.

Eddy said she’s modeled the McHenry dance program after the program at Sycamore High School. “It is a community event over there,” she added.

It is becoming a community event in McHenry, too. Many of the tickets sold for the Dec. 7 showcase were at the door.  

About 90 students from East and West participated in the end-of-semester “Dancing Through the Decades” show. Proceeds from ticket sales fund new costumes, Eddy said.