‘Coming of age’ night for dancers
Bayonne students to grow through performance
by Joseph Passantino
Reporter staff writer
May 07, 2014 | 3249 views | 0 0 comments | 113 113 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ANARCHY RULES – Dancers lift a mate during practice of “Anarchy As Order” for the spring concert.
ANARCHY RULES – Dancers lift a mate during practice of “Anarchy As Order” for the spring concert.
For the dancers performing at Bayonne High School’s Spring Dance Concert on Friday night, it is of course about doing the best they can. But it is also about showing family, friends, and the public the hard work it takes to succeed in dance. For others, it is about coming of age in an art form that they love. 

All these scenarios will be on display on May 9 at 7 p.m. during “Chapter One: Blueprint—An Evening of Dance,” the second BHS Spring Dance Concert that will take place in the school’s Alexander X. O’Connor Auditorium.

“Chapter One: Blueprint” features performances from the BHS Dance Company, Dance Department students, and students from the newly established BHS Academy for Fine Arts and Academics. All three groups come together in the show to create a larger, more prolific dance unit.  

Under the direction of Dance Department faculty Kelli McGovern and Lori Alexander, the evening of contemporary dance showcases the young artists’ hard work and dedication to the creative process that results in varied dance works and expression.

“My family, they don’t see what I do in school,” said Rebecca Pavelko, 16, of the dance academy. “It’s a time for them and my friends to see what we do.”  

She’s approaching the evening with both confidence and jitters.

“I’m excited about it, but I’m kind of nervous too,” she said.

The evening includes faculty choreography, senior student choreographers, and features guest choreographer Lauren Connolly’s “Etched in Our Being,” which the dancers performed at the New Jersey High School Dance Festival in March. 

The night is especially important for seniors Rachel Canete, 18, and Emily Gonzalez, 17, because both are choreographing their own dances.

“It’s my first time doing it,” Canete said. “It’s nerve wracking, but exciting, at the same time.”

Not that she’s a novice when it comes to dance. Trained in ballet and jazz, Canete has been dancing since she was three years old.

“This is the culmination of what I’ve been doing here,” she said. “I’m more focused on my dancers, for the piece. I want them to feel comfortable.”

Junior Emma Massarelli, 17, also wants the dancers to be at ease. She is assisting Canete in the choreography. She’s also dancing since three years old and feels up to the challenge of guiding others through the hundreds of moves in the three-and-a-half-minute routine.

“It’s great for me,” Massarelli said, “especially since I want to pursue this as a career. I always wanted to, but I never really had the opportunity to do it for other people. Now I have.”

The concert

The 90-minute concert will feature 85 dancers performing in 19 pieces. They will include modern, ballet, musical theater, contemporary, and a 1920s Charleston number.

“I hope they realize an experience unlike one they’ve ever had,” said McGovern. “A lot of them have never performed before. This is a whole new world for them.”

Tickets, which will be sold at the door, are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

For additional information, contact the BHS Department of Fine and Performing Arts at

(201) 243-1119.

Program goals

Giving the students the opportunity to dance, and then use that knowledge, is one of the goals of the school’s dance initiative.

“The BHS Dance Program provides a curriculum that interweaves both the practical and theoretical to foster students’ creative, intellectual, and communicative powers in the field of dance,” Alexander said.

 “Dance classes are open to all Bayonne High School students and offer daily instruction to develop skilled and uniquely expressive individuals who move and act with intelligence and sensitivity, think independently, and encourage original thought and diversity.”


Joseph Passantino may be reached at: JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.

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