Bay Area youth dance teams showcase talent at Forté 2017

Equestriettes dance team hosts annual show


Photo by Mark Lu

On Saturday, the Homestead Equestriettes and several teams from the Bay Area performed their sets at the Forté dance festival 2017, after months of practice.

By Mark Lu

“Now, everyone’s favorite part: the list of sponsors,” jokes announcer Chris Moylan before introducing the dance teams set to compete, following a morning of solo performances. Lunch has just ended, and more group performances are about to begin.

On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Forté 2017 dance festival took place at HHS. Barb Wipfler, one of the organizers of the event, said the day featured twenty-two different schools and around 400 performers from the Bay Area. This was HHS’s 12th year hosting, Wipfler said.

The morning featured solo, small dance, jazz, co-ed, small dance and large dance performances. After a lunch break, the dance/pom, junior high solo, lyrical, novelty, hip hop and several other category showcases took place. Finally, six solo finalists competed to end the festival, and awards were presented at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s the first [major] event of the year, so schools from all over the Bay Area can showcase what they’ve been working on,” junior Jamie Siegler, a former Equestriettes member, said.

The Equestriettes participated in seven showcases: x-small, small jazz, pom, small lyrical and three solo performances by senior Katy Moylan, junior Jocelyn Chen and senior Stephanie Okumura.

“I always get nervous, especially before performing my solo in front of a large audience,” Okumura said. “Knowing that my family and friends will be out there supporting me and seeing familiar faces in the audience definitely makes it a lot less nerve-racking for me.”  The host team, The Equestriettes, performed but were not ranked as part of the competition. However, this did not stop them from giving their all in their performances, of which they had been practicing for months, according to a previous interview the Epitaph had done with the team.

“Under the guidance of [the team advisor] Sara Frausto and coach Shiyo Yamamoto, our Equestriettes team made a great first showing, even though they were not competing,” Barb  Wipfler said.

“It felt great to perform what we’ve been practicing for the last couple of months and it was good to see the other teams and their dances and to feel their energy,” sophomore Angela Wipfler, who participated in the x-small, small jazz, pom, and small lyrical performances, said.

The event was put on by the Dance Boosters, coaches and several members of the HHS leadership class.

“It was exciting and a lot of work, but the end result was worth it. I think it’s going really smoothly, we have a great coach who’s helping put this together. Everybody came together,” Dance Boosters president Donna Okumura, who planned most of the event, said.

Regionals will take place at Bella Vista in Sacramento this weekend and Monta Vista the following weekend.