Eastchester High School students felt the music as they danced on stage during the Jazz Co. weekend of dance.
Meghan McCloskey found it difficult to find the exact words to describe the excitement. "Waiting backstage is stressful and when the lights are off, it is intense. But when you are on stage, you let it all out."
"It all comes together. Each grade has a role to play and there is a rhythm," explained senior Emily Rozario.
The EHS students describe Jazz Co. as a family, not an afterschool activity or club. This year there was something extra-special as Jazz Co. celebrated its 35th Anniversary during the weekend of Feb 1 - Feb 3.
"Jazz Co.'s Weekend of Dance was the ultimate celebration of the art of dance," said Artistic Director, Melissa Lieto-Cuomo. "The dancers stunned crowds with their talent and put on the best show in all of Jazz Co.'s 35 years of performances! Bravo dancers!"
Choreographers from around the country worked with the high school dancers over ten weeks to perfect their routines for the 26 dances that range from Broadway favorites to popular songs.
While watching the finale with its 125 dancers, it is hard to believe that Jazz Co. only had approximately 15 members when the group started in 1984. Founder Charlou Woodrow wanted students who were not enrolled in sports to have the opportunity to dance. Girls and boys can participate in Jazz Co. in the elementary schools, middle school and high school.
The finale which is a medley of Gloria Estefan songs has remained the same for years and each year students participate in different small group performances.
On each of the five year anniversaries, alumni are invited for a gathering during the show weekend. This year, more than 40 alumni from the classes of 1992 through 2018 joined in the last section of the finale.
Many others came back to enjoy the show and remember their time on the EHS stage. They shared their talent with the company, helping them to grow and thrive. The alumni gathering was organized by Jazz Co. alumni Claire Connolly and Melissa Crai who are active in the school community and founder Charlou Woodrow.