Window Dance Ensemble springs into a new season


Credit: Julia Callini

The Window Dance Ensemble performs during Winter Week 2020 for their annual winter show. “We have two performances,” senior director Sammy Janoff said. “We have one during Winter Week that students can come to. It’s probably our biggest show of the year. We also have one in the spring.”

The lights dim into a blue hue as the auditorium hushes. After a brief skit from the senior emcees, Window Dance Ensemble takes the stage. The dancers’ dark silhouettes are backlit as they leap, twirl and glide to the music. Slowly, the performance comes to an end, and all the dancers race off the stage with the audience clapping and hollering behind them- another dazzling Winter Week performance complete.

Since Window began 10 years ago, they’ve produced two shows each year, one during Winter Week and one in the spring, with the help of their senior directors. This year, the ensemble’s senior directors are Sarah Liszewski, Sammy Janoff and Taylor McGuire.

“Window is a student run dance ensemble, it’s always been,” Liszewski said. “It’s been around forever. I mean my neighbor, who is like [30-years-old] now, was in Window growing up. She used to babysit me and teach me the dances.”

The ensemble is advised by the academic center assistant, Eimile Bowden. Other than her occasional oversight, the senior directors plan all dances and practice agendas. The lack of adult instruction gives the dancers a unique chance to develop leadership skills and friendships.

“I joined Window because I love to dance, and also, I felt like the community of girls who dance there is such a fun community,” sophomore Dana Efrat said. “It’s both the dancing aspect and friends aspect, and it just goes together really well.”

Although partaking in performances and bonding with the team is a fun experience, joining Window also takes a lot of time and effort. To prepare for their shows, the group meets and practices together for several hours each week.

“We dance four days a week after school in the lecture hall, until about [5 p.m.]” Janoff said. “It’s pretty high commitment. But not everyone is in every single dance, so you might not have to come one week. Although, for the majority [of the practices], we’re all there.”

During practices, the group creates and rehearses their choreography. Throughout the years, they’ve used an array of techniques, songs, and styles to make their self-choreographed performances.

“Every year we have a new theme for the dances that inspire the song choices and choreography,” Janoff said. “We have a variety of dance styles, but for the most part, it’s lyrically based because we have things like jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and silhouette numbers. We also have hip hop numbers, which the crowd loves.”

With so many different dance styles, Window’s practices tend to be busy. However, the hard work pays off during their spring show, where they can show off their hours of effort.

“It’s really difficult,” sophomore Julia Sun said. “We just have to learn [a dance] and then perform it for our show at the end of the spring, so we don’t have a ton of time to review each dance. We just have to go-go-go.”

The benefits of joining the ensemble aren’t limited to performing in the spring show. The sense of community that Window provides to the dancers makes it a great experience for everyone.

“I joined Window because I love to dance,” Janoff said. “I didn’t realize that I was gonna get so much more out of it than just that. I was able to build such strong connections with people from many different grades. It’s very collaborative and a chance to use our creativity because we choreograph all our dances. We have a blast.”