Sunday, February 28, 2016

Benicia High School spring dance show puts fame under microscope

(Originally published in the 2/28/16 edition)

   As the late David Bowie once remarked “Fame puts you where things are hollow.” It is hard to resist the temptation of fame, but living the glamorous life has its downsides, especially when it comes to starting on the path down the rabbit hole of fame. This topic is the subject of Benicia High School’s spring dance show “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” 
   As Benicia High’s newest addition to the dance department, director and choreographer Marisol Almaguer said she wanted to do a story about royalty but was not sure how to approach it. 
   “I thought of celebrity royalty,” she said. “It was an idea I got from my sister whose daughter is a dancer, and we came up with ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World.’ I developed a story of two girls who wanted freedom.”
   The show is a coming of age story about two girls named Lila and Scarlett who are triple threats. They are both very talented singers, dancers and actresses and want to become successful, a thought that is shared by their parents. However, as they grow older, their managers start sending them in different directions. Lila is more naturally liked by the public which annoys the more driven Scarlett who wants the public’s adoration.
   Almaguer says a big challenge has been putting the show on in a short amount of time. 
   “In February, we had four less student days,” she said. “That was a real challenge because that was four less days of getting the production together.”
   However, Almaguer is impressed with the students she is working with.
   “I have never worked with a group this big,” she said. “To put a whole class of dancers together where I’m letting these girls where I’m letting these girls explore dances they’ve never done before is something I’m very proud of. They’re excelling in it, they’re doing well and they’re open to it.”
   This especially excites Almaguer who does not see herself as a technique dancer.
   “Even though I’ve been in dance and have choreographed dance since 2004, I don’t have the technique that they have,” she said. “For them to take my piece and make it look so amazing is a huge accomplishment.” 
   In addition to the main plot, Benicia High’s dancers will be performing to more than 20 songs— over an hour’s worth. The track listing ranges from Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s EDM hit “Lean On”— which Almaguer says  will be performed with Latin and hip-hop dances as well as a little bit of bellydancing— to R&B singer The Weeknd’s “Devil May Cry.” The production will also showcase songs from New Zealand alternative pop singer Lorde, including her brooding cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”— the inspiration for the show’s title— and Kanye West’s remix of her song “Yellow Flicker Beat.” 
   Almaguer believes the show will provide a lot of entertainment as well as a strong message to audiences about what is more important than fame.
   “It’s a phenomenal effort from these students,” she said. “They did an extraordinary job with the music, and they worked closely more than in other years.”
   “It’s gonna be very entertaining,” she added. “There’s gonna be a whole lot of passion in the dances and a lot of fun. “
   “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” will be performed at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 10 and 7 p.m. Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12. All shows will be held in the Benicia High Performing Arts Building, located at 1101 Military West. Admission is $8 for students and children and $14 for adults, with a $2 discount for tickets purchased online. Tickets can be purchased at For more information, contact BHS Performing Arts at (707) 751-2338. 


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