Set your eyes on the stage

Shining the spotlight on her students, Dance Instructor Michelle Hammack organizes the annual Spring Showcase. All students perform the dances they have learned since the beginning of January. It takes months for her students to practice for the dances they are participating in. In order for the dance pieces to be in the showcase they first must be auditioned. If the dances are finished on time for the showcase or aren’t as how they were expected to be, they are no longer part of the showcase. Hammack puts together the music and edits in January, but it’s not the only thing she does herself. She also uses her own money on the showcase.

“Mrs. Hammock says that being viewed as scary gets you respect. She contributes so much to dance, including sewing curtains for the showcase and organizing the whole thing herself,” Dance Company Member Mai Nguyen, 10 said.

This year Hammack bought the props and costumes for the showcase. The amount of money the dance program makes on the showcase varies by the amount of seats sold and every year the amount she spends changes. There are times where she spends thousands of dollars on the showcase. There isn’t an exact number for her and she usually has to wait until after the showcase to find out the total payment for the Center of the Arts. In some dances, she reuses the costumes from the previous showcases and sews costumes together. The students also usually wear their own clothes or buy new clothes for the performance.

“Most of the costumes go on my credit cards. I’ve spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars on costumes, choreographers and props,” Hammack said.

Hammack organizes the showcase every year on her own starting in Jan. Then, she puts the dances, music, and costumes together of the performances. While the organization of the showcase can be stressful for her, Hammack is willing to endure it for her students. For Hammack the arts in particular is where she sees the most change in students. It helps them handle with things and finding out who they are.

“She’s very involved and very caring. She literally always goes above and beyond for everyone she knows and she never fails to be there for me when I need her. She gave me a safe place where I can comfortably be myself without any judgement,” Dance Company Captain Marcos Loaiza, 12 said.