Your source for CHS news


Your source for CHS news


Your source for CHS news


Dancing in the Spotlight: Local dance group Expressenz earns new performance opportunities after being on “World of Dance,” will perform in Yuletide celebration

Veronica Teeter
Dancers from Expressenz Dance Center work on their doll number during rehearsal. Dancer and senior Macie Harris (far right)said the letter blocks form words during the dance.

Earlier this year, students may have seen some familiar faces on their television screens. Eight girls from a local dance group, Expressenz, had the opportunity to compete on NBC’s reality competition series, “World of Dance.” Now months later, Expressenz is still receiving publicity from the show’s success.

On “World of Dance,” Expressenz was a part of the Junior team category where each group has less than 15 members, all are under the age of 18. Expressenz made it to a round “World of Dance” calls The Cut. The Cut is when there are only 30 teams left, and dancers compete for the top three spots in their division.

Senior Macie Harris was one of the eight girls who got to dance on “World of Dance.” She said it was incredible for the team to make it as far as it did in the competition especially coming from Indiana.

Harris said, “‘World of Dance’ was an amazing experience because, being from Indiana, we have no opportunities basically for dance, and the dancing here is really small. So, getting to go out to (Los Angeles), where I had never been before, doing something so huge and meeting so many people was amazing.” 

Ayman Bolad
Dancer and senior Macie Harris (far right) rehearses a lyrical dance at her studio Expressenz Dance Center. In the future, she said she plans to join a company or possibly be on Broadway.

One might assume that after being on a hit television program, life would be flipped upside-down for those at the studio; however, according to Karla Curatolo, director and owner of Expressenz Dance Center, the changes have been subtle yet impactful.

Curatolo said, “I don’t know if it’s changed anything much, but I feel like our studio has grown. We have more students who want to be a part of what we are creating now, which is awesome. And luckily, we did an expansion at the studio last year. We got a bigger space, so we are able to accommodate all the new people who are coming in. But even with that, we have classes that fill up, or people are waitlisted only because we have had an influx of new students come.”

Da-Hyun Hong
Dancer and junior Abigail Emery puts on the heels she dances in for the Yuletide shows. She said she had to re-teach herself how to balance her weight so she doesn’t hurt herself.

Not only has Expressenz gained new students, but also a multitude of Instagram followers since its television debut. That is one of the biggest changes according to dancer and junior Abigail Emery.

Emery said, “(One difference is) a lot of followers on social media; that’s the biggest one. The people who were on (‘World of Dance’) and who were used a lot on the social media platforms are getting recognized.”

Expressenz now has over 100,000 followers on Instagram, and many of their videos on YouTube from the show have over a million views. These views have led to people all over the country wanting the teachers from Expressenz to come teach their dance groups or help choreograph dances.

Another impact of the publicity, other than a boost in social media followers, is that a few dancers from Expressenz will get the chance to perform during the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s 33rd Annual Yuletide Celebration. Emery said she is excited to take the stage with Yuletide, as she was not one of the eight girls on “World of Dance.”

Veronica Teeter
Dancers from Expressenz Dance Center learn choreography at a Yuletide rehearsal. Dancer and junior Abigail Emery (center) said the choreography is very “Rockette-like” with some of Expressenz’s signature turns.

According to Curatolo, this is a huge opportunity for the girls who were chosen because not only are they featured dancers, but they are also seen multiple times throughout the show.

Curatolo said, “I know that they always bring in celebrity singers or people like that to come perform for the show. They wanted to bring in the Expressenz girls and have us as a featured act. There are seven girls that are performing in it, and they get to dance a lot actually throughout the entire two-hour production, which is really cool as well.”

The dancers have a lot on their plate with Yuletide. They have rehearsals on the weekends, and they will have to miss some school for both rehearsals and performances.

These dancers who have worked hard to perfect their craft said they aren’t letting it go to waste.

Curatolo said, “Our girls are very strong technicians, but they are also very versatile. I think it has been good for them to be on these shows and get these cool opportunities.”

Click here to read a Q&A with dancer and junior Kylie Mendoza.

Click here to watch a video of the Expressenz dancers in rehearsal.

Leave a Comment
Donate to HiLite
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All HiLite Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *