Dozens of Upper School students came together under the direction of seniors Celeste Phengpumipanit and Ashley Wilson for our annual Dance for Life benefit show on March 3-4.

The event raised over $3,000 for Dance for Life, a charitable organization whose mission is to raise awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS care, education, and prevention, as well as other life-threatening diseases, while promoting the art of dance in Chicago.
Phengpumipanit stated that the show was “such an enriching experience. Bringing a group of people from all backgrounds and grades together to fight for a good cause was so fulfilling.” Knowing that they wanted to honor the importance of this event, Phengpumipanit and Wilson started working hard last summer. Wilson noted that they agreed that “organization, attendance, and creativity was vital for a good performance.” To promote moral, Wilson said that the “one lesson that we implemented in every student was to keep going. Whether they made a mistake or came on stage late, we encouraged them to always keep going with a smile.”
MPA students organize, coordinate, choreograph, promote, and produce the show to raise awareness for the organization. Types of dance performed this year included hip-hop, ballet, and cultural dances from India and Spain. This is the 15th year of the student-run dance show.
Click here for pictures.
Click here for the video.
Dance for Life Benefit Show
March 3-4, 2017
Directed by Celeste Phengpumipanit and Ashley Wilson
Choreographed by Nathaniel Nicholes
Crew: Hannah Branit, Ireland Lawrence, Amara Obasi, David Valentine, Matthew Hu, Diego Gomez Kamryn Turner
Act I
“One Dance”
Choreographer: Celeste Phengpumipanit
Dancers: Shannie Shelby, Nathaniel Nicholes, Ashley Wilson, Nick Seaton, Celeste Phengpumipanit, Robert Russ.
“Raymonda Act III, variation IV”
Choreographer: Ava Barker
Dancer: Ava Barker
“Afro Hip Hop”
Choreographers: Nathaniel Nicholes, Rachel Sheppard
Dancers: Nathaniel Nicholes, Rachel Sheppard
“Spanish Fusion”
Choreographer: Ms. Harris
Dancers:  Maya Kamin, Annika Echols, Diego Gomez, Danae Hillard, Zara Hashmi, Summer Loyd, Amaya McLachlan, Airin Beals, Ximena Zuleta, Nick Seaton, Sofia Clute, Josue Woodard.
“Formation”
Choreographers: Nathaniel Nicholes & Airin Beals
Dancers: Shannie Shelby, Nathaniel Nicholes, Rachel Sheppard, Samaria Harris, Airin Beals, Danae Hillard, Amaya McLachlan.
“Teacher Dance”
Choreographer: Celeste Phengpumipanit
Dancers: Ms. Harris, Ms. Drown, Ms. Haskins, Ms. Arnold, Ms. Ortiz, Ms. Fitch, Ms. Amberg, Ms. Skawiniak, Ms. Concannon.
“Hip Hop”
Choreographers: Celeste Phengpumipanit, Ashley Wilson, Nathaniel Nicholes
Dancers: Celeste Phengpumipanit, Ashley Wilson, Nathaniel Nicholes, Alana-Lay Philips, Abbey Hayes, Emma Huang, Angela Cabrera, Murphy Chen, Airin Beals, Danae Hillard, Maya Lopez, Maryn Robinson, LaDaeja Orr, Vanessa Awuve, Kennedy Olguin .
Act II
“Surface” original song by Maya Lopez
Choreographers: Samaria Harris
Dancers: Samaria Harris
Performers: David Valentine (drums), Josue Woodard (guitar), Annika Echols (Piano and singing harmonies), Maya Lopez (singing and playing bass)
“Indian Dance”
Choreographer: Divya Avula
Dancers: Berat Guleyuz, Banu Guleyuz, Davey Salwan, Vincent Oganwu, Divya Avula, Daniel Jesuthasan, Nathaniel Nicholes, Alana Lay-Phillips.
“Run the World by Beyonce”
Choreographer: Celeste Phengpumipanit
Dancers: Shannie Shelby, Alana Lay-Phillips, Ashley Wilson, Celeste Phengpumipanit.
“Perm by Bruno Mars”
Choreographer: Nathaniel Nicholes
Dancer: Nathaniel Nicholes
“Senior Tribute”
Choreographers: Ashley Wilson and Celeste Phengpumipanit
Dancers: Banu Guleyuz, Berat Guleyuz, Davey Salwan, Daniel Jesuthasan, Anatasia Stanley, Alana Lay-Phillps, Divya Avula, Vincent Oganwu, Nick Seaton, Shannie Shelby, Robert Russ, Ashley Wilson, Celeste Phengpumipanit.
“Missy Elliot Tribute”
Choreographers: Nathaniel Nicholes & Airin Beals
Dancers: Nathaniel Nicholes, Rachel Sheppard, Airin Beals.
“Miss Independent”
Choreographer: Celeste Phengpumipanit
Dancer: Celeste Phengpumipanit
“Spanish Batchata”
Choreographer: Ximena Zuleta
Dancers: Samaria Harris, Vincent Oganwu, Zara Hashmi, Emmanuel Sarpong, Summer Loyd, Elijah Moss, Robert Russ, Ximena Zuleta, Tim Rooney, Sofia Clute, Murphy Chen, Josh Jimenez, Angela Cabrera, Daniel Jesuthasan, Maya Lopez, Diego Gomez, Julie Zigman, Brian Readus.
“Drop”
Choreographers: Alana Lay-Phillips
Dancers: Alana Lay-Philips, Ashley Wilson, Shannie Shelby, Airin Beals, Nathaniel Nicholes, Robert Russ.
“Hit the Road”
Choreographer: Rachel Sheppard
Dancer: Rachel Sheppard
“Finale”
Choreographers: Celeste Phengpumipanit, Ashley Wilson, Nathaniel Nicholes
Dancers: Banu Guleyuz, Berat Guleyuz, Daniel Jesuthasan, Anatasia Stanley, Alana Lay-Phillips, Vincent Oganwu, Nick Seaton, Ashley Wilson, Celeste Phengpumipanit, Divya Avula, Emma Huang, Nathaniel Nicholes, Ximena Zuleta, Zara Hashmi, Angela Cabrera, Maya Lopez, Murphy Chen, Samaria Harris, Maya Kamin, Sofia Clute, Vanessa Awuve, LaDaeja Orr, Kennedy Olguin, Abbey Haynes, Maryn Robinson.