Maine South Orchesis dances all the way to Disney
Maine South orchesis dancers perform the opening number of their show, "Under the Big Top," on the Park Ridge high school's stage. The dance troupe is performing pieces from their show at Walt Disney World on Jan. 18. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 18, 2013 1:17AM
PARK RIDGE — It’s a busy time of year for Maine South High School’s Orchesis dance team which just wrapped up its annual show at the Park Ridge school and performed at Walt Disney World on Jan. 18.
Amelia Faulstick, director of Orchesis, said that Walt Disney World provides students in the performing arts the opportunity to submit an audition tape and perform on a stage at the Florida theme park if they are selected.
Maine South Orchesis was one of the groups chosen this year.
“It gives them a broader opportunity to perform, not just for people in their community, but from all over the world,” said Faulstick.
Orchesis members will be dancing in eight different numbers during the Disney World appearance.
Orchesis performed at Disney World a few years ago and the group plans to return every few years.
The dance team recently presented its circus-themed 2012 show entitled “Under the Big Top” with the large majority of the dances choreographed by Orchesis members. They chose the best of these numbers to perform at Disney World.
“This is not about just learning dance pieces,” Faulstick said of Orchesis. “The whole experience is about learning how to be a part of a team and being responsible for something they’ve committed to.”
Maggie Fleita and Megan Hinds are both seniors and have been a part of Orchesis since their Freshman year.
“I decided to be in Orchesis because I liked the contemporary and ballet aspects of it, “ said Fleita who is also president of the club. “It had a lot of diversity in terms of dance types.”
“I have loved Orchesis because of the choreography aspect,” added Hinds. “It’s been a creative outlet for me throughout my time at Maine South.”
Hinds acknowledged that preparing for performances is “a lot of hard work,” with rehearsals lasting late into the evening on the days prior to the annual show.
“It’s worth it though,” she said. “It’s the best weekend of the year for me.”
Faulstick, director of Orchesis for eight years, said the girls participate in fundraising activities and they generally raise about 80 percent of what it will cost them to travel to and perform at Disney World. She feels that fundraising is a positive experience for the teens to have.
The girls do a cookie-dough sale that has been popular and successful at the school. They have also partnered with various local businesses, such as Yogli Mogli yogurt shop in Niles, held various benefit nights where a certain portion of the proceeds went to Orchesis and sold coupon cards.
In addition to the annual show and Disney appearance, the dance company has attended the Illinois High School Dance Festival, learning many genres of dance over the course of a day. There is also a festival showcase for student choreography during the event.
Orchesis members are Allanah Baresky, Dora Bialy, Becca Blazek, Julia Bork, Kristen DiPietro, Maggie Fleita, Livvie Goble, Anna Graziano, Abby Greiber, Nicole Hassman, Kathy Helfrich, Megan Hinds, Francesca Inendino, Katherine Kopoulos, Lauren Konopinski, Haley Marcin, Caitie ORourke, Jessica Self, Marissa Sulek, Kendra Suba and Kara Webster.