Coach Espinoza wins virtual Dancing with the Staff

By Emily Garcia

Coach Gina Espinoza won the coveted first place prize for house-style dance in the the fourth annual Dancing with the Staff. Second place went to English teacher Maureen Grandchamp and third place was a tie between career and technical education teacher Doug King and visual and performing arts teacher Julie Neumann. 

On October 27, the Granada Hills Charter (GHC) dance team hosted their annual “Dancing with the Staff” event, though this time the audience watched from the comfort of their own homes. Viewers watched virtually through a purchased link to the show which had been pre-recorded by staff and student dancers. 

Dancing with the Staff is a dance competition where the participating staff are assigned different types of dances such as Latin Ballroom, Pop Jazz, Musical Theatre, Disco, Jazz Funk, Hip-Hop and so on. The staff member traditionally dances with students on the dance team. However, this year, the dance team assisted staff participants by choreographing, teaching and then producing videos for them. Some of the faculty members had family in their dances as well, such as their children and spouses. 

“The dance team girls were AWESOME.  They were so patient and helpful.  It took us a few weeks to learn and then perfect the dance.  Having my family included this year was so fun.  They really loved the songs, but getting the little ones to practice was a challenge.  They would run the dance once and wanted to be finished, but they quickly realized we had to go over it many times before it was good enough to record,” Neumann said.

Although previous years hosted celebrity judges, this year, the audience was the only judge. After the competition was over, there was a link to a form on the screen and viewers had until the end of the night to vote. The winners were announced the following Monday.

Fukagawa opened the show with an introduction leading into the dance team performing jazz choreography. Each dancer performed in her own home and the videos were edited together. 

Once the staff dances began, the dance team members gave a little background on their teachers, often explaining who the team thought was the biggest competition for their staff competitor. 

The participants and their dance category were English teacher Shayna Arhanian dancing Latin Ballroom, English teacher Kate Bryan dancing pop jazz, Neumann dancing musical theater, coach Gina Espinoza dancing house, PE teacher Kristin Whitman dancing disco, Grandchamp dancing Jazz Funk, King dancing the Waltz and lastly, football coach Bucky Brooks dancing Hip-Hop. 

After each performance, Scotty Dog, the school mascot, held up score cards, always a 10 or higher. 

It was an impressive effort given the change of plans due to the pandemic. There were costume changes and video effects. King’s video was almost a film in itself as he and his wife reenacted Pixar’s “Up.” There was clearly a lot of effort from all participants involved. 

As the event was coming to an end, the dance team performed a hip-hop routine, and Scotty dog danced with staff members around the campus including Executive Director Brian Bauer. 

It was an amazing night with amazing people who put this all together even though we are restricted from meeting in person. They have found their way around it all and managed to still make it work. 

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