Colors of blue, pink, purple, and yellow colors flooded Trenton Central High School’s (TCHS) auditorium as students performed New Voices, a night of dances rendered by TCHS students, for the public. 

The show hosted 19 different dance routines with diverse music and themes, ranging from jazz to Greek tragedy to hip-hop. Soloist exhibitions and group dances dazzled the faculty, students, and Trenton residents.  Vincent Blasse, Climate and Culture Leader for TCHS, said that seeing the students on the stage was refreshing. 

“It’s refreshing to see the way the program has evolved from what it was to what it is right now. I’m very impressed with the effort and the dedication that the students have given to make that a reality.” Blasse said.  “I like the fact that the kids are an inspiration to the parents…and in our community.” 

The Visual Arts and Dance Department (VPA) is a Career Technical Education Program where students enroll in a three-year pathway to take courses in ballet, modern dance, jazz, and cultural dance on top of the standard curriculum at TCHS.  The program has strived to continue teaching students about dance through the pandemic. Jalisa Jones was a sophomore and junior during the online teaching at TCHS.

“Last year was a bit static. It just was really awful…because that didn’t feel right at all. We had to dance in our rooms, in our kitchens, in our living rooms. It was just very removed from the actual world. And I really wanted to be on stage,” Jones said. 

Even though it was static, she continued to perform to her senior year, complete with the free show on Friday to a crowded auditorium cheering her on. Through it all, Jones and her classmates persevered, and their hard work was evident in Friday night’s performance. 

“We only got a chance to see all of the hard work they’ve been putting in over the years. And in my opinion, this was one of the best end-of-year performances I have ever seen,” said Jacqui Ivey, who attended the night and represented the backbone organization Any Given Child Trenton.

Elizabeth Zwierzynski said that it was great to see families, friends, and Trenton residents come to the show and show their support.

“That’s the one thing that the pandemic and online performances couldn’t give us, which is the real in-person energy. And that’s so affirming for our students, right, as they enter new artistic ventures, whether it’s their first time performing, whether it’s their first time presenting or collaborating, working with their peers, or working with a professional choreographer…I’m proud that we had such a big group to celebrate that,” Zwierzynski said. The dances were choreographed by students, guest choreographers, Zwierzynski, and her student teacher, Kassandra Ruboyianes and Meg Midlgey.

Students strived to do their best, and parents couldn’t be prouder through it all. Parents like Mark Jones, father of Jalisa Jones,  “I’m more than proud,” Jones said I couldn’t be more proud of Julisa, what she’s done, how she’s applied herself, what she wants to do…I would tell her to continue doing what she’s doing. Because, you know, to encourage her is to allow her to be who she is, allow her to become who she already wants to become as she wants to go even further.” 

Jalisa, who ended her senior year choreographing two pieces and multiple pieces, said she is ready to go further as she strives to work as a professional choreographer and dancer, “You won’t see the last of me…I have so many ideas that I want to put on the world, and I feel like they might shake up the dance world. So that’s why I’m saying you won’t see the last of me and manifesting that,” Jones said.