Cloud9 debuts new members at Valentine’s dance

Cloud9, a hip-hop dance group consisting of students representing a variety of grades in high school, recently lost two members from the class of 2012.

However, the replacements filled their place in the group with an entirely new energy. Sophomore Dorothy Spratlin and freshmen Justin Tice and Beth Huang joined Cloud9 this year after auditioning in the summer.

“I love the new members,” sophomore Remi Matthews said. “Justin, Beth, and Dorothy add to the diversity of the group along with their own styles.”

Fellow original members of Cloud9, seniors Jonathan Leung and Nigel Walker, agree with Matthews.

“I appreciate their dedication to detail and the personality they put in their choreography,” said Walker.

The group meets every Monday through Thursday at 3:30 for an hour.

“They catch on extremely fast,” said Leung. “It’s great to see how much effort they put into balancing [Cloud9] with the rest of their activities like lacrosse and track.”

To debut their new dance skills, Cloud9 performed at the Valentine’s dance on Feb. 14. Leung and Walker worked together to choreograph the dance, which, in honor of Valentine’s Day, included more romantic moves.

“The main difference between our normal dances and the Valentine’s Day dance was [that] we used slower songs,” said Spratlin. “The dance was definitely a different style than what we are used to.”

The dance also conveyed a representation of relationships.

“[One song], ‘Poppin,’ involved the meet and greet of each couple in the choreography,” said Walker. “[Another song], ‘The Real Her,’ involved a short split between the partners where the guys and girls separated on each side of the stage. ‘Sure Thing’ involved the pairs getting back together and falling in love… which incorporated much more partner choreography.”

Leung admits that it was different to choreograph romantic songs.

“It was a little weird, to be honest,” Leung said. “I’m not really used to slow songs so choreographing it was a challenge, but it all worked out in the end.”

For the new members, performing in front of the school was a slightly intimidating but exciting experience.

“I was pretty nervous,” Spratlin said. “Being up there with everyone staring at me was pretty scary… Once we started dancing, though, it became less scary.”

Tice felt similarly. “It was so fun,” she said, “I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I thought [I would be].”

Matthews found dancing to be a more relaxing and fun experience than a nerve-wracking one.

“For me, it took some of the pressure off of DJ-ing,” Matthews said. “I got to dance with some of my favorite people and show the school what we do.”

The group carries a wide range of talents.

“I bring breakdancing to the table,” said Matthews, “along with video editing and music editing.”

Since there are two seniors graduating this year who are in the group, the underclassmen are making sure they build up their leadership skills.

“We are constantly in training to become the leaders for when we’re seniors,” Tice said.

Spratlin is also preparing to take lead next year when Leung and Walker leave.

“I can choreograph a pretty good dance,” said Spratlin, “so I look forward to doing that with [Matthews] next year.”

Cloud9 has been unique and enjoyable for the members.

“Being on Cloud9 gives me something to do at school that I love,” said Matthews. “Before joining, I did no extra-curricular activities… Now Cloud9 has become a part of my life and something I look forward to.”

Freshman Beth Huang feels the same. “[My favorite thing is] dancing without being criticized,” Huang said.
Spratlin’s favorite thing about being on Cloud9 is the time she spends with the other members after school.

“[I love] the people, the dancing, the music, and just having that hour after school to dance and not worry about anything else,” said Spratlin. “I wasn’t counting on making it when I tried out, because I had absolutely no dancing experience, but I am so glad I did… it has been the best experience ever.”
The Valentine’s Day dance marked the start of more Cloud9 performances.
“We’ve been working on our performance for the talent show on March 1 all year long,” said Matthews. “It’s going to be amazing! We are also working on things for the Dance Corps concert and assembly.”

If the debut of this year’s group of Cloud9 dancers on Feb. 14 was any indication, the future for this energized group holds lots of promise.