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The Student News Site of McCallum High School

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The Student News Site of McCallum High School

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For Hufford, dance is like therapy


Sophomore sensation to appear in Me and My Girl and more

You have to plié lower than the girl on your right. You have to kick higher than the girl on your left. The boy behind you has a stronger pique than you so you have to really show off your pirouettes today. On top of that, the song this dance is choreographed to doesn’t have a clear message and so you aren’t really sure what to do with your face.

Then the music starts.

Musical theatre can become overwhelming with pressure to be “good enough,” and it’s not hard to let that pressure consume you, and even stand in the way of your art. Keeping the message behind the movement in mind is extremely important to the authenticity and relatability of every performance.

That’s why for dancer, singer, and actress Hannah Hufford, it’s all about putting the dedication first and keeping it that way.

“[I] wonder a lot if pursuing a career in performing is worth it,” Hufford says, “but I just don’t think I could live without dance or music.”

This is a mindset many people take years to reach, while Hufford has been putting it to practice all her life, whether it be through her professional attitude, tireless commitment or extraordinary talent.

A hard worker since age 9 when she began her dance career at a studio called Dance Discovery, even then she was on a mission to better herself in the craft of musical theatre. She’s always known what she wants, which is a huge advantage when pursuing a career that causes you to withstand emotional and physical exhaustion at times. This drive has pushed her to become a dance major, participating in every school musical since she’s been at McCallum, and this year auditioning and getting into Zach Scott’s Pre-Professional Company.

Earlier this month, she even auditioned in New York for the Rockettes summer dance intensive. She will find out in mid-March whether or not she’s been accepted. If she makes it there, she’ll rehearse at Radio City Music Hall and learn actual Rockette choreography.

Before then, Hufford will extend her Mac musical performance streak starting this Thursday when she assumes the role of the Lambeth girl in MacTheatre’s rendition of Me and My Girl that opens its two-weekend run on Thursday with evening shows on Friday and Saturday and a Sunday matinee both this weekend and next.

Hufford, who will also appear as a dancer in the ensemble numbers, said her character is a bit of a gold digger who approaches the very proper executor Sir John (played by Max Corney) once she realizes he’s rich.

Although the rehearsal process has been grueling, Hufford said she has enjoyed learning the dances, choreographed by first-year Mac dance teacher Natalie Uehara, or Ms. Nat, to her students.

“I especially enjoy ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ because it’s a tap number,” Hufford said. “I haven’t been taking tap for that long so it was fun to have a challenging number to learn.”

That Hufford would most enjoy a dancing challenge comes as no surprise to her dance teacher.

“[She is a] model student–hard working and skilled,” Uehara said. “Her quiet determination has inspired me.”

No matter how outstanding Hufford’s career as a performer has been, every artist has something in their lives that inspires them.

“I feel most inspired by my peers and people I work with,” said Hufford, adding that her peer relationships help her overcome her shyness. “I’m more introverted, and it’s hard for me to open up to people I don’t know that well.”

But Hufford’s peers say that they have also learned a lot from her.

Fellow sophomore dance major Chloe Shields said that Hufford has taught her a great deal: “I’ve learned a lot about professionalism in a dance community with her because I feel like she really shows poise and how to act in a dance class.”

Hufford’s approach to each day in class not only sets an example for other’s to follow, but it creates the process for Hufford to grow as a dancer, one session at a time.

Success does not come easily no matter how the big screen (or stage) makes it look, though this is something Hufford has always known. She has worked hard to get to where she is today, and every second has paid off because she has been able to keep her head on her shoulders and focus on what she really loves: to make art.

“I know [this] sounds cliché, but I honestly think dance is kind of like therapy for me and it helps me deal with anger or other emotions I’m feeling…dance is a way to express exactly how I feel with using any words.”

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For Hufford, dance is like therapy