The dance team, known as “SoPhresh,” has been regarded as a regular crowd favorite among the youth according to several instructors and students at Patterson High School. The two act show, led by PHS seniors Zantino Bustos, Samuel De Leon and Phillip Apostol, marked a night to remember for many dance enthusiasts and fellow students. The three seniors had been a core dance group since their freshmen year, and couldn’t imagine performing their exit exam program any other way than with a dance.
Dozens of enthusiastic shouts were echoing throughout the auditorium Friday and Saturday evening, Jan. 17 and Jan. 18, as nearly one hundred students filled the aisles, ready to witness a dazzling performance. They were not disappointed.
Nine dancers lined the stage, providing excellent hand work, dance combinations and synced rhythmic moves — as well as a few flips and high kicks — to delight the crowd.
The music comprised of several current tunes one would hear at a club or the radio, but somehow the three seniors were able to sneak in a few oldies, including “Baby come back” by Player.
They even added a few pop culture references, including a snippet of dialogue from Michael Jackson’s hit “Thriller” and re-mastered beats from the Star Wars franchise. By the second act, the group even added classical music to their repertoire, with Zantino leading the pack with two conductor wands and a white petticoat.
Their ability to tell a story through dance engaged the audience even more than what was originally anticipated, and added a few extra laughs in the process.
The audience was even encouraged to get up and dance together, and one lucky patron was pulled up onstage while the boys danced around her, which garnered giggles and shouts.
Jonessa Santos, the boys’ mentor and dance instructor for Spotlight Dance Company in Newman, has been hosting the boys at her studio for the last six months, and wasn’t surprised their choreography brought about positive attention.
“I’m so proud of them,” said Santos. “They can run a classroom like no one else’s business. They always bring such positive energy into the room. It’s been a real pleasure working with them. They are going to go places; their gifted.”
But it wasn’t all fun and games for the three seniors. They began their project in the summer of 2013, and had a hard time acquiring a team to keep the show consistently running by January.
“A lot of songs have come and go, and a lot of dancers as well,” said Bustos. “Basically, it has been a tough challenge, but we are thankful for the ones who’ve stayed committed.”
“Since we’ve been working on it since the summer, you’d think we’d have everything done already, but there was a lot of stuff we had to cut,” added De Leon. “We had to cut some corners, but I’m really happy with how it all came out.”
The boys also forged new friendships with three new dancers from Modesto, who chose to miss their homecoming Friday evening to attend the charity show.
Overall, the dance created a beacon of fun and frivolity while promoting a wonderful cause. De Leon said the team choose the charity because it was in connection with their high school, and was their favorite cause to raise funds for.
PHS senior and Kids Helping Kids’ president Willie Lewis said he expected a large turnout due to the groups’ popularity, and was ecstatic they wanted to contribute to the cause.
Ticket sales were $3, although a few patrons donated a little more for extra measure. Lewis said he was proud of his fellow seniors and the community for their generous support.
“This really shows where their heart is,” said Lewis. “Rather than doing a project for leadership for the school, they showed their extra effort for Kids Helping Kids. We just want to thank them for that.”
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.