Dancing Into a New School Year: Apex High School’s New Dance Program

By: Amber Wilson and Shivani Handa

Brand new this year: Apex High School has begun a dance program! Not only is this program new, so is dance teacher Ms. Markoch. Known as Ms. M to her students, she is excited to be at Apex High School teaching dance. 

Meet Ms. M!

Ms. M’s zest for dancing began when she was three and was enrolled at the Holly Springs School of Dance, where she trained from ages 4-18. Additionally, she performed in the renowned American Dance Festival during high school. Both of Ms. M’s parents are teachers, so in keeping with the family tradition, she decided to combine her two passions to become a dance teacher. Her favorite style of dance is jazz, which she developed her love for in college. Ms. M studied at East Carolina University and received her degree in Dance Education with a K-12 teaching license. She co-directed the dance program at Ligon Middle after graduating from college, and was drawn to Apex by the fact that she could create a new program! Ms. M knew she wanted to teach at a high school level because in addition to strengthening their technique and performance, her high school students are also able to choreograph their own pieces. 

Establishing a new program at a school is no small feat. Over the summer, Ms. M was hard at work creating lesson plans, meeting with the other performing arts teachers, setting up her classroom, establishing the booster program, and hosting auditions for the Apex Dance Company (ADC). 

This semester, Ms. M is teaching 3 classes: ADC and 2 classes of Dance 1/2. Dance 1/2 is perfect for anyone who wants to explore dance. This class is mainly about building skills and exploring different genres such as ballet, jazz, modern, and specialty weeks of tap and hip hop. Apex Dance Company is a college prep, performance-based class. Auditions are held in the spring and are required for placement in the company. This honors-level class is for students who are interested in pursuing dance as a career. Ms. M recommends that students who want to be in ADC take prerequisites Dance 1/2 and Dance 3/4 before auditioning in the spring. 

Students in dance classes seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. ADC member Avery Sullins (‘24) said, “I auditioned for ADC because I thought it was a good learning opportunity and I could take different styles. The class is challenging but I enjoy it! I’m super excited to perform in the Winter Concert.” Dance 1/2 student, Charlotte (‘25) said: “I love how even if you don’t dance outside of school you can still take the class, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes dance.” Overall, the program has received lots of positive feedback.

Looking to the Future:

Ms. M will be establishing a chapter of The National Honor Society for Dance Arts. This is a club dance program that will debut at the beginning of the second semester this year. They will meet once a week during both lunches, and members will be able to perform in concerts with other dance students. 

The Apex Dance Team will be part of the athletic department, and will also be established at the beginning of the second semester. The hope is that they will collaborate with the cheerleaders to perform at half-time at home basketball games. 

The dance program has a plethora of concerts coming up. The inaugural concert for the Apex Dance Program is the Winter Concert taking place on December 9th, 2021. This concert will consist of pieces featuring ADC in solos, small groups, and large group performances. 

For more information regarding the dance and dance boosters programs, visit their website at 

https://www.markochdance.com/

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