Hockadance Performs for the Dallas Opera

To help celebrate the 59th Dallas Opera season, Hockaday dancers surprise a crowd with a flash mob and dance to Showboat tunes.

“Girls from the top! Step ball change, kick, plié, chassé, and leap!” As the beginning notes of the music played, tulle skirts flew into the air and white parasols framed perfect round buns wrapped in ribbon.

On Thursday October 29 at the Winspear Opera House, Hockaday Dance Theatre took part in the two-day celebration, First Sight First Night, which kicked off the 59th Dallas Opera Season. The girls surprised guests and benefactors with a flash mob and short dance in the Winspear foyer before leading them off to the main hall.

This season, the Dallas Opera will be performing five operas and will close the season for the first time with a musical, Showboat.  Since the event was sponsored by Northpark Mall, Nancy Nasher (’72), the owner of the shopping center, along with Ellen Winspear (’77) came to dance teacher Beth Wortley and asked her to choreograph a dance using Showboat songs.  

“It’s really special for us to be at the Winspear and for them to think of us. It’s a great experience for the girls, and it’s just so much fun dancing to Showboat,” Wortley said.

At around noon, the girls ran out and mingled with the surprised crowd but quickly moved to their beginning positions. Elegant ballet moves dominated the dance, but a few jazz walks and turns were weaved throughout. Dazzling the crowd, a trio nailed fouetté turns and saut de chats while the rest of the dancers twirled their parasols in the background before joining them again in a kick line.

Senior Lily Sumrow smiled for the cameras and the crowd as her leg nearly reached the top of her head.

“My favorite part of the dance is definitely the kick line, it’s so fun especially since it’s toward the end and where I’m not as nervous anymore,” Sumrow said.

The Hockaday dancers have rehearsed this piece since the beginning of the school year, and their hard work paid off as they were showered by compliments from the crowd and the event organizers.  Tracy Mott, the Dallas Opera Special Events coordinator, noted that the girls were very professional and looked beautiful dancing in their colorful tutus.

“Mrs. Nasher and Mrs. Winspear both have Hockaday very near to their hearts so I know it was very important for them to include Hockaday girls and their dancers into the celebration,” Mott said, “I think it made this weekend just that much more special for them.”