Making my M-Ark in the 2017 Menlo-Atherton High School’s Senior Fashion Show
Other than a few scattered dance and piano recitals in elementary school, I have never performed on stage. That will change this Saturday, April 1. I will be ending my decade-long hiatus to perform in Menlo-Atherton’s annual Senior Fashion Show along with about 170 of my classmates.
Over three performances (1:00, 4:00 and 7:30 pm), the show features four dances and clothing from over 20 stores. Carolyn Tom, one of the models that was in the first show 35 years ago, will be modeling again in a mother-daughter segment this year.
At my modeling rehearsals, we took turns practicing and creating different poses, applauding as each model walked down the “runway” and struck a pose. Though I had silently dreaded going to these rehearsals and exposing my lack of talent, they were not as awkward as I anticipated.
During one rehearsal, Charleston Pierce, the choreographer who has worked with the fashion show for about five years, asked us: “Have you told yourself you love yourself today?” After a few mumbled responses, he added, “We’re going to do it now… We are all family here. We love each other.”
The dance rehearsals were just as energetic; and, despite my lack of coordination, I almost preferred them to the modeling classes. Carrie Davis, a teacher at Pinewood and instructor for several former contestants on So You Think You Can Dance, choreographed all of the dances for the show.
As part of this year’s Make Your M-Ark theme, all the models wrote down how they want to “make their mark” on cards that will serve as decoration. On the cards, some students wrote about social justice – they want to protect the 11 million undocumented immigrants, promote service opportunities, and fight for equal protection regardless of gender and race. Others wrote about everything from curing cancer, to being kind, to recycling.
The co-chairs for this year’s show are Taylor Perkins, who co-chaired the show last year, and Leigh Anne Reichow. Reflecting on last year’s show, Perkins says, “It was fun to see the models really connecting in a positive way…We had a group that had never met and by the end they would stand outside PAC after their rehearsal and they choreographed an ending for their segment.”
Though I barely dance at school dances and I shy away from pictures at all costs, the fashion show has been one of the most memorable parts of my time at M-A.
Editor’s note: The fashion show is more than just a bonding opportunity for seniors. It is also the PTA’s largest fundraiser, providing funding for many important student and school services. Tickets are available online and at the door (although some performances have sold out in the past.) Note: The fashion show organizers have free tickets available for the 1:00 pm kickoff show for community groups, senior centers, youth non-profits, etc. Interested groups should contact Taylor Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rehearsal photos courtesy of Leigh Anne Reichow