Kellis Rocks the Night

Choreography Inspired by Class Ideas, Big Pharma, Personal Connections, and Favorite Holidays


Mia Lucas

Cori Hailmann (6th from top left) and her dance students pause practice for a group photo.

Aryonna Mason, Emely Montoya, and Mia Lucas

The Raymond S. Kellis fall dance concert showcased the hard work, talent, and dedication of the Kellis dancers and dance instructors. The dance instructors, Ashley David-Watkins and Cori Hailmann, and their students, put great effort into preparing for the 2018 fall show.

The theme for the dance concert, “Kellis Rocks,” was selected by David-Watkins. So how did she come up with the overall theme?

Kellis dance instructor, Ashley David-Watkins

“A lot of times I’ll have kids create their own ideas and then sometimes I pull from those ideas so I’m thinking it might have been a kid [who] gave me the idea and I just ran with it,” David-Watkins explained.

Mia Lucas
Ashley David-Watkins (back center) and her dedicated dance students.

Although setting up the dance concert was a team effort, Hailmann and David-Watkins each created separate dances and had different reasonings and inspirations for each dance they choreographed.

Hailmann said, “The one I created with the beginners was called ‘Sweet Disposition’ and it was basically about [how] in life we never know what is going to happen and things like can be very unexpected and to embrace every moment in our life, because we never know how quickly it can change and then the other dance I choreographed was ‘Vitamin’ and that was a piece inspired by big pharma; big pharma is a term used for maybe the whole company of pharmaceutical drugs.”

David-Watkins said, “I did ‘Desperado’ which is an Eagles song and the reason I did that song is because it reminds me of my dad, that’s his favorite band and whenever I hear the Eagles or listen to the Eagles it reminds me of my father. ‘This is Halloween’ is one I did with beginners and it was the Marilyn Manson version of it and that’s because I love Halloween – that’s my favorite holiday and I wanted to squeeze that in there and then with performance I did ‘From Now On’ from The Greatest Showman and I think for me it was the perfect setting for a senior upper classman dance because it’s kinda talking about personal growth personal reflection and then becoming the person you want to become so that was kinda my inspiration for that one.”

Kellis dance instructor, Cori Hailmann

Hailmann and David-Watkins both believe that the dances went well and are overall proud of the dancers. When it comes to the audience both dance teachers say the audience was respectful and they enjoyed the show.

The responsibility of setting up the dances was in David-Watkin’s and Hailmann’s hands. When asked about what it was like having these responsibilities, Hailmann talked about some on the pressures that accompany putting together a show.