"Ms. Streetdance" Resides At PEN
• Peninsula High student captures dance title for second year in a row.
Peninsula High’s Elle Babich, a junior and varsity COED Choreo member, took first place at the Streetdance competition held in West Torrance High School, giving her the “Ms. Streetdance” title for the second year on a row.
Competing against multiple female soloists, Babich was able to rise above the competition with the help of COED Choreo coach Danyel Moulton and her performance ability and determination before and on stage.
“I wanted to give my audience a reason to smile and genuinely enjoy watching a dance piece,” Babich said. “This year’s Streetdance solo was definitely one of my favorite solos I have ever done in my dance career, and I wanted to portray that love on stage.”
Babich’s dancing career started years before COED Choreo, in the Peninsula School of Performing Arts, at the age of seven. Up to high school, she was mostly trained in classical styles, but she always enjoyed hip-hop above other techniques. So, she auditioned for COED Choreo in the April before her freshman year and became the first freshman to ever make the varsity team. From there, she worked to improve her craft through her involvement in select pieces and, eventually, her solos.
“Actually, when my brother was a high school freshman, he came home one day and told me that I need to join COED Choreo when I get to high school, which jump-started my decision to audition,” Babich said. “But I have always loved hip-hop, and the camaraderie in COED Choreo motivated me to stay.”
According to COED Choreo coach Shigeto Nakano, Babich’s primary strength on stage is performance. Her facial expressions and presence when performing are what distinguished her as a dancer from the other soloists at Streetdance.
Babich believes, contrastly, that her determination and push as a dancer made a significant difference in the outcome of her solo.
“If you have Elle stand on the stage and, without dancing at all, purely perform with her facial expressions, the audience would still be drawn to her, that is how powerful her performance is to me,” Nakano said. “Performance, as well as her confidence, are definitely her strengths on stage.”
With the remainder of the season and her last year of high school coming up, Babich hopes to continue making lasting memories on COED Choreo and possibly major in dance in college. If she does not major in dance, she hopes to join a competitive team outside of school after graduation.
“For the rest of high school, I want to have a good time on COED Choreo and continue pushing myself to the best of my ability as a dancer,” Babich said.
After years of dancing competitively, Babich looks back at her years in the dance world and wishes that her younger self was not so self-critical. She believes that, in the end, her worries from years past would have dissipated no matter what and would actually flower into her current accomplishments as a team dancer, soloist, and person.
“I wish I was not so hard on myself all those years ago,” Babich said. “I used to beat myself up about not being the best dancer in the room for certain styles, and I wish I could have told her that it would not be the end of the world and that she will soon be doing great things in high school with dancers she loves and on a stage she will adore.”