Category Archives: Dance

Hamlin Student Lights Up The Ballroom Dance Stage

Annika (Grade 6) and her dance partner Nathan are currently highly ranked ballroom dancers competing on a global stage. The two began dancing in San Francisco in September 2014 at the SDA Sukachov Dance Academy. By the end of 2015 they were American Dance League’s couple of the year in Pre-Teen 1 category for two years in a row.

Annika has recently started competing in the Junior category where the competition is tough and the dancers are older. Even though they’ve only been competing in this new category since July they have already won numerous regional and national competitions including winning in the West Coast Junior Olympics and placing 2nd in the country at one of USA’s most competitive national competitions. They have competed in Paris, and London, and will be dancing in Vienna (Austria) next week.

We had a chance to interview Annika.

How did you get started with dancing?

My mom signed me up for a dance camp. At first it started as an after school hobby, but soon became one the most important things in my life.

What do you like most about dancing?

I love that after each competition I become more and more hungry to improve. Nathan and I are always working to be our best.

What is your training like?

I practice every single day of the week, 2-5 hours a day. Some days we go through our whole routine, other days I’m in a group class. During the week I also do one on one sessions with my teachers. On Thursday I do a stretch class with ballet. The training works your core, your rib cage; you have to pay attention to every aspect of the human body in motion. Nathan and I will also watch YouTube videos of other dancers to get inspiration.

Do you ever get nervous before a competition?

I do sometimes get nervous, you should always be a little nervous so that you know you are ready and not overconfident. Our teachers pump us up by getting us to focus on the process of dancing, not the result. They don’t want us to dance better than the other couple; they want us to do better than our previous performances, to compete with ourselves.

What are your future dance goals?

I have a lot of goals. I would like to be a National champion in Juniors I and II in Ballroom. I would like to be top 3 at the competition in Blackpool, London. I would like to be a world champion.

Dancer Eric Garcia Visits Hamlin

On Friday, Eric Garcia spent the morning working with girls in our Grade 8 dance elective.

Eric Garcia is a choreographer, performer, filmmaker, teacher, and activist whose feet are deeply rooted in the Bay Area. He proudly serves as Production Coordinator with Fresh Meat Productions, Sean Dorsey Dance, and the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival. Mr. Garcia has collaboratively worked with groups of incarcerated men, senior adults, LGBTQ youth, and self-identified non-dancers on various performance projects. Mr. Garcia hosts a monthly drag cabaret as Churro Nomi at the Make Out Room and more sporadically at The Rite Spot. He was the Spring 2017 choreographer-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and a 2016-17 Emerging Arts Professionals SF/BA Fellow. He is the recipient of the 2017 CHIME Award with Margaret Jenkins Dance Company.


Hamlin Welcomes A Radio City Rockette

On Tuesday, Michelle Hammer, a former Rockette (Radio City’s legendary dance company), led Ms. O’Brien’s kindergarten class through a junior Rockettes experience. Ms. Hammer taught the girls actual Rockettes jazz choreography as well as their world-famous kick line. The aspiring dancers also had the opportunity to ask questions about being a Rockette and a professional dancer.

Earlier in the year, Ms. O’Brien’s class chose dance as their focus for emergent study. This study is based on the girl’s questions, observations, and interests. When possible, dance is integrated into all units of study (math, reading, writing, investigations/social studies, and social and emotional learning). Ms. Hammer’s visit provided another layer of understanding, enriching student appreciation for dance as a discipline and art form.

For almost a century, the Rockettes have been American icons. They have appeared at Radio City Music Hall in hundreds of stage spectaculars, and have participated in many historic and memorable events—like joining the USO and traveling abroad to entertain the troops and support wartime effort, and performing at the inauguration of the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush, in 2001.

For more information about The Radio City Rockettes, please visit:

Watch our Hamlin students do a “kick line” in the video below:


Hamlin Dancers Perform at City College of San Francisco

On the night of December 9, a group of talented Grade 8 students took the stage with the Ultimate Alliance Dance Company and Bay Area Flash Mob, on the campus of San Francisco’s City College. They dazzled the audience of 150 people while performing with college age dancers from the Strong Pulse Dance Crew. Hamlin girls shared the stage with the six older dancers and their teacher, Ms. Kirstin Williams. The experience gave Hamlin students the opportunity to participate in the show and absorb a variety of dance genres (Hip-Hop, Contemporary, B-Girl, B-Boy), while seeing mixed-aged artists from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The evening could not have happened without the leadership of Hamlin faculty member, Ms. Williams, who created and designed the entire event. Ms. Williams held countless hours of rehearsal time in preparation for the performance.

Williams states, I was so impressed by their dedication and commitment to really want to learn the choreography. A majority of my 19 students had never done dance before, and it was new to them. They were nervous, but they transcended, the experience unified and inspired them. 

Ms. Williams went on to share: this work is about integrating communities, bringing people together, working well together, and inspiring each other.