The Student News Site of East Lansing High School


The Student News Site of East Lansing High School


The Student News Site of East Lansing High School


Dance coach takes on new role as musical choreographer

Photo by Joelle King
Disusing dance formation, Brenna Christopoulos and Sara Thompson watch full run-through of Mamma Mia.

This year, French teacher Brenna Christopoulos has taken on many new roles. Alongside teaching six preps, Christopoulos runs two clubs, coaches the dance team and, most recently, has taken on being the choreographer of the school musical. After being recommended by District Media Specialist Kathy Kowalski, Christopoulos was approached by Theater Director Sara Thompsom and asked to choreograph “Mamma Mia”. Although tackling so many responsibilities all at once can be exhausting, Christopoulos makes it seem easy because she is doing something she loves. 

Throughout her own time in high school, Christopoulos performed in her school’s musicals. She was in “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Once on This Island,” “Working” and “Legally Blonde.” Christopoulos was the star dancer in each of these productions. Having had experience with musicals gave Christopoulos some relief when she started choreographing. 

“I could see, OK, I don’t just need to make a dance number to this. I need to make it like they’re going to use props and there’s going to be a transition and they still have to tell a story while they’re doing the dance,’” Christopoulos said. “So I think coming from that lens really helped me.”

When choreographing the musical, Christopoulos looks to other productions for inspiration. Over winter break she watched countless YouTube videos to prepare. Although she draws inspiration from other productions, Christopoulos wanted to make the choreography her own, with her own unique style.  

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Taking a break after a long rehearsal, Brenna Christopoulos speaks to students in the pit. (Photo by Joelle King)

The musical has overall been a great experience for Christopoulos. Being able to work with her current students and meeting new people has been one of the best parts for her. 

“It’s been really cool to work with students who don’t take French class, which is kind of the same thing that I experienced with my dance team,” Christopoulos said. 

One of those students is Stella Asaf (12). Asaf is on the dance team and in the musical, so she has worked very closely with Christopoulos. 

“She has been so beyond supportive, she is so kind, professional and caring,” Asaf said. “She is so genuine and does everything with kindness.” 

Alongside working with dancers, being able to help students who have never danced before has been very rewarding for her. Seeing students’ transformations from never doing dance or even theater has been another great outcome from this experience. 

“Hearing their positive feedback and how excited they were, they really love the choreography. And so getting the feedback from them and just having them tell me that they’re having fun was the coolest part,” Christopoulos said.

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About the Contributors
Grace Papineau
Grace Papineau, Staff Writer
Grace Papineau is in the class of 2026 and is a staff writer for Portrait.  This is her first year on staff as a sophomore.  Grace's favorite thing about journalism is knowing relevant information and writing about it.   When she's not in the newsroom, Grace loves acting, which is her passion.
Joelle King
Joelle King, Photography Editor
Joelle King is in the class of 2025 and is a Photography Editor for Portrait.  This is her second year on staff as a junior.  Joelle's favorite thing about journalism is telling stories through video. When she is not in the newsroom, Joelle loves competitive dancing and reading.

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