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The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Student art spotlight: Kaylee Chernoff

WCHS junior Kaylee Chernoff finishes off her number Does Your Mother Know? during the musical Mama MIa center stage and strikes a pose.
Photo courtesy of Kaylee Chernoff
WCHS junior Kaylee Chernoff finishes off her number “Does Your Mother Know?” during the musical “Mama MIa” center stage and strikes a pose.

When students come to see a show at WCHS, they get the experience of a lifetime. Talented dancers, singers and actors come together to create something incredible. Months of hard work are put into every performance. WCHS junior Kaylee Chernoff is one of these performers and someone students may remember seeing on stage. Most recently, as part of WCHS’s production of “Mamma Mia: The Musical,” Chernoff dazzled the stage with high kicks, deep backbends and a powerful singing voice.

However, Chernoff has done more than just dance across the stage. As a part of WCHS’s theater for the past three years she has participated in “The Addams Family”, “Matilda” and helped to choreograph “Blast 32: Unity”, “Blast 33: Amour” and “Mamma Mia”. Currently, Chernoff is working on “Blast 34: Into the Jungle ” as a dance captain.

“As one of the head choreographers, [I] oversee the [other] choreographers and make sure they are doing their jobs, as well as running the all-cast numbers and choreographing a few numbers on our own,” Chernoff said. “I am currently choreographing two numbers on my own, ‘Wild Horses’ and ‘She-Wolf.’” 

WCHS’s theater program is predominantly student-run, which grants an incredible amount of responsibility and independence to its members. Students get to take their own creative direction because they are the directors, the backstage crew and the choreographers. Chernoff is one of the creative minds behind WCHS’s incredible theater department, and the work done to prepare her for this job has spanned nearly her entire life. 

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“I have always liked [dance] and music since I was little,” Chernoff said. “My parents put me in dance classes at the young age of two years old and my family has always been filled with music. I was pretty much surrounded by music when I was younger. I auditioned for [the] Little Mermaid Junior. I was seven years old. That was the first time I was in a musical and I loved it!”

Chernoff also pursues her passion outside of WCHS’s theater department through many different arts programs, like last summer when she participated in musical theater pre-college programs at Syracuse University and Texas State, which have highly respected musical theater schools. However, Chernoff has also been involved in dance programs outside of WCHS. 

“For a long time, I did shows attached to my former dance studio, Ballet Petite Performance Company,” Chernoff said. “Then I ended up leaving to do shows at Bravo Productions. Which I left to join a performance group called Take the Stage where I got to work with guest choreographers from Broadway. They sadly closed down over COVID-19. I am currently on the dance competition team and do work at Ovations Studios. I take the styles of tap, jazz, modern, lyrical and ballet. I really love all the teachers there and the environment is really welcoming and positive. I currently work as a sub at the front desk and I love it.” 

Chernoff is a true performer, one who has dedicated her life to her craft and has shared her love of dancing with the world. As part of her effort to spread her love for dance, Chernoff has also started a buddy program at Ovations Studios, her dance company. 

“I really value community and so I wanted to bring it to my dance team as a way to help the team grow closer,” Chernoff said. “The premise of the buddy program is that there are ‘littles’ and ‘bigs’ and the ‘littles’ don’t know who their ‘big’ is, but the ‘bigs’ know who their ‘little’ is. Then they write letters back and forth to each other. It’s one of my favorite things about our team.” 

Chernoff’s journey is far from over. She plans to do much more at WCHS’s theater department before graduating next year. She will surely bring the same life to this school year’s Blast performances that she has brought to past years. WCHS will get to witness another vibrant and brilliant production from our theater department. 

“It’s a lot of work, but I’m enjoying Blast this year,” said Chernoff. “If they come and see it, I think everyone will really enjoy Blast 34: Into the Jungle.”

Throughout her life Chernoff has put in an incredible amount of effort into her work. Dance is equal parts her passion and her lifestyle, which makes it so impressive to see on stage. Chernoff plans to continue dance and theater once she graduates high school, and potentially pursue her career. In the meanwhile, WCHS gets to witness the cultivation and growth of an incredible artist and should not waste the opportunity to see her live on stage.

“Theater is really important to me, and it’s a motivator for me to get to school most days. I love doing it at WCHS because it’s such a welcoming and supportive community that fosters a great environment for to experiment and grow. Dancing is such a big part of my life, and I’m so glad to share it with everybody here at WCHS.”

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About the Contributor
Dehab Deglel, Promotions & Subscriptions Manager
Dehab Deglel is a sophomore at WCHS and is the Promotions Manager for her second year taking journalism. This school year she is excited to develop her writing skills further and meet new people. When outside of school, Dehab likes to read, go on long walks, and play video games with her family.

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