By Melinda JohnstonCorrespondent The Drama Department of Independence High School, 1967 Patriot Drive in Mint Hill, will present “Footloose” this weekend with performances Feb. 7, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m., and Feb. 10 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door. This year’s show features a 34-member student cast, 10 member student band, 10 student tech crew members, and 5 faculty members. Drama teacher Paula Baldwin, who joined the school’s faculty in 2011, says the drama program and the show have been greatly enhanced by community collaboration and support. Last year the sound system in the auditorium was replaced with help of school funding and money from Independence PTSA. More improvements were made this year. Thanks to Mint Hill Community Church, the room has new upholstered chairs and a new LED lighting system. A generous grant from a local medical practice helped fund the show. The stage has been extended and platforms added to add level and sightlines so that more of the cast can be seen on stage. “We have really come a long way over the past 18 months. The program is really taking off and that’s a good thing. The communications skills and confidence level these kids develop in performing arts classes translates into so many different areas. It will help them in college interviews, in job interviews, and in life,” said Baldwin.