Walking timidly into the ballet studio, Emily Jackson ’19 waited quietly by herself. Feeling uncomfortable and nervous in the unfamiliar environment, Jackson watched as the other dancers streamed in and began to greet each other. Recognizing Jackson, Lizzie McGonagle ’16, co-head of Andover Dance Group (ADG) at the time, walked over and began to welcome her.
“It was one of the greatest moments of my life in dance. It was just so welcoming, and that really showed me how amazing the dance environment is and how amazing and supportive everyone is,” said Jackson.
After taking Ms. Strong’s choreography class last spring, Jackson realized that she wanted to become a choreographer. She returned the following year searching for opportunities to perform, and found the perfect chance with Dance Labs, participating in every Dance Lab this year.
“I just hopped right into Dance Labs, and I worked with a great group of people. It was a group of five people including myself, and it was really fun; it was a really good experience. I really liked [this year’s first Dance Lab], and it was just really fun to do. And then I just kept going from there,” said Jackson.
As Dance Labs Director next year, Jackson hopes to spread her passion for choreography and encourage other students to create their own dances. She sees Dance Labs as an opportunity to welcome dancers new to choreography to explore.
Jackson said, “For me personally, it enhanced my whole mentality on dance. I learned not just to do a dance as a dancer, but I learned how to see where all the movements were coming from and how they all fit together in a dance. I really just [want] to help people find that part in them.”
Through the welcoming environment she has experienced, Jackson has been able to form strong bonds with other dancers and looks forward to working with them.
“This year, I’ve especially become close with a lot of the dancers. Now that I have a better relationship with them, I think I’ll be able to work more closely with all the board members. And I also hope to work with a lot of the co-heads of the dance clubs, like Hypnotiq, Blue Strut, and Footnotes, to try to incorporate them more into the dance department. I think it’s a really great group of people,” said Jackson.