From classical ballet to salsa and square dancing, the Dance Department has expanded the techniques they offer in order to accommodate everyone interested in learning dance. While the staple techniques of the dance department were once ballet and modern, Judith Wombwell and Erin Strong are working to incorporate jazz and hip-hop into the everyday curriculum. On top of that, student-taught World Dance classes are offered weekly. These classes are open not only to those who take dance as a sport but to everyone in the Andover community. Unique styles such as ballroom dancing, swing dancing and Irish step dancing are just a few popular units that have been taught in the past. In World Dance classes, essentially everyone is a beginner. Everyone is in the same boat, so it is difficult to feel self-conscious about knowing the steps or having perfect technique. The department’s long-term goal has been to increase the level of involvement in shows regardless of the dancer’s experience. For example, while the Nutcracker contains complicated and technically challenging variations, there are roles that require little if any actual dance experience. As well, the Dance Open is a student-directed show which casts only student-choreographed pieces. This showcases dancers who may not audition for faculty shows due to time constraints along with their more difficult chorography. Over the past three years, two student-run groups, Blue Strut and Hypnotiq, have made their way into the Andover community, adding a funky new flare to shows such as Grasshopper Night and the Dance Open. Members in these groups come from all different dance backgrounds. They range from hip-hop pros to classical ballerinas. Although these groups are audition-based, Hypnotiq offered an open hip-hop workshop for anyone to attend that culminated in a performance in Hypnotiq’s “I am Hip-Hop” show last spring. Dance is a skill that requires years of diligent training and commitment; it is very difficult to improve unless sufficient practice is put in both inside and outside of regular classes. Renee Amirault ’07 is a perfect example of a student who has risen in the dance department. Starting in Beginning Ballet her Lower year, Amirault felt frustrated at times when comparing herself to the students in the advanced classes. However, instead of allowing this to prevent her from becoming involved in the dance program, she channeled these feelings into motivation. Taking extra classes and applying the corrections she received in class, Amirault found her efforts paid off. Now in her senior year, she is a member of the Dance Committee, one of the leaders of Hypnotiq (Andover’s only student-run hip-hop group) and has moved her way up into the Advanced Ballet class. The greatest thing about the Dance Department that not a lot of people know is that you can be as involved as your schedule allows. Most people assume that participating in the Nutcracker or being in a student group consumes hours and hours of your day. Whether you want to pursue dance as a career or just drop by for a World Dance class every so often, the Dance Department will welcome you with open arms.