Tackling topics of race and identity in his spoken-word poetry, acting and hip-hop dancing, Rob Rush ’14 makes his audience reconsider any preconceived notions they may have had about those subjects.
“Dance is how I express myself when I run out of words or don’t feel like verbal communication is necessary,” said Rush. “Acting, however, I see in the same way as my poetry: it gives me another outlet express my opinions and perceptions through a more creative venue. In my poetry, I talk about many things from self-perception, to race relations, to how hot it is outside, to how I perceive the person in front of me. Acting can be all of that tied into one. My perception of the person in front of me will change my tempo and speech pattern depending on how acute they are regarding the topic I’m portraying.”
Although Rush grew up acting in school plays and talent shows, he only recently began to recognize the artistry of performance. He became passionate about it after taking Introduction to Acting here at Andover.
“One of my proudest moments was performing my original monologue, which was titled ‘Black,’” said Rush. “I created the piece during Introduction to Acting with Mr. [Allen] Grimm [Instructor in Theater and Dance], a class I originally took to fulfill a requirement. [Grimm] posed the statement ‘I am…’ and it was that statement at the ensuing words that made the class less of a requirement and more of an expansion of who I was. I never thought I could create something so powerful. I have performed this piece around four times now, and by the end of each performance I am always shaking because I never perform it the same way. It’s always a new piece in my mind, and it will always be as special to me as my first performance.”
Rush has also found guidance in Tom McGraw, Instructor in English. Among others, these two teachers pushed Rush beyond what he believed to be possible for himself.
“Grimm has definitely been a phenomenal resource, advocate, critic and mentor to me. He encouraged me to stay in his theater class and helped me push my limitations and reach my potential when I came to my piece. I would not have had the same drive to continue what I do without him. I can say the same for [McGraw] when it comes to writing. The man has been in my corner since I first walked on this campus and helped me build confidence as a writer, charging me not to be afraid to tell the truth for the sake of being politically correct,” said Rush.
Through dancing with Hypnotiq, the hip-hop dance group on campus, performing in DramaLabs and with his theater class, and in his upcoming Theatre-920 production, “Facing Our Truths: The Trayvon Martin Project,” Rush has created a large and respected name for himself at Andover.
“All of this has made my experience at [Andover] much more rewarding,” said Rush. “I came here in order to experience a new environment with new people, but I mainly wanted a place where I was going to be pushed to find myself. I definitely think the arts has been a big factor in expanding who I am and what it is that I’m here to do. You’ll never know what doors will open unless you knock, but knocking isn’t all it takes. You have to step inside.”