Former Competitive Dancer Alexa Goulas ’18 Finds Artistry at Andover

After an exhausting day of dancing and competing at Kaleidoscope, a dance competition that took place in Lowell, Mass., Alexa Goulas ’18 anxiously waited for the judges to announce the winner of a special award for “exceptional personality, courage and performance onstage,” as she described in an email to The Phillipian. When she heard her name blare through the speakers, Goulas jumped from her seat and onto the stage to accept the award with a proud smile on her face.

“I had won overall [awards] for my solos before, but I had never won a ‘special award.’ A special award is personal; it’s given directly to you because you stood out to that judge. Receiving this award was so important to me [because] it was someone awarding me for doing something that I love,” said Goulas.

Goulas’s love for dance began at the age of two when her parents enrolled her in dance classes at her local dance center. After a few years at the studio, Goulas joined the studio’s competition team, which she said introduced her to a more cutthroat side of dance.

“While I was on the competition team, winning was the most important thing [to the team]. It wasn’t until junior high, when I started taking classes with other choreographers, that I learned that dance was also about movement and expressing yourself,” said Goulas.

In middle school, Goulas was dancing between 14 and 15 hours every week, with classes and rehearsals taking up most of her free time. Right before starting her Junior year at Andover, Goulas realized that she would not be able to continue with this time consuming dance schedule.

“The dance program at Andover is a very different atmosphere for me, especially coming from a competition studio. But similar to the classes that changed my view on dance, the focus at Andover is on self-expression, not on winning or how good the girl on the other side of the studio is,” said Goulas.

On campus, Goulas has taken dance as a sport since the winter and is a member of Andover Dance Group (ADG), Andover’s audition-only advanced modern dance company, and Footnotes, Andover’s tap dancing ensemble.

In the LOVE, ADG show earlier this spring, Goulas performed a fast-paced jazz number to Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love,” and she considers it one of her favorite solos. In addition to jazz, Goulas also loves modern and contemporary dance.

“I love jazz, because it’s very upbeat and you can add your own personality to it. I also like contemporary [dance], because it’s usually slow and you can really express a story through the dance,” said Goulas.

Lydia Paris ’17, one of Goulas’s friends on ADG, said “[Goulas] has a lot of tricks and skills, and she has really good jazz technique, so I think she is a very good asset to the jazz and modern program at Andover. She brightens up the studio and has a lot of energy, which really comes across in her dancing.”

Goulas plans to continue dancing for as long as possible. Although she said that she is not interested in going to a performing arts college or majoring in dance, she hopes to join a dance group at whichever college she decides to attend.

“Dance has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I didn’t dance in the fall, it felt like something was missing. As soon as I started again in the winter, things felt normal again. It showed me that in the future, I definitely want to keep dancing as much as I can,” said Goulas.