Emerson Judson ’20 Fosters Friendships and Character in Dance Groups

With a vibrant red flower in her hair, ten-year-old Emerson Judson ’20, clad in an equally bright red costume paired with fishnet tights, twirled and kicked across the stage alongside her best friend. Judson and her friend met at a young age through dance and performed together in a sassy jazz duo choreographed by Ms. Caity, Judson’s teacher and “second mom,” according to Judson in an interview with The Phillipian.

“I remember we both started on the stage and the beginning was kind of sassy and just small little movements, kind of like showing off… The song ended with a big bang, and we both posed and did the same look that we did in the beginning. I’ll never forget that dance because it was with her, and Ms. Caity choreographed it,” said Judson.

Besides performing in recitals at the studio, Judson began her competitive dance career when she was in first grade. At first, Judson competed in larger groups with her friends, usually learning jazz and tap, every year. Later on, she began to learn close to seven or eight dances and often competed in smaller groups of trios, duos, or solos while traveling around New England.

“I made a lot of good friends at my old studio, we kind of became a family… I love watching people dance. It makes me happy, so I keep doing it. Dancing with bigger groups is probably my favorite. I’ve done solos a lot and continue to do them just because they’re… good practice to get to dance by yourself [but] dancing with a group is honestly so much better because you can dance with all of your friends and everyone kind of peps each other up,” said Judson.

Since coming to Andover, Judson has become more focused on varying dance groups on campus, such as Bluestrut and Andover Dance Group, which have given her opportunities to meet and dance with people of similar interest.

“This year, I’m only doing one [competitive] dance since I’m trying to find a balance between school and dance, [but] competitive dance is the stuff where I came from. My studio is very competitive too; everything we do is so precise, and that’s kind of why now I’m a perfectionist. Compared to my old studio, [dancing at Andover] is not competitive, which is pretty new to me. Now, it’s more like we’re all learning from each other, and it’s just a different experience,” said Judson.

Currently, Judson, along with her friends Claudine Waggoner ’20, Sophia Esposito ’20, and Willow Pae ’20, are working on a dance for Dance Open. Together, Judson and her friends, none of whom have choreographed before, came up with their own choreography for the performance, despite this being the first Dance Open for the four Juniors.

“Emerson’s passion for dance and amazing dancing technique is inspiring. Dancing with her in classes and on stage is not only beautiful to watch but pushes me to try and excel at the