Dance Open Director: Yishu Chen ’19

With a video of the moon landing projected as a backdrop, Yishu Chen ’19 excitedly struck her tap shoes with the rest of the members of Footnotes, kicking off her dance career at Andover as a member of Footnotes in her first Grasshopper performance.

“My first memory [of dance at Andover] is Grasshopper where I performed with Footnotes, and we were doing this moon landing piece, and it was a really cool concept. We had a hole in the middle of the stage, so we were like, “Don’t fall in.” That was just a cool setup, and it was a good dance, too,” said Chen.

Chen has come to appreciate dance as an art form through jazz, tap, and traditional Chinese dance.

“My mom actually signed me up for dance when I was four, like a lot of other kids. Initially, I started off doing Chinese dance because my mom signed me up for it, and then later on, when I moved to Hong Kong, I started doing ballet classes and small performances here and there with my school and my dance school,” said Chen.

Chen has also been a prominent dancer in Dance Open, as she has participated in the show for both years of her Andover career, and has looked forward to participating in the event every year.

“I was involved in Dance Open both last year and this year, and this year, I actually choreographed a piece. Both last year and this year I was in the tap number, so I’ve grown. It’s one of my favorite shows of the year because it’s so diverse and it’s all student-choreographed, and I thought that was really cool,” said Chen.

Now as the new Dance Open Director, Chen hopes to reach a wider audience and spread her love for dance to the Andover community.

“As a Dance Open Director, my job is to organize the whole event leading up to the show. [I] make sure we have a diverse range of dances to include into the show from hip-hop to jazz [and] tap. We want to hear from new kids, and we also want to hear from new choreographers even if [they’ve] never done it before. We definitely want to include [them] in this show because that’s what it’s meant to be: to show people new choreography and your own artistic voice,” said Chen.