From Ballet to Jazz: Uanne Chang ’20 Displays Growth through Dance

Adrenaline coursing through her veins, Uanne Chang ’20, a dancer, hesitated before preparing to turn on pointe for a third time, attempting a notoriously difficult ballet move. As if aided by magic, she executed the turn perfectly, described Chang about the time she completed her first successful triple pirouette in eighth grade.

“It’s the feeling of being suspended for a long period of time in the position, a lot longer than I was used to. It was exhilarating and going around that third time was completely unexpected… It was always something that I remember thinking that I would never be able to do and just knowing that I’ve reached that level is always a nice feeling. It’s good to know that your hard work has paid off,” said Chang.

Although unwilling to dance at first because of the technical rigor, Chang began taking ballet lessons when she was around six years old. As she grew, Chang also came to understand the ways in which she could isolate her body movements, leading her to gradually embrace all kinds of dancing, eventually picking up modern and jazz around the fifth or sixth grade.

“[When] I was a little girl, I just wanted to move around and jump. It was really fun for me. Once I got older, I learned how to actually control my body and everything. I saw a couple of the older girls doing [other styles of dancing], and I was very inspired, so I started taking those kinds of classes. I’ve kind of integrated almost all aspects of dance into my life,” said Chang.

In recent years, Chang has attended the Boston Ballet School Newton Summer Intensive Program. Although the program was considerably more challenging than typical dance classes, Chang enjoyed the exposure to a variety of dancing styles and experienced teachers that helped her improve her own technique.

Chang said, “As amazing as your studios at home are, at a summer intensive it gives you an opportunity to learn with new teachers and… just all these amazing dancers who can give you opinions that you wouldn’t be able to get at home.”

In addition to improving under the guidance of her teachers, Chang also received the opportunity to learn from fellow dancers around the world at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) summer intensive program, where she was taught by Julie Kent, a former principal dancer of ABT. Looking forward, Chang is eager to be part of the Andover Dance Group and expand on her skills beyond the stage.

“I would like to choreograph something because I love doing that kind of stuff, and I’ve never had the opportunity to choreograph something all on my own. I want to take advantage of the opportunities that Andover has because they have a lot of chances for me to be able to do those kinds of things,” said Chang.

“Uanne expects nothing but the best from herself and will always work hard to achieve that. Her passion for dance is something you won’t see in many people, and she is always willing to take a risk to do bigger and better things, even if it means facing disappointments, which she doesn’t let stop her,” said Emily Ho ’20, a friend of Chang.