Spinning across the stagedressed in all black, Emerson Judson ’20 and Sophia Esposito ’20 conveyed a story of a smothering yet dependent relationship between two people. Their contemporary dance, choreographed to the song “Smother,” was selected to be showcased at the 92nd Y in New York City, a theater where many professional dance companies and historical figures have performed. The show also featured dances by other teen choreographers, some of whom are training to pursue careers in dance.
“We tried to incorporate things that showed off our technique, like extensions and turns, but also things that made it more of a story. So we developed our relationship to each other over time, because we initially started out when we were smothering each other, but it also kind of turned into helping each other in a hopeful way. So it was that mix of codependence that developed throughout the choreography process,” said Esposito.
This past weekend, a few members of the Andover Dance Group (ADG), along with Judith Wombwell, Instructor and Chair in Theater and Dance, and Erin Strong, Instructor in Theater and Dance, went to New York City. The group took dance lessons and met with Andover alumni, and Judson and Esposito took part in their performance.
“Ms. Strong entered us in this festival [for teen choreographers that] we had to apply to get into… and then we found out we were selected. We asked the Dance Department if we could go, and it was approved. We had a lot of time before to prepare, so it was like all that time was building up the pressure. But I wasn’t that nervous, just because we’ve done the dance so many times and we’ve prepared for the performance a lot… It was just a little sad knowing it was our last time doing that dance,” said Judson.
“The performance was an ‘oh my gosh’ moment. I was so proud. They did so well, and their piece was beautiful. And they were up there with students from all over the United States,” said Wombwell. “So it was really great, even for the dancers who didn’t perform, to see that kind of focus that many dancers train for and achieve. And then the enthusiasm of the audience, in NYC, I mean, it was just really amazing.”
The ADG dancers also had the chance to take lessons in dance centers in New York City and were exposed to new styles and experiences.
“Emerson and I just went to Broadway Dance Center, but the other girls went to PeriDance, also. They’re both studios that have open classes for all levels. They were all really challenging for us, and we did styles that are out of our comfort zones. We took street jazz and hip hop classes, which we don’t get to have on a daily basis here. And Ms. Strong took a class with us, which was also fun because she’s usually our teacher, not our peer,” said Esposito.