At Andover, Alexa Goulas ’18 was a co-head of Blue Strut and Hypnotiq, and she was heavily involved with the Theater and Dance Department. Now studying at McGill University and participating in its hip-hop group, United Groove, Goulas reflected on how Andover impacted her both as a dancer and leader.
“Andover’s intense curriculum, requirements for sports, and extracurriculars helped me prepare [for] my transition to university… Now, I’m on the hip-hop team there… Being a part of Blue Strut [was my big thing at Andover]. Transitioning to a [more] hip-hop centric dance style, I found it fun and also challenging,” said Goulas.
Goulas believed that her leadership positions within the Theater and Dance Department at Andover prepared her for university.
“Being a leader to your peers—people that are the same level as you—there’s really nothing differentiating you from one another. [It was] a really good learning experience about how to work with teams and how to delegate people. Who wants to listen to someone their own age? I really learned a lot about being patient with people and also when I have to put my foot down,” said Goulas.
As co-head of Blue Strut, Goulas worked to create a strong bond with her peers and implemented stylistic changes that emphasized sensuality. Facing the cultural taboo against exploring female sexuality, Goulas encouraged members to embrace a “fem-iconicness” as a form of female empowerment.
“A big [part] of my Blue Strut team was female empowerment, owning your sexuality, and being okay to perform and portray that. I’d like to think that I had a positive impact on the younger girls on the team… [I’ve encouraged members] to never shy away from an opportunity and to own being up on the stage, whether that’s being powerful, sexual, or anything [else]. I think that we live in a culture where it’s scary or frowned upon to own your sexuality as a female and that was not the case in Strut,” Goulas said.
Fellow Blue Strut member Uanne Chang ’20 acknowledged the impact Goulas’ leadership had on the group, including highlighting female empowerment and implementing a new dance style.
“Alexa placed a lot of emphasis on [Blue] Strut being like a group of sisters, and I think that really helped with the group dynamic… She really taught Blue Strut to embrace the sensualities of commercial jazz dance, and that stylistic change can be really credited to her era of [Blue] Strut,” said Chang.
Goulas credits her experiences as co-head of Blue Strut, leading her peers, and working closely with the faculty with expanding her perspective on the role of leadership within dance.
“As a student, you don’t always think of things in the bigger picture… I remember [the biggest challenge as Dance Board Co-Head] my year [was] making the dance team and the overall dance department seem more inviting for people at an introductory level… [Working alongside students and faculty within the department] gave me a broader range of thinking and a different way to approach how I work with groups.”