When Alexandra Koch-Liu ’22 went to see The Royal Swedish Ballet’s live production of Swan Lake on her first birthday, her mom bought her a DVD of the performance. Before she had even learned how to walk, Koch-Liu watched the DVD every single day, imitating the agile movements of professional dancers.
“A lot of dancers have a phase when they [are] little. Many kids just sign up for ballet class or stuff like that, but then they quit. But for me, I exceeded that phase because I was so passionate about it,” said Koch-Liu.
Although Koch-Liu started ballet classes at the relatively late age of nine and struggled at first to develop flexibility, her technique quickly excelled. According to Koch-Liu, she began to grow complacent as she surpassed her peers, and ultimately learned the importance of constantly striving for excellence.
“Dance taught me professionalism. It has given me my work ethic. Because, especially with ballet, you’re basically trying to reach the unreachable perfection, so it’s always striving to be better because no matter how good you are, you can always go higher, [and] you can always turn more pirouettes,” said Koch-Liu.
Fellow dancer Victoria Zhou ’22 commented on Koch-Liu’s combination of both smooth, gradual motions and tough, direct movements in her dance. According to Zhou, the varied movements Koch-Liu takes on are what make her dancing captivating.
“I would say [Koch-Liu] has a very flowy type of dance style. I like how her moves all connect really well after another, and sometimes she plays with hard hitting moments which makes her style so nice to watch… Her play on speed makes it more dynamic,” said Zhou.
As a member of ADG (Andover Dance Group), Koch-Liu reflected on the different approaches to dance at Andover compared to at home in Berlin. Apart from being exposed to a diverse range of styles and more performance opportunities, she has also learned about choreographing since coming to Andover.
“I think at Andover, the focus is a lot on creating choreography, [focusing] more on the creative aspect of dance instead of the technical. Back home, we focus a lot on technical training, flexibility, and turns. Andover focuses more on the general art form,” said Koch-Liu.
Koch-Liu also expressed the importance of finding a family within her dancing community, whether at home or at Andover. Madison Yuan ’23, another fellow dancer, described how Koch-Liu contributes to the dance groups she is a part of by bringing her passion and energy to every rehearsal.
“She definitely brings a lot of joy to dance, and she collaborates with others very well. And she definitely has a lot of great ideas to share every time,” said Yuan.
Koch-Liu is no stranger to the stage; according to her, she has developed confidence over the years under the pressure of audience scrutiny. While being a dancer requires some level of attention to the audience’s opinion, she believes it should not be a barrier to how she expresses herself in performances.
“…As a dancer, our feedback on how we do and everything comes from the crowd… Obviously, you care about what the audience thinks but it shouldn’t be the end of the world. I feel like a lot of times performing on stage [makes] you become tougher and more confident,” said Koch-Liu.