Wearing a black-gold adorned costume and a dark, ornate red tutu, Victoria “Vickie” Zhou ’22 holds a tambourine and begins dancing to the sharp, staccato music of La Esmeralda, a traditional 1844 ballet. Controlling her movements to match the music, Zhou displays the technique she has learned since she was two years old.
Zhou’s friend and fellow Andover Dance Group (ADG) member Katherine Wang ’21 describes Zhou’s movements as fluid and controlled, observing signs of Russian technique in her dancing.
“I think she finds a nice balance, though, between a very strong technique foundation, and I can really see that she is starting to build up artistry, especially when she starts breaking into more contemporary styles,” said Wang.
Alexandra Koch-Liu ’22, Zhou’s friend and ADG member, often practices and performs with Zhou on campus. She admires the diversity in Zhou’s dancing styles—the technicality of her ballet training contrasting with fluidity of dancing hip hop with Hypnotiq.
“[Zhou] pushes all of us and also acts as a role model, or someone we can look up to and strive to be like,” said Koch-Liu. “She’s a very versatile dancer, and no matter what style she does, she brings her own personality to it, especially when she does hip hop.”
By maintaining balance between ballet and hip hop, two relatively opposing styles of dance, Zhou utilizes both to improve her dancing. Additionally, since coming to Andover, Zhou shared that she has been able to explore other styles of dance.
“I’ve been able to move—not away from dance—but focus on other styles more. So like contemporary, and within contemporary, or modern dance. I’ve been trying to find my style a bit more, since I’ve never had the time to improvise or dance by myself at home, so that’s really nice,” said Zhou.
Koch-Liu also emphasized the relationship between dance and school in Zhou’s life and how Zhou balances dance, friends, and school in a healthy way. She believes that Zhou translates the skills she learns from dance, such as work ethic and dedication, to her academic life.
“[Ballet] teaches you discipline. Having to hold a position for a long time, it might hurt your arms or your legs, but it’s [the] idea of pushing through, so it can help you in other aspects of life… [Ballet] has helped me in that way, having these rules to help you improve… It also helps me with time management,” said Zhou.