Although she could feel her shoulders aching, Iris Guo ’23 felt an immense amount of pride after performing her first-ever choreographed piece as she heard the light applause from the small audience gathered at her dance studio. Guo describes that moment as the one she treasures the most from her dance journey, which started when she was two years old.
“I think a big reason why I like to dance is because I really like to show emotions and tell a story through dancing, and I think that’s the biggest thing that pushes me to still continue to dance,” said Guo.
For most of her life, Guo participated in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) program, a standardized examination system for classical ballet. She credits RAD with teaching her patience and attention to detail, traits which she applies to her life outside of dance.
“I’m not the most [detailed-oriented] person ever, but when you’re examining every single detail, you have to make sure everything is perfect… I think [dance] was [also] a good way to channel my energy into telling a story without using words,” said Guo.
As a new Lower and member of Andover Dance Group (ADG), Guo has spent most of her time at Andover attending remote training. However, she has been able to branch out of solely dancing ballet and has started to explore styles such as contemporary and improv.
“[At] Andover, I learned to not be so stiff all the time and to know how to dance outside of something that’s just given to you, which is definitely very fun… because I’ve started to branch out of just ballet, I’ve learned to go outside of that certain set of rules,” said Guo.
Guo’s friend and fellow ADG dancer Dori Rosenstrauch ’23 admires Guo’s expression while dancing, describing her dance style as elegant. Rosenstrauch also noted Guo’s experimentation with different dance styles such as modern and jazz.
“We were in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ together, [which] was kind of more up her alley because it was more ballet-focused, but you could really see her beginning to be comfortable moving in different ways,” said Rosenstrauch.
According to Guo, since coming to Andover, dance’s significance and role in her life has shifted from a simple hobby to a source of relaxation.
“[Dance] has evolved from something that I did for fun to something that I did as a way to improve myself, and now, it’s something that I do to just provide a sort of getaway from the real world,” said Guo.
Guo has also been inspired by the Andover dance community—from her dance teachers to the technique of her peers. She recently recorded a jazz piece with Rosenstrauch which will be featured in the upcoming Dance Open.