In a school-wide email sent last Thursday, Grasshopper announced its 2021 theme as “extravagance”. As Andover’s first performing arts show of the year, it features rappers, dancers, and magicians with a cohesive theme woven between all acts. Although this year’s Grasshopper was initially based on the Roaring Twenties, co-producer Aleisha Roberts ’22 explains that the theme was altered to leave room for more self-interpretation.
“[Unlike the original theme,] extravagance is really broad, and so for someone that could look like an extravagant statement of values, or something really loud. At the same time, it could also be something quieter and more detailed. We’re really just asking, ‘How do you interpret extravagance, and how do you bring it to this event?’” said Roberts.
The theme was also changed in order to match the diversity of the student body, according to Kate Horton ’22, another student producer. Because the Roaring Twenties primarily focuses on Western and American culture, the producers worried that the theme might feel limited and unrelatable to Andover’s international students. Horton believes that the theme of “extravagance” gives more space for the performers to express their own identities within their performances.
“We wanted to modernize [the theme]… and take away the American, more white-centric “extravagance” present in the 1920s. We wanted to broaden it for everyone—make it applicable to all groups, all identities, and be big, bold, and beautiful,” said Horton.
This year’s Grasshopper also aims to include all of the student body by shining an equal spotlight on lesser-known and individual acts alongside bigger performance art clubs. They plan to accomplish this by capping the number of acts at two per person, which Roberts hopes will extend a sense of inclusion and the opportunity to perform to more students.
“We want to show that anybody, whether you’re in a group or not, can foster their talents at Andover and be celebrated. So we really are looking for a lot of individual acts, a lot of new bands, new clubs, and people who haven’t had this opportunity before, or aren’t as well-established on campus,” said Roberts.
Above all, the producers’ main objective is to bring back the energy and excitement from pre-pandemic iterations of the event. While planning, they realized that more than half of the student body has not attended a Grasshopper in person. To the students lacking a Grasshopper experience, Roberts hopes that this event can act as a testament to the strength of Andover’s community and can emphasize the importance of the performing arts.
“[Last year], we didn’t have much community, connection, or excitement [as a student body], so we want to show people that this is what theatre and dance and showcasing talent at Andover is all about… [We also want] people to see that Andover students get loud, cheer for one another, and are excited about one another,” said Roberts.