When Yuliya Solyanyk ’23 and her dance partner won the Art Land Fest Kyiv in 2019, the audience erupted in applause. Looking into the crowd, Solyanyk saw her friends and teammates cheering her on. Their support in that moment became a memory that she would never forget.
At the age of four, Solyanyk started pursuing dance at her local studio in Ukraine. At first, she felt her skills were lacking compared to her teammates, but she stuck with the sport. Soon, dance became a major part of her life. As her dance career progressed, Solyanyk began traveling across Europe with her teammates, whom she described as family.
“You learn how to be a member of something more than just a club. Our coach was literally like our mother… I remember we went to Bulgaria, Hungary, [and] Slovakia… [Through] those bus trips, those train trips, I learned how to be a team member and interact with different people around the world,” said Solyanyk.
After dancing with her club in Ukraine for over a decade, Solyanyk made the decision to attend Andover this fall as a new Upper. At Andover, she had the opportunity to start collaborating and choreographing with her teammates, which were areas of dance that she had not previously explored.
“I love how we have space to have creative processes together. We can choreograph together, and take risks in dance together, which I didn’t have before because we had a very huge club and so we were just learning choreography that our choreographer gave us, but here, we have space to learn and take risks to communicate [our] feelings through [movement] however [we want],” said Solyanyk.
Since arriving at Andover, Solyanyk has taken advantage of many dance opportunities. In the fall, she took dance as her sport, performed in Grasshopper, and became a member of Blue Strut. Her friend, roommate, and fellow dancer, Viktoria Georgieva ’23, commented on Solyanyk’s ambition and drive to try new things.
“You see her never getting enough, never settling down, never stopping. She always wants more and she always has this ambition of ‘I’m going to be more committed,’ [and] ‘ I’m going to be more engaged.’ It’s just a great environment to be in… She radiates this energy [and] you can’t help but really try to be like her, which is just so great,” said Georgieva.
As Solyanyk looks ahead, she plans on expanding on what she has already accomplished at Andover and continuing to explore her creativity in dance. Georgieva shared her hopes for Solyanyk in the future.
“I am very, very proud of what she has done up until that point, because as a new student, it’s so scary. It’s so hard, especially in 11th grade. Everyone’s already had so much experience. Putting yourself out there [is] super hard, and she has already done so much… she never fails to surprise us. I feel like she is going to continue what she’s been doing. She’s going to grow even more as a dancer, [and] she’s going to work on her technique even more,” said Georgieva.