Ysabella Vargas ’23 is a Senior day student from Methuen, MA. Vargas has been an active member of Andover’s dance community since her Lower year. She is a member of many of Andover’s dance groups, including HYPNO and SLAM, and she is the Co-Head of Fusion. Vargas is also a Blue Key Head and currently choreographing an original Dance Open piece.
I have a past in dance. I danced for ten years and then I quit. I quit dance in the past because it was conflicting with my club soccer. I had to choose which one I wanted to pursue, and I chose soccer. Andover remade the chance for me to do low-commitment dance, and then I started to get more into it.
Andover re-sparked my passion for [dance] over [Covid-19], and I’ve been really into it ever since. I started dancing during the [Covid-19] year, which was my Lower year. During quarantine, I was forced to explore some of my old hobbies, some being dance. I was able to branch out and explore different styles of dance in my free time and I grew really passionate about it.
I’ve always been really into choreographing, though I didn’t choreograph last year because I was very busy. [This year] I decided I wanted to do a piece in the Dance Open. I’m doing a hip-hop dance, but not as hip-hop as Hypno. I actually just practiced thirty minutes ago. It’s just something new I wanted to try, as I love choreographing.
I feel like I grew more as a performer here at Andover. Prior to dance at Andover, I was used to competition style dance, and that caused me to be a very technical performer. Now I can truly feel the music and allow myself to make mistakes on stage, which makes for a more genuine performance.
It has changed me. I’m not sure in what way, but I realized that it’s a tighter community [than I realized], because before I was just in the crowd and not doing much, but I’m a real leader of the community now. I can really see the ups and downs of the community, and the highs and lows of the people here. I feel like it has brought me closer to the school in general.
People in the Dance Department and community are very welcoming and open and encouraging to try new things. Since I don’t only do dance — I do other sports — people are always very adaptable. I played soccer in the Fall, and sometimes I had to sacrifice a game or two for dance or sacrifice a dance practice for a game. Everyone’s really supportive in the dance department, and they understand time commitments and everything. They’re also open to trying new things, which is really nice.
I feel like I’ve hit a lot of different spaces around campus. I’m not just in the art aspect, sports, or academics. I hit every single side of campus, and I found a really unique space, a cross-section between everywhere and everybody. Getting involved with different sides of campus has also made me very open to communicating. [I’m now a] much better communicator in general.
I love going out to eat with my friends, that’s a big one… A classic is always Gati, everyone loves Gati, but also there’s a Korean barbecue place that just opened a little farther downtown, which is really good. It’s called Jason’s Barbecue… But also dancing — that’s a big stress reliever, even though it does fill up a lot of my schedule. Dancing just by myself is a good way to get my head away from academics or sports.
I guess [I’ve] branched out. I used to be very in my shell a lot, and I feel like over [Covid-19], I really had to reach out to do the things I wanted and make the most out of that experience. It’s really changed me as a person because now I’m really sociable and very able to meet new people, which I definitely was not able to do my Junior year.
I always get an Arizona, the cherry-lime one. They’re so good. Then I always get the watermelon Trollis, but they haven’t had them this year. They had them a lot last year, but those are my favorites.