Two Setlists, Two Sides: Andover Hosts Battle of DJs

Music, colorful lights, and dancing filled the lower-level of Paresky Commons on Saturday night for the Battle of the DJs dance. On both sides of the ground floor of Paresky, two DJs from outside organizations competed to have the most students on their side. Students were able to move to and from the lower-level dining halls, enjoying the two different styles of music which ranged from the 1970s to 2022 hits.

Stephanie Cormier, the Student Activities Coordinator, mentioned how the benefit of Battle of the DJs is the actual ‘battle’ itself, giving the freedom for students to roam between and choose where to stay and dance at any given time. 

“In short, I hired two DJs and put them in two different rooms. The magic of the ‘Battle’ happens when students just pick and choose which room to go to…. It seemed most people spent their time in Lower Right,” wrote Cormier in an email to The Phillipian.

Christopher Capano, Head of Student Activities, spoke on the process of coming up with the event, noting their idea of incorporating different music styles that could appeal to different students. Following the decision, Capano described the logistics of setting up the event. 

“We just thought it would be fun. Sometimes when we have dances kids like different types of music, so we thought it would be cool to have two different choices. We called up a couple different DJs to see if they could come and do it. We had to find two DJs that were available that night and we found them, so that was it. After that, folks in [Paresky] cleared all the tables and cleared the space for us when we needed it, ” said Capano. 

Furthermore, Capano highlighted how Battle of the DJs differed from other dances, with a less formal dress code and more relaxed atmosphere with the movement between rooms. In the future, Capano expressed how the Student Activity (STACT) team would like to continue this type of dance, with more DJs to give students more choices. 

“We used to do a dance where we would do music on three different floors of [Paresky] so you had three choices, but it was really hard to get three DJs on the same night, so two was more doable. I think it’s a fun option, so we’ll probably do it again. It’s definitely the only theme [where there are] different DJs, like there’s no dress code. [With] Abbot, usually people are formal, and Halloween was obviously Halloween costumes. This was kind of come as you are, and you can come back and forth a million times or you could switch every single song,” said Capano.

However, some students felt disappointed with the event. Daniel Baek ’26 felt disappointed by the event’s execution but still appreciated the concept. Specifically, Baek also expressed his appreciation for Andover’s effort to create a balance between academic and social life. 

“While the dance itself conceptually could’ve been a fun event, the follow through of the music was quite chaotic and honestly it wasn’t that fun of an experience for me. [I think] It’s good for Andover to have this social balance as well as its academic balance [and to have] this effort to reach a more balanced and healthy lifestyle here at Phillips Academy, especially when people are burnt out coming straight back from Winter break,” said Baek. 

Similarly, Adaora Mbanefo ’24 conveyed how the type of music that the DJs played did not reflect what students wanted to hear and how they did not take suggestions. For future dances, Mbanefo was optimistic on the potential of the DJ-themed dance, but still wished that there would be more student input in regards to music to improve the overall experience. 

“Honestly, the concept was great but the DJs could’ve been better because when there was no good music on either side, you didn’t know what to do. We tried to give [the DJs] suggestions, but they didn’t listen. If we could kind of mold their setlist around [our suggestions], then it would be a lot better,” said Mbanefo. 

Mbanefo continued, “[This dance] is very different, very unique. [I’ve] never had a dance like this because normally, we’re just in one area, so the movement was really cool. I think in [the] future, there’s definitely the chance that this will be a dance to rival the others.”