Dance, Clarinet, Multimedia: The Artistic Medley of Ashley Park ’24

Park performing at the fall dance show, “Exalted.”

Titled “Peace and War,” Park juxtaposed elements of peace with current events to express solidarity.

Ashley Park ’24 has many artistic talents. Through creating a charcoal sketch of her dance pose, or simultaneously drumming and dancing in Korean traditional drum dancing, Park finds meaning in the combination of her multifaceted interests. Park noted that her interests are interconnected through a common theme of emotion, allowing her to express herself through multiple mediums at once.

“I [am] someone [who] feels more and cares about others’ personalities and thoughts more than their appearance, so these three styles have helped me to achieve that. As a dancer, I was able to express my love for dance through a charcoal sketch of a dance pose from a previous dance performance, and as an artist, I was able to create this year’s new Dance Open poster, making sure it portrays diversity and togetherness as dancers,” said Park.

As a dancer, Park is part of Asian Performing Arts Club (APAC) and JVNE on campus, and has performed in shows such as Grasshopper, the Club Show, and Dance Open. She is co-directing and choreographing this year’s Dance Open, as well as designing posters advertising the show. Park describes her overarching dance style as K-pop and contemporary, but also enjoys experimenting with other styles such as Chinese traditional dancing and hip-hop.

“I think dance is definitely the most dramatic type of art I do on campus, as it uses physical energy when performing, but I found it a more emotional way to portray art, with the song, my facial expressions, and even my costume…. Rather than graceful, elongated choreography, I do stronger, accented, choreography to show more power and charisma in my dances,” said Park.

In terms of music, Park has been playing the clarinet since middle school and recently performed in the Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory of Music for the Massachusetts Music Educators Association’s music festival. At Andover, she is part of the Symphony Orchestra and the Thursday Band. In addition to classical and marching band music, Park hopes to expand her clarinet repertoire to include pop music and movie soundtracks as well. She emphasized the value of the community she’s found through pursuing music.

“Rehearsals may be long and a lot of work, but the social aspect of band and orchestra is what I love the most. I think I’ve been able to bond a lot more with my symphony orchestra clarinet section. We all are talented and skillful clarinetists that find the joy and excitement in music which I find very crucial. Music has helped me express my feelings through sound and teamwork with other musicians,” said Park.

For more visual forms of art, Park characterizes her style as hands-on, or “anything I can do to make my hands dirty” — sculpting, collaging, and even video editing. Over Winter Break, she spent roughly 20 cumulative hours creating a 3D sculpture that portrayed a theme of “daydreaming.” Using acrylic paint, casting paper, and nuts and bolts, Park assembled the various components of this project onto a large wooden canvas. She strives to go out of her comfort zone by experimenting with different art styles.

“Because I’m a dancer, I found more active types of art more compelling, so rather than sitting down and coloring and painting, I tend to stand and paint wider canvases and drawings. As for media and editing, I always had an interest in technology, so being able to intertwine art and technology through video and film was a big win for me,” said Park.

Throughout dance, music, and multimedia, Park’s diverse artistic pursuits are connected by themes of style experimentation and self-expression. She synthesized these genre-blurring intersections as helping her explore creativity in ways that one form of art cannot.

“A few people may not find these three types of art to correlate in any way, but surprisingly, [they do], and I’m glad that I was able to dive more into all three, as it prepared me in every way,” said Park.