Artist of the Issue: Victoria Azzu ’20


Jerry Sheng ’20

Azzu rehearses for the winter dance performance tomorrow.

Victoria Azzu ’20, a four-year Senior, has been an avid dancer since childhood. She has also been an active member of the dance company for all four years. Tomorrow and Saturday, Azzu performed in the annual winter dance performance in Walker Auditorium.

When and why did you start dancing?
I started [dancing] when I was in third grade. One of [the after-school programs at my school] was ballet, so I tried it for the first time for about a year. [After that] I did a little bit of ballet here and there between then and high school.
[At Hotchkiss, I knew] I wanted to take [dance classes]. I have been learning some contemporary, modern, and hip-hop. I also went on the trip to Italy, the three-week dance program, [in the summer] after Prep year with Mrs. Alice Sarkissian-Wolf, [former instructor in dance]. She really encouraged me to go and try [hard]. It was a great group and I learned so much.

Which parts of the upcoming winter dance performance did you look forward to the most?
[The winter dance company] ha[d] a very long, modern, and contemporary piece, [which was] set and choreographed by our teachers, Ms. Lynn Peterson and Ms. Allesandra Rinaldo. [There were] a lot of parts [to the dance], which [were] exciting. I love[d] the piece, so I [was] excited to see how it [would all come] together for the show.
We also ha[d] our hip-hop piece. Specifically, the parts that I dance[d] [were] very different from what I did last year, [since] they [were] a little jazzier.

How has the dance program at the school influenced your dance career?
The teachers that I had here [were] amazing. They are so passionate about what they do, and about teaching teenagers as well. I have gotten so much helpful feedback from [them] over the years. They especially emphasize that expressions of dance come from who you are.

What do you love about dance?
When I was younger, I just loved the lines and the technicality [of dance]. It was beautiful to watch. I was not always a dancer, so I came from a perspective where I [viewed dance] with awe. I appreciate[d] the flexibility of [dance] and how it incorporated art history, physicality, and expression. [All these elements combined] come out in an amazing piece. I wanted to be that flexible and have that kind of skill or talent as well.

Will you continue dancing in the future?
I don’t think there has ever been a part of me that did not want to do dance or wanted to stop because of any [external reasons]. [Dance] is a process and also a constant journey. You get more flexible and better at expressing certain feelings or emotions [through dance], and there is always so much more to improve on.
I am excited for dance in college, especially [for] trying different genres. I did [a little bit of ballroom dance] in fourth grade. I loved it and hope to do some more ballroom dance in college, as well as African [dance], hip-hop, and jazz.

What advice would you give to new dancers at Hotchkiss?
It is really important to know what you are doing and [to] stay focused. In the beginning, it is important to get the choreography down as early as possible, so that you can turn it into your own expression as you practice it and get closer to the performance. It also makes it easier for dancers to be specific and clear about a movement [and to better present] what [they] want to show [in the piece].