Undercover artist: Life as a student dancer

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Cristian Orellana

Andi Robinson practicing a solo dance routine in Loyola's dance studio.

Erin Haynes, Assistant Editor of Life & Times

As Barbie’s tulle skirt fluttered around her whilst twirling, 3-year-old Andi Robinson whirled around her living room like the ballerina in “Barbie the Nutcracker.”

“I would watch that movie and run around the house pretending to be a ballerina, and my mom decided to put me in dance classes,” Robinson said.

Throughout the years, dance became Robinson’s favorite form of self-expression and was pursuing a career as a professional, but she put away her dancing shoes before high school.

“In middle school, I was very serious about my studies, but then I heard from others that it was an unstable financial career with a short lifespan,” Robinson said.

With the lack of support for her dreams, Robinson turned her attention to psychology, but her mother, who works within mass communication, encouraged her daughter to pursue that career.

By focusing on the pressures of perfection and competitiveness of dancing, the negative influences caused Robinson to transform her career into a hobby but now recognizes that she would be her happiest if she continued her passion.

“Now, dance is my escape from my stressful life as a college student, but if I could go back, I would pursue it because it makes me happiest,” Robinson said.

Making the best of both worlds, Robinson could not contain her love for dance any longer and began thinking of ways to reintroduce dancing back into her life.

While still a student at Chalmette High School, Robinson choreographed a duet with an inexperienced dancer, and her role as the director helped her learn how to work with other people.

“It was a learning experience for both of us because I had to learn how her body worked,” Robinson said. “I already envisioned the dance in my head, but I had to adapt it so we could do it together.”

Other than recognizing her interests in being a dance instructor, Robinson discovered that it was fun working with people and knows she will be content with a career in public relations. In fact, Robinson began thinking of forming a dance company at Loyola during the end of her fall semester of her freshmen year and earning certification as a barre instructor.

“[Barre] is a new fitness routine that specializes in the techniques that is similar to stretches that you learn in dance, and I would totally love to do that,” Robinson said.

Though Robinson is working to accomplish these goals within her busy schedule, she still connects with her craft by dancing in her living room, performing in Chalmette High School’s contemporary dance recital in December, and is producing a video of a solo piece to post onto Instagram.

“Posting on Instagram shows people that I am more than just a mass communication student, and if a big-named artist sees it and wants me to join [their team], then that would be really awesome,” Robinson said.

While life can lead us down unexpected paths, learning to accept where we are, finding methods to do what we love, and expressing ourselves in the most passionate way grants us happiness no matter who we become.