By Alexandra Molnar, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Adrianna Loulourgas has been dancing since she was 4 years old. She was originally brought to her aunt’s dance studio, Laurene Aldorisio’s Academy of Dance Expressions, at age 2, but was not ready to be left alone. Now a freshman at Shrewsbury High School, Loulourgas successfully balances three to four days of dance practice with an all-honors academic schedule.
Loulourgas, a resident of Shrewsbury, is a member of Aldorisio’s Dance Expressions Company in Westborough where she dances ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip hop, pointe and acro (acrobatics integrated into dance) with fellow dancers who audition to be in the company. Last year, Loulourgas competed in three regional competitions and danced in the studio’s concluding recital.
Ballet is Loulourgas’ favorite dance discipline because it is the most technical. She spends most of her time practicing ballet but also works hard at strengthening and training for the disciplines that come less easily to her, like pointe. Most recently, Loulourgas trained for four days each week for two-and-a-half to three hours per session.
Loulourgas’ mature perspective and articulate conversation make her seem beyond her years. Dancing has contributed to her overall character, especially to her self-discipline, motivation and determination.
“You learn a lot of skills that help you in life,” Loulourgas said, “and [you learn that] you’re not just going to walk through life, and you have to work toward your goals.”
Loulourgas seems to embody the Academy of Dance Expressions’ mission of emphasizing improving technique instead of being overly competitive. Though Loulourgas said that healthy competition exists among her company, she is very focused on her individual improvement and achievement, in solo and group performance.
The young dancer recalls winning a bronze medal in her first competition and now consistently receives either platinum, the highest honor, or gold in solo and group competitions. Sometimes she competes in small groups while other times she participates in larger numbers with as many as 20 dancers. Loulourgas pins all of her badges on her dance jacket to “show how far I’ve come,” she said.
One of her favorite memories is dancing in “The Nutcracker,” which she did for the first time last year. It required extra practice in addition to her regular training, but she really enjoyed it because she was able to travel and perform with a group.
Despite her busy practice schedule, Loulourgas always makes time to complete her homework and focus on school. Her favorite subjects are math and science and her dream job is to become a genetic engineer. She also thinks that a good career option would be to own a dance studio; that way she could learn about business and still pursue her passion for dance. She has also dreamed about dancing as a career.
“If it’s my passion, I should do what I want to,” Loulourgas said.
Though she is focused academically, Loulourgas takes the time to constantly improve her dance skills. She watches videos of famous dance groups and even videos of her own team to remind herself of her achievements.
“There’s always that drive,” she said. “I would never think to quit dance even if it got really tough because I know that there are always those times that I’m working toward, and in the end it always pays off.”
As with most hobbies, Loulourgas has experienced difficulties alongside the fun times. She described herself as a “very emotional person” and said that it can be a struggle to persist, especially when “you don’t get something,” she said.
Tap has always been a more challenging discipline for her as she only started two years ago in a class with more experienced dancers who had been studying it for six years. Her first year was discouraging, so much so that she didn’t want to continue. In the end Loulourgas realized how much she had improved over her first year and decided to keep taking lessons.
Her success is a product of her forward-thinking attitude and persistence. One time during a solo performance, Loulourgas drew a blank on part of her routine. Without appearing flustered, she improvised eight counts of moves that integrated seamlessly into her routine. She left the stage upset at the end of her performance, but her positive attitude allowed her to rebound from the situation.
“You get over it, you get on stage again, and you do better the next time,” she said.