Finding Your Groove Through the Arts

February 14, 2017
Senior Grant Anapolle found his voice, his confidence and his best friend through improv at Gann. Sophomore Sydney Wallack discovered a way to mix activism with dance. Other students have learned to paint, throw pots, sing, perform jazz, make films, act, and design sound with computers.  In all, 28 arts courses are offered at Gann, taught by professional artists who are experts in their disciplines.
“Making art is about sharing our struggles and successes,” says Katie Pustizzi, a member of the dance faculty at Gann. Gann Dance Company’s recent work, “Rise Up,” displayed students’ ability to make art from real-world experiences. The dance was about coping with cancer, and dancers drew inspiration from connecting their performance to someone they knew. “My friend’s grandmother has breast cancer so it made my performance much more personal and powerful for me,” says Wallack. The ensemble performed the piece at the Move for the Movement dance festival, which raises money for the American Cancer Society.

The Gann Dance Company also performed “Rise Up” at the Gann arts festival in January, a twice-yearly show. “It’s the culminating event of the semester— an opportunity for students to display their visual art and share their music, dance and other performances with the school community,” says Lisa Jacobs, chair of the arts department and director of Gann’s two vocal ensembles. “We’re a tight-knit community and there are many opportunities throughout the year for students to exhibit and perform their art at Gann, so everyone has access to everyone else’s work.”

Anapolle, who emceed the arts festival with his best friend and fellow improv artist David Clardy, said that when he arrived at Gann as a freshman, he was afraid of not fitting in. On a lark, he tried out for the Improv Team and quickly found his niche, becoming much more comfortable in his own skin. He has hosted the arts festival three times and loves how student-driven the Gann arts program is.
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