Molly Willis ‘22
Mercersburg’s dance program has graced the stage of the Simon Theatre for years, and this year it is under new leadership. Destiny Rodney and Joie Xiao, both class of ‘22, are the student captains of the PGA. Rodney excels in modern and contemporary, as seen by her choreography (especially her solo this past spring) in concerts past. Xiao, a master of hip-hop, has an extensive history with various dance teams and choreographers both in China and the United States.
Thus far, they have established their leadership within the program by leading warmups, welcoming new members, and above all helping to maintain a healthy atmosphere among the participants. They will be required to prep music and programs for concerts and make sure that the dressing rooms are clean and the dancers are prepared.
Rodney and Xiao are no strangers to working with one another. Both are four-year seniors, who have danced together each year. “Joie and I were pretty close friends even before we became dance captains, so it was easy to welcome to work with her as co-leaders. Working together has helped us not only grow our friendship but our trust in one another as well,” Rodney says.
Part of this leadership position is making sure that newcomers feel comfortable and welcomed into the program. Rodney and Xiao have made this a top priority. Rodney is excited especially to help the dancers grow their passion for dance and to build bonds with the new dancers. Xiao says, “I am so excited to be a captain this year and work with the new dancers. They all have great potential and I look forward to seeing their growth.”
The election process for this position was extensive. Anyone wishing to run was required to send in an application detailing their plans for helping the program and defining how they could make a difference within the community. The dancers then voted on their top picks for captains.
Finally, Denise Dalton, Director of Dance, took the application and poll results into consideration and selected the leaders. In addition to Rodney and Xiao, there are three co-captains, one president of the Dance Board, and three general members of the Board (each are of a different grade).
The emphasis on having student leaders for the 2021-22 school year is important to Dalton. Destiny Rodney and Joie Xiao have already impacted the dance community in their time at Mercersburg. The members of the dance program will follow their lead.