You need to enable JavaScript to run this app.
Artist of the Issue: Antonia Forero
Isabella Casillas '24 Associate Editor
February 2, 2022
Credit: Grace Stone

“When you do something for so long, it molds into who you are” – Antonia Forero

Wise. Compassionate. Trustworthy. Dependable. These are all words which have been used to describe Antonia Forero ’22, an accomplished and hardworking leader of the Deerfield Dance Program. 

Forero started dancing at the age of three when her parents enrolled her in ballet classes; however, dance did not become a passion of hers until she was eight years old, having just switched studios. “That’s when I started working to get better at dancing instead of just dancing for my parents,” she said.

Eager to take advantage of any opportunity allowing her to pursue dance at Deerfield, Forero has been a member of the Advanced Tutorial Ensemble, the dance co-curricular program, Saturday ballet classes, and private coaching sessions with Deerfield dance faculty. Throughout her childhood, Forero found ballet to be her primary style as it is the dance form in which she is most proficiently trained; however, at Deerfield, she has experimented with other dance mediums and has come to love contemporary. 

When asked about her passion for ballet, Forero shared, “I like how [ballet is] precise and there is a right or wrong. Even though you can make it yours and give it your own flair, there is a technique that is still there which can be learned and if you practice, you can get it right.” Forero added, “Ballet also has a certain repetition– every class you know you are going to have specific exercises, and knowing that is good for me.”

Forero has also explored choreography at Deerfield, creating dances that reflect her dual strength in contemporary and ballet styles. Last spring, Forero choreographed “Confessions,” inspired by group contemporary dances from the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). Most recently, in celebration of the theme of “belonging” on Deerfield’s MLK Day celebration, Forero choreographed “Bigger,” alongside Elena Zhao ’22, Morgan Weitzell ’23, and Natasha Steinert ’23. 

When describing the choreography process, Forero explained how the choreographers split the Advanced Tutorial Ensemble into smaller groups to begin establishing the different sections of the piece. Forero helped draw on key imagery from the smaller dance sections to build the chorus part of the dance and make the performance look coherent. In order to clearly show that the dance was rooted in belonging, the choreographers also worked to incorporate a stunt in which it was clear that all of the dancers were on stage and working together to make the movement happen.

When discussing her experience working with Forero for the MLK dance piece, Weitzell said, “[Forero] really stepped up and was really good at leading the work as well as being very organized. She’s very responsible, creative, and easy to work with. She’s always there for everyone and is a very helpful, loving, and sweet person”

Director of Dance Jennifer Whitcomb said,  “In every way possible, [Forero] has contributed to the dance program at Deerfield both as a dancer and choreographer. She is doing amazing work as a choreographer, contributing strong leadership, and she is a very accomplished ballerina.”

Another important performance for Forero was her role as the Sugarplum Fairy in a Nutcracker back in Colombia, her home country. She vividly remembers performing in her old studio’s Christmas show at a public park in front of an audience of more than 3,000 people, and the feeling of professionalism as she danced onstage.

Forero reflected on the immense impact dance has had on her ability to form connections with those around her, saying, “When I was younger, I was really quiet, so I think part of the reason I started liking dance was when I was able to perform more. It became a way for me to be on stage and interact with people, starting relationships and conversations without having to make that much of an effort.” 

Forero emphasized that dancing has also allowed her to learn the skills of hard work, goal- setting, and dedication. A turning point in Forero’s dance journey was when she did not pass an audition to move up to the next dance level at her studio in Columbia. Determined to succeed, Forero put the responsibility on herself to train with her teacher during winter break and take more classes, and she ultimately passed after re-auditioning at the end of the break. “That was one of those experiences that shaped me, where everyone told me to let it go, and instead, I didn’t and kept going,” she said.

Forero shared, “I feel like dance is a marker for me. It has become part of my identity and has become fused into who I am because I’m involved in it so much.” 

At Deerfield, Forero has not only been able to pursue her passion for dance, but has also allowed herself to put school first, serving as a leader of the International Student Alliance, a Head Peer Tutor, a member of the Disciplinary Committee, and a Proctor on Mather 2.

Miu Yatsuka ’24, one of Forero’s proctees on Mather 2, shared, “[Forero] is always willing to put other people as a priority. For [Forero], even if she is going through college applications, she takes time and puts others first.”

Ms. Whitcomb added, “[Forero] distinguishes herself with her kindness, human decency, and her compassion for other people. She always puts the needs of the greater good before her own and is constantly concerned for the welfare of others. She has figured out that giving things to other people does not diminish her, but rather strengthens her.” She concluded, “She is more of a co-director than just a student.”

Going forward, Forero is hoping to choreograph a light-hearted contemporary quartet for the Spring Showcase, as well as a solo rooted in an edgy combination of contemporary and ballet for the Senior Showcase. She is determined to pursue ballet training and choreography in college by joining a university company, while prioritizing her academic studies. 

“I feel like Deerfield has helped me see that I can do everything: that I can put school first which is what I’ve always wanted to do while pursuing dance,” Forero said. “Deerfield has done a good job of incorporating [dance] into my life in a way where now I’m sure that I want to continue dancing in college.”

Forero’s kindness has touched the hearts of many Deerfield community members and her immense impact on the Deerfield dance program will forever be cherished.