RANDOLPH, NJ- “After my first day of classes, I realized I definitely still wanted to pursue dance.” said Michele Adriano, Randolph High School’s much-admired dance instructor.
In Ms. Adriano’s classroom, every student is able to “tap” into his her inner dancer. A dancer since age three, the craft truly has impacted every part of her life. Adriano originally attended the Philadelphia Conservatory University of the Arts; however, she switched to Rutgers to pursue a simpler major. Despite that, her passion for dance never faded.
“Luckily at Rutgers they had a really good program at Mason Gross School of the Arts,” Adriano said, elaborating on her decision to return to her craft.
Ms. Adriano initially traveled to Manhattan after college in search of bigger opportunities; however, she instead began teaching dance classes at a middle school in Somerset, New Jersey.
Adriano had been introduced to teaching by a friend who worked at a high school.
“After about a year into living in Manhattan, I realized there was still a big part of me that wanted to have a steady career, wanted to get married, wanted to have a salary, that kind of stuff," Adriano said. "There was a big part of me that was still pretty traditional.”
After instructing seventh and eighth graders for three years, Ms. Adriano got a job at Randolph High School in 2008, where she continues to inspire kids through her talent to this day. She was initially drawn to Randolph when she discovered they didn’t have a dance program.
“It gave me the opportunity to just build a program from my own vision,” explained Adriano. The opportunity to start the program on her own excited her. Since its start, the RHS dance department has reached a grand total of approximately 120 students participating.
Due to Ms. Adriano’s pregnancy, this years' annual dance showcase will be held in late April rather than early June, when it is usually held. However, it will still include the usual sequence of dances for each individual class as well as an encore performances of pieces choreographed by students and staged during last fall’s Spirit Week.
The impact RHS’s signature dance teacher has on her students is one more reason to be drawn to her program.
“What I love about her is that she’s so open-minded, and she’s able to accept diversity-she accepts different types of dancers; different types of bodies that move in different sort of ways, ” stated Maitri Shah, a sophomore member, when asked what she admired most about her teacher. "In Ms. Adriano's dance class you can feel free,” added Arina Arshinova, another sophomore in the program.
Although dance is one of the more recent programs at RHS, it is also one of the most popular. Today, the initial seed that Ms. Adriano planted at RHS has grown into an amazing environment that allows dancers of all levels and backgrounds to express themselves. The success of the program is no surprise, seeing that it’s run by such an experienced dancer and great teacher overall.
In order to see Ms. Adriano’s ideas and thoughts come to life on the stage, attend the dance showcase on April 27 and 28 in the Randolph High School auditorium.. at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and being sold at the door.
Editor's Note: Keyonna Murray is a student at Randolph High School participating in a journalism program with TAP into Randolph.