Maddie Stith ’22 is an actress, a singer, a New Yorker, an ex-soccer player, but more than anything, she is a dancer. From the outsider’s perspective, a dance is just a sequence of choreography meant to please the eyes of an audience, but for Stith it is so much more. “My dance experiences have taught me to put myself in the spotlight more. It has pushed me to be more of my authentic self and to be more open, both with other people, and myself,” said Stith.
Stith has been formally training as dancer for more than a decade, since the age of four, first at a professional dance school in her hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y., and now as a part of the high school’s dance company, Moving Company. Throughout her dancing career, Stith has honed her skills in all disciplines of dance. From ballet and modern to K-Pop and African dance, Stith is a dedicated dancer who is devoted to broadening her repertoire. “Maddie is a dancer who will try anything. She is not afraid to put herself out there and try something new,” said Director of Moving Company, Janet Sozio.
Stith has participated in Moving Company since moving to Wellesley for her sophomore year. Although most performances were canceled due to COVID-19 safety measures, Stith has participated in both guest artist- and student-choreographed works, and during the 2020-21 school year, she joined the Moving Company in a collaboration with the middle school Moving Company to create a music video. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Stith has still managed to grow as a dancer.
“Maddie had the opportunity to work with a professional choreographer and dancer on a group piece. She was unsure at first of the type of dance he was asking of the students, but she dove right in and took a risk. She stretched herself beyond how she perceived herself as a dancer and got to work collaboratively with her fellow dancers,” said Sozio.
While the Moving Company took a hiatus this year, Stith worked to maintain and improve her skills as a multi-faceted performer by joining the high school’s production of Mamma Mia! as a singer, dancer, and actress.
Aside from her technical improvements and tangible successes as a dancer, Stith’s experiences in the Moving Company have helped her grow into a more expressive version of herself while doing something she loves.
“I like dance because it makes me feel confident and allows me to express myself in ways that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. I like to express myself through movement, and dance has provided an opportunity for me to bond with people,” said Stith.
Her enthusiasm for music and performing translates into her interactions with her teammates. Although Stith is known for being a talented dancer, she is also revered as a supportive teammate and a kind friend. “One moment that stood out to me, among many, is when one fellow dancer was working on a piece that was very personal in nature that told a story about her school experiences, some of which were not very pleasant. Maddie not only listened with empathy as the student described her piece, but also reflected back the emotions the student was conveying,” said Sozio. “She danced in the piece as well and offered creative ideas as well as emotional support throughout the process.”
Stith’s involvement on dance teams and her dedication to the craft over the past many years has helped shape her into the outstanding person that she is today. In this way, as she worked to improve her talents as a dancer, dance has in turn given her confidence, enthusiasm, and opportunities to lift others up that will undoubtedly serve her in the future. “Maddie’s strengths as a dancer and company member are her willingness to try anything and take a risk, her ability to connect with others on a personal level, and her love of dance that motivates others to love dance too,” said Sozio.
In addition to her love for dance, Stith is passionate about art in all its forms. She particularly enjoys painting and drawing. In the future, she hopes to continue to develop as a dancer in college. One day, she hopes to try choreography and start her own dance program.
Next fall Stith will be attending Mount Holyoke College where she plans to study Psychology and African Studies.
Article written by WHS Bradford staff member Kaelyn King.