Curtain Call: Lisa Yacomelli Celebrates 22 Years of Dance
After the final show of the winter musical, The Wiz, Janus Players and theater director Bill Esher surprised Lisa Yacomelli, English and Performing Arts faculty member and director of the Hun Dance Company with a tribute to her twenty two years as a member of the Performing Arts department. As the curtain closes on Ms. Yacomelli’s time here at The Hun School, she looks back with gratitude for the opportunities the School has given her.
In 2000, Ms. Yacomelli, a former attorney, joined the Hun community as an independent contractor, hired to do choreography for the School’s theater productions. And after just a few seasons, she knew she wanted to call The Hun School her permanent home. In 2006, Ms. Yacomelli began substitute teaching English at Hun while simultaneously taking night classes at The College of New Jersey to receive her Master’s degree in Literature. It soon paid off and for the last two decades, Ms. Yacomelli has taught English full time, while directing Hun Dance Company after school.
“It’s been a very busy twenty-two years!,” Ms. Yacomelli jokes. “It has gone by so incredibly fast and I think it’s really because of the kids. Teaching takes up all of your time and effort and sometimes it’s draining, but there is this moment, whether it be English or dance, where the students get this look on their face when it clicks for them. And when I see that look, I know that not only has it clicked in their brains, but I realize that they are going to have that information forever. And for that moment alone, it’s all worth it.”
Kaylie S. ’24, who began working with Ms. Yacomelli her freshman year, notes that the lessons she has learned from Ms. Yacomelli have helped her in all facets of her life.
“Ms. Yacomelli has helped me not only become a better dancer but to become a better person,” she says. “Her positive energy and outgoing personality has gifted me with countless memories and life lessons I will never forget. As a dance teacher, she has always pushed me to be my best and I am grateful for all of the opportunities she has presented to me. I am so extremely thankful to have met her.”
Ms. Yacomelli notes that during her tenure at The Hun School, she has looked at her time at the School as service. And as she embarks on her next journey, she is ready to commit herself to doing more for her community. Following her retirement this year, Ms. Yacomelli will be moving to Delaware. She is planning to partner with the Delaware Center for Inland Bays to work on inland shore conservation projects while also teaching English and dance at Zoe, an organization with the mission of rehabilitating teens who have been abducted into human trafficking.
“Dance is one of those things that just lifts people up, always has and always will. Similarly, the ability to read and write is critical to the ability to succeed. I think these children need both of those things from me and that is what I am being called to do in my next chapter.”