Gigi Schadrack began dancing ballet at the age of three. The Hun School senior, who spent much of her childhood in Lucerne, Switzerland, has trained with prestigious ballet schools both abroad and here in the States. While she was on the professional track for many years, Schadrack didn’t want to make a choice between pursuing ballet and academics. “In Switzerland, you have to choose at the age of ten, but I wanted to do both.” It’s one of the reasons she chose The Hun School—both for its breadth of academic offerings and its proximity to Princeton Ballet School, where Schadrack dances six days a week in addition to performing with American Repertory Ballet.
It’s a demanding schedule, certainly, but one Schadrack finds exhilarating. “Ballet gives you a tool set with a strong foundation but you can eventually make it into anything you want,” she says. “It allows me to be creative and unique.”
In addition to her dozen-plus performances with American Repertory Ballet throughout New Jersey, she recently performed a solo performance from Don Quixote at The Hun School’s “How We Dance” on November 8. For Schadrack, it was not only an opportunity to practice a routine that she’ll debut in the spring for American Repertory Ballet, but it was also an opportunity to relate to her academics. “We just finished reading Don Quixote in AP English Literature. I love those connections.” Speaking of connections, when Gigi was in need of private dance tutoring, Hun Dance Program Director Lisa Yacomelli turned to the Hun community, reaching out to parent Kyra Nichols, a former prima ballerina with New York City Ballet. “I took my heart in my hands and called her and she took Gigi for private lessons,” says Yacomelli, who was delighted to make the Hun connection.
Schadrack, who plans to take a gap year to pursue dance before pirouetting into academics, sees the power of dance transfer to other parts of her life. “I’ve become fascinated by physics and rotational inertia because of ballet,” she adds. Raised in Lucerne by German and Vietnamese parents, Schadrack is also fascinated by history and the intersection of cultures. “Ballet will always be a part of my life, though, no matter what I do.”
The Hun School of Princeton is an independent, coeducational, private day and boarding college preparatory school. Student-centered, hands-on learning prepares students for the global community in which they will live and work.