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    • Sommer performs as the Sugar Plum Ferry in her dance studio’s production of The Nutcracker.

    • Sommer practices her arabesque.

Artist of the Issue: Zoe Sommer

Shriya Sakalkale ’24 and Liliana Dumas ’26
Trained in the styles of ballet, pointe, and modern, Zoe Sommer ’23 has been dancing since the age of two, and it has been an integral part of her life ever since.
Sommer was first captivated by the art form for its duality. She explained, “My mom put me in dance since she danced when she was a kid, and I kind of just stuck with it as I loved the combination of artistry and athleticism dance allow[ed] me to explore.” Years later, dance continues to serve as both a creative and athletic outlet for Sommer: “I love to dance as it not only allows me to push myself physically and improve my athleticism and flexibility, but it also provides me with an incredible creative outlet through which I can explore self-expression, the relationship between music and movement, and collaboration with other amazing artists.” Dance’s close relationship with other art forms is also why Sommer “love[s] jumps, specifically grand allegro (big jumps for the non-ballet people reading this).” She explains, “when performing [jumps], you can lose yourself in the music and movement.”

Fifteen years after her first introduction to dance, Sommer continues to find joy in the details and hard work essential to ballet. She has learned a plethora of dance forms over the years, and she shared her favorite moves to perform onstage: “I love turns. Pirouettes are quite possibly my favorite ballet step, and I love seeing how many I can do consecutively (my personal record on pointe is six).” Training on average twenty hours a week, Sommer values the intrinsic details and hard work that is put in behind the scenes: “My favorite things about ballet are the infinite layers of detail present in each movement, and the interconnectedness of the steps. When taking a ballet class, you start at the barre, simply bending and stretching your knees or extending your leg out in front of you before closing it. These moves, pliés, and tendus, are the basis of every step you will execute as the class progresses.” Though it is difficult at times, Sommer is not afraid to strive for perfection. She shared, “some find this constant pursuit of an unattainable perfection futile, but I love that whenever I walk into a class I can challenge myself in an infinite number of small ways and continuously improve steps that I have spent years executing.”

Sommer’s lifelong dedication and passion for dance culminated in her dance studio’s performance of The Nutcracker last year, in which she danced the lead role of the sugar-plum fairy. Her favorite dance-related moment came from the end of the show, following a particularly challenging solo: “After successfully completing the solo, I exited the stage and was immediately swarmed by all of my friends. That incredible moment of achievement, surrounded by a supportive, loving community, represents the culmination of my hard work, so it was, I know it’s a little cliché, [but it was] truly a dream come true.”

With years of experience under her belt, Sommer has plenty of advice to give aspiring dancers. Her advice to those who want to start dancing is “to quote Nike, ‘Just do it!” Sommer recognizes that “[t]here are many harmful stereotypes about dance, especially ballet, [and] that it’s easy for newcomers to feel intimidated,” but, despite this fact, Sommer emphasizes that anyone can start dancing: “People also often feel that they are ‘too old’ to start dancing considering how many people dance seriously from a young age. However, dance has no age limit, and you don’t have to be the next Misty Copeland to take a ballet class.” Sommer adds, “Dance is such a fun, engaging, and challenging activity and there are so many different styles for aspiring dancers to explore. Just take a class in whatever style interests you and see what happens from there!”
Editor in Chief 
Asher Joseph

Managing Editor 
Margaret Russell

Claire Billings
Jo Reymond
Rose Porosoff
Eric Roberts
Abby Rakotomavo
Elona Spiewak
Veena Scholand
Miriam Levin
Liliana Dumas
Saisha Ghai
Olivia Yu
Anya Mahajan
Rain Zeng
Winter Szarabajka
Aerin O'Brien

Karun Srihari
Samantha Bernstein
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Rebecca Li

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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
The Razor,
 an open forum publication, is published monthly during the school year by students of: 
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