Hopkinton POS

HCA Spotlight Series Student

 HCA Spotlight
 Learn more about the people who call the HCA 'home'.


Abby McFarland, student

Where do you live? I live right here in Hopkinton.

What attracted you to get involved at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts?  Before the HCA, I had done a little theater here and there and was very envious of my friends who were constantly doing plays, musicals, and classes at the HCA. The sense of excitement they always gave when they described their experiences is what really  made me want to join in. I started going to the HCA frequently when I was in the sixth grade.

How have you seen yourself grow as an artist since participating in HCA classes and performances? I have definitely seen myself seen myself grow as an artist at the HCA. Everyone there is so helpful and really tries to get to know you. They get to know how you learn and can really explain things to you in a way you can understand. Between dance, acting, and violin lessons at the HCA, I've become a much more well rounded artist than before.

What value do you think the HCA brings to the region? The HCA brings so many more artistic opportunities to all kinds of students in the MetroWest area. In every class I enroll in, there's new people to meet and befriend.

What is your fondest memory at the HCA? My fondest memory at the HCA is all the people I've met there. Before the HCA, I wouldn't have exactly called myself a social butterfly. But after my last play, I remember just crying with all the cast because that was quite possibly the last time we would see each other. The community at the HCA is something so special. It's near and dear to my heart.

Have you participated in any of the new online classes? I participated in a few online classes over the pandemic. The instructors were very resourceful and smart in adapting their programs to be remote friendly, and I think I gained as much from them as I would've in person.

What suprises you most about the Hopkinton Center for the Arts? The thing that suprises me the most about HCA is that there's always a new class for me to try. A new type of dance, new writing or camera opportunity, you name it. There's a diverse and constantly changing program of opportunities for every student.


Andrew Desmarais, student, recently seen in HCA's The Nutcracker Ballet

Tell us about yourself? My name is Andrew Desmarais and I'm a Junior at Marlborough High School. I'm an Eagle Scout in Troop 2 Marlborough, and really enjoy Scouting. For ten years, I practiced the Korean martial art of Taekwondo, starting when I was only four years old. I achieved my Second Degree Black Belt and the martial art has taught me some important life lessons like perserverance and integrity. I haven't ever really danced before, but I was in last year's Nutcracker production as Dr. Stahlbaum and Taekwondo taught me how to control my body.

How did you first get involved with the HCA's dance program? What was the experience like for you? My school friend Sarah, who dances at the HCA, asked if I would join the 2019 Nutcracker show. I agreed, and we went to rehearsals where I met everyone who was part of the production. It was an amazing experience and I won't forget it. Then at the cast party, some of the other dancers invited me to try ballet. Theresa Kniaz, one of the instructors, said that she was teaching a beginners class. I decided to give it a shot and here I am now! I really like it and I feel proud to be dancing. Everyone at the HCA has been so nice and welcoming to me and that's made the experience even better.


How have you grown as a dancer this past year? I started dancing this January and I've learned quite a lot already. I've learned many ballet techniques and exercises since I started, and I feel proud of that. My balance, strength, and coordination have improved as well, since they're an important part of of ballet.

What have the past months been like during the pandemic? When everything started the HCA's in-person classes stopped, but I was able to continue to my usual class over Zoom and I set up an area in my garage to dance. Ballet over Zoom is different, it can be harder to demonstrate and see various excercises. Recently, the HCA opened back up for socially distanced in-person classes and I took a few each week. It felt really good to see everyone again!

Anything else you would like to add? I'm really happy to be a dancer at the HCA and I can't wait to continue!


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