Nicole Pathak ’26
A new year, a new schedule, and a new teacher! This year, St. Andrew’s is welcoming Savina Barini, our newest dance coach and choreographer of musical theatre to our community. Barini grew up in rural Idaho, and from an early age, they’ve always loved dancing. In fact, they’ve been dancing for about 10 years competitively and 19 years in total.
For college, they attended to Howard University and earned their BFA in theater arts with a concentration in musical theater and playwriting. Before Barini moved to the DMV to work with the Kennedy center, they had already made an impressive theatre career, performing from Idaho to London. In London, they performed Shakespeare and high comedy and in Idaho, they did youth theater work which they’re “really passionate about…it’s why [they] love teaching theatre.”
Dance is an art that is dear to Barini’s heart. When they were a little kid, they did gymnastics, and they loved the warm-up portion of the class but in their words, “the beams and blah blah wasn’t [their] thing.” Soon, they began to dance, specifically ballet, and became absolutely enamored with it. “I really loved that there was this relationship with your body,” they remarked, “You always kind of had to be in tune with it.”
Barini remarked that the start of their theatre career was “kind of a sad story.” One year, they were unable to dance ballet for the foreseeable future because they broke their leg, which devastated Barini, but their coach helped them realize that “those dancers on Broadway… are dancers too…but a lot of them can act.” This revelation convinced Barini to participate in the musical, and there they found a new passion that would come to define their foreseeable future.
As a coach for St. Andrew’s, Barini has a few goals. Currently, there’s only three members of the Dance Team, and although Barini is eager to work with their current students, Barini’s main goal is to “drum up excitement this trimester for spring dance” and gain more members.
More dancers means that Barini is able to experiment with more bodies in the space to make their choreography more interesting, and they are delighted by that prospect. Regarding dancing itself, Barini hopes that their dancers will be able to turn doubles by the end of the trimester. Turning doubles is when you “go up on one leg and do two full turns before going down,” they describe, “It requires a lot of patience because you have to get it wrong a bajillion times before you even start to feel how to get it right.”
To further this end, Barini is aiming to acquire a ballet bar to help teach their students technique. Coach Savina has a lot in store for the future of St. Andrew’s Dance, and there’s no doubt that we’ll stay tuned for their big plans.
Photograph by Miles Hansen