By Irene Hao
In June of my sophomore year, I participated in my school’s talent show, doing modern dance and flow arts. Both were challenging: Modern required flexibility and movements my awkward limbs were unaccustomed to, and flow required dexterity of my wrists to simultaneously twirl strings, staffs, glowsticks, and fans in contrasting patterns. I performed one in the spotlight, another in the dark. Dance is a purely visual medium, and translating these two styles into an 8.5” by 11” poster shows how I overcame my physical and creative struggles.
The main components of this Canva piece were designed for StuySquad, my high school’s yearly dance talent show. Initially intended to be printed on a hoodie, this digital collage embodies two newfound passions I’ve encountered this year: graphic design and dance. Certainly, it was difficult to utilize the simple shapes and templates Canva offered and combine them into a cohesive visual arts piece with a clear message. But it brought out the best of my resourcefulness and creativity.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE IRENE HAO & MENTOR LAUREN VESPOLI
Irene’s Anecdote: Lauren this year in particular has been so lovely and patient, given my hectic schedule. As a freelance writer, she now has the freedom to creatively explore various writing mediums that have been the subjects of many of our weekly meetings. We have made great progress in our pair goals this school year, particularly in terms of making a habit of including writing exercises in our meetings. They’re incredibly useful in keeping my creative juices flowing. When not working together and sharing our writing pieces, we are catching up on each other’s lives, a persevering aspect of our meetings that I treasure.
Lauren’s Anecdote: I’ve loved watching Irene become more confident this year. When we started working together, she was finding her place at a new school. This year, I’ve been so impressed with how she’s balanced pursuing her passions and taking on new challenges, from copy editing for the school newspaper to dancing in the SING! production. That adventurous spirit has carried over into Girls Write Now, as we’ve experimented with digital media like podcasts and stop-motion animation. Though she’s new to these mediums, she brings the same ambitious creativity she expresses in her writing. As always, I can’t wait to see what she’ll conquer next.
Irene Hao is a New York native, born and raised, daughter, sister, and student. She is currently pursuing a BA in English at Fordham University in Lincoln Center. She is actively involved in and a regular contributor of her school's newspaper The Observer and student radio Wavelengths. Irene has been published in Teen Ink, Scholastic Writing & Arts Awards, and Canal Street News. Irene loves writing in all its shapes and forms, and seeks to find the intersection between her love for written and spoken word and storytelling with law, politics, and digital media. When not writing, you can find her studying in cafes, belting in karaoke booths, solving crossword puzzles, or playing video games with her friends.