Enoch Grubb studied dance in Simi Valley before attending Idyllwild Arts Academy (IAA) and is the first dance major the Town Crier has spoken with for the IAA senior spotlight series.

Grubb originally became interested in dance when he learned about hip-hop and street dance. At the age of 9, Grubb started dancing and learning hip-hop at the local dance studios in Simi Valley before moving into other styles of dancing. 

Idyllwild Arts Academy dance major Enoch Grubb.

Now a senior in high school, Grubb has been at IAA since his sophomore year, which exposed Grubb to other forms of dance. 

“As high school changes anyone’s life, going to a boarding arts high school has especially had an effect on it,” Grubb explained. “It not only helped me personally and socially, it has helped me meet new people from different countries, different backgrounds and different artistic focuses.”

Attending a boarding arts high school draws many challenges. For Grubb, there was a struggle adjusting to dorm life. It was his first time away from home. However, the upside to that was meeting many different students from all over the world.

“Being open to people’s different ideas artistically has really pushed me to become more of an individual,” Grubb said.

One thing that has been evident with each student interviewed so far is the inspiration of the faculty. Stephanie Gilliland, a modern dance teacher, took Grubb under her wing when he arrived. Grubb spoke of her kindness and warm personality, helping him adjust to the new lifestyle of attending a boarding school. 

Grubb explained how Gilliland’s teaching style also brought a sense of familiarity. “It was relatively similar to the modern styles I’d been learning. It was fun to continue developing that and taking it to a more experimental and artistic level.”

A big challenge Grubb has had to deal with as a dance major in his senior year is the restrictions brought on by COVID-19. Trying to learn dance via Zoom is understandably much more difficult, but Grubb has made it work.

“I think it’s really shown how strong the dance industry and the world can be,” Grubb said. “We adjusted to Zoom. We pushed aside a lot of furniture in my living room. I brought out good socks I could use on the carpet and kind of just went with it.”

Grubb explained that in many ways it was good for him and the other dancers to be working at home. They were able to focus more creatively and mentally in terms of dance because they weren’t able to do as much on technique with the limited space and flooring in their own homes. 

“Being in the house, we were able to take different aspects of home life and influence it with our choreography and movement,” Grubb said. “I have a few studies where I did pieces with props outside, on different floor textures and that sort of thing.”

Even with his senior year a bit different, and in some ways more challenging, Grubb has blossomed and is continuing to prepare for his upcoming life outside of high school. Grubb plans to go to a dance conservatory or college program, which will not only help him with his technique training but help him make connections in the dance industry. 

“I’ve applied to six schools in the United States and it’s going well so far,” Grubb said. “After college, I’d like to join a contemporary dance company. Along with that, being able to choreograph is something else I’m very interested in.”

His top choice schools are The Juilliard School, University of Southern California and SUNY Conservatory of Dance at State University of New York at Purchase College. Grubb is also looking into contemporary dance companies in Chicago and New York, while still in college or once he is finished.