Anyone trying to catch a glimpse of Sasha Mykhantso ’23 in action won’t have to look far—whether it’s singing for the Lawrentians; dancing in the Lawrenceville School Dance Company (LSDC), Suave, or Tour de Force; or playing the best man George in this year’s Fall Musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, Mykhantso seems to be everywhere. But how did Mykhantso come to be one of Lawrenceville's most distinguished performing artists?
Interestingly, Mykhantso’s aplomb on stage betrays his relatively little performing arts experience background. Mykhantso said while growing up in Ukraine, outside of dancing in a few folklore pieces with his friends, he did little in the way of performing arts. Indeed, when Mykhantso first got to Lawrenceville, performing arts weren’t even a part of the plan—running was. In the words of Mykhantso, “I thought for sure that I was going to be a runner for all three years,” but things took a fateful turn when he was cut from the track team in the Spring Term of 2021. Mykhantso then signed up for the Lifetime Dance co-curricular with his former theatre teacher, Director of Dance Derrick Wilder, setting in motion an involvement in Lawrenceville performing arts that would snowball into his passions today. Now, as a V Former, Mykhantso’s involvement in the performing arts across campus has elevated him to new heights. Mykhantso not only has a principal role in the Fall Musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, but he is also, alongside Wilder, overseeing all of the musical’s choreography. Mykhantso says that, “it’s not an easy job at all.” He has to be at every choreography rehearsal leading warm-ups, helping Wilder stage the dances, and often instructing students when Wilder, the only other choreographer, isn’t there. At the same time, Mykhantso said that, “it’s a very good growth opportunity. I learn not just how to be a performer but a choreographer and a manager. I get people what they need to do in certain chunks of time,” a critical part of the Periwig process because, as Mykhantso noted, “time is so limited here at Lawrenceville.”
Not only is time important at Lawrenceville, but for those interested in the performing arts—or really any activity—so are courage and curiosity. Performing a number, particularly a solo, in front of the student body is a feat that requires great courage and that Mykhantso is no stranger to. According to him, a performance like that is all about practice, muscle memory, and faith in the fact that most of the time, “the crowd doesn’t know what they’re supposed to be watching.” Mykhantso also stresses the importance of approaching performing arts with an open mind. Lawrenceville offers performing arts in various forms and difficulties. A word of advice from Mykhantso for those looking to get a foot in the door: “Don’t say, ‘I don’t know;’ instead, say ‘I want to learn.’” In many ways, Mykhantso’s journey in Lawrenceville’s performing arts can serve as an inspiration for all of us. Out of checked track ambitions, Mykhantso doggedly pursued a newfound passion for performing arts and quickly became an outstanding artist and campus leader. Give Sasha Mykhantso the applause he deserves when you see him around and keep an eye out for him on the stage this year.