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Taking center stage
Peninsula Dance Theatre to perform ‘Giselle’ May 2 and 3 in Bremerton.
Central Kitsap High School (CKHS) senior Hailey Watters will bid adieu to Peninsula Dance Theatre (PDT) this year after 15 years with the dance company.
Watters and CKHS sophomore Logan Martin are two of about 25 young people who will take the stage next Saturday to perform the ballet, “Giselle,” at the Bremerton High School Performing Arts Center.
PDT Director Lawan Morrison said the company hasn’t performed “Giselle” in seven or eight years and they have been busy rehearsing for the production since March.
“I’ve completed the cycle. I’ve done every spring ballet,” Watters said of her dance career with PDT.
Watters plans to spend the summer dancing at PDT, but “Giselle” will be her last production with the dance company. She said she plans to head off to college in the fall and continue to study dance.
“I’m sad, but it’s going to be hard to have a different schedule,” Watters said. “It’s going to be sad to leave everyone.”
Watters began taking classes at PDT when she was 3 years old and now teaches classes of her own at the Bremerton-based business.
“My mom used to dance here too,” Watters said.
Martin has danced with PDT for 11 years and also hopes to pursue dance after high school.
Watters and Martin are two of several PDT dancers who travel across the country on scholarships to various dance institutions’ summer programs each year. Morrison said summer programs typically run from two-eight weeks and students must audition for the scholarships. She said she is pleased to have so many students attend the programs each summer.
“I’m very proud of them and that’s my total ambition for these students — to get them somewhere where they can keep dancing,” Morrison said.
Watters has studied at the St. Louis ballet, Ballet Magnificat in Mississippi, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and with Bill Evans in Port Townsend.
“You get totally different teachers because you’re there for so long,” she said. “You get to take back what you learn and apply it.”
Martin studied dance at Pacific Northwest Ballet when he was only 9 or 10 years old, traveled to Idyllwild Arts in California in 2007 and studied with the Houston Ballet in 2008. He has already been accepted to study with the Houston Ballet again this summer.
“I loved it last year. You get to learn how to be on your own and I really like the teachers,” Martin said.
Between schoolwork and dance, both Martin and Watters said they don’t get much downtime, but they enjoy dance and keep up with their schoolwork.
“You got to keep your grades up,” Watters said.
Between dance classes and rehearsals, Morrison said many PDT students are at the dance studio 20 or more hours a week, but they manage to succeed in both school and dance, making her a proud dance instructor.
Martin said he loves dance because he can do things other people cannot do and continue to push himself to do better.
“Dance kind of breaks down limits. You can do things other people can’t do,” he said.
Watters agreed, saying there’s always something to work on with dance.
“There’s always something you can really get higher and I like performing,” she said. “That’s why I like it here (at PDT) — we perform a lot.”
As for next week’s production, Martin said “Giselle” is a good story with great music that people should enjoy.
“It’s easy for people to follow,” Watters added.
“Giselle” will be accompanied by a full orchestra led by music director Alan Futterman.
“We only get to work with them two times before the show,” Watters said of the orchestra.
“It’s kind of scary, but it’s exciting,” Martin added.
PDT will perform “Giselle” at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 2 and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3 at the Bremerton High School Performing Arts Center. For ticket information, call (360) 377-6214 or visit www.peninsuladancetheatre.org.