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High-stepping dreams

December 29, 2000

High-stepping dreams



By KEVIN CLAPP / Staff Writer

photo: YVETTE MAY / staff photographer

42nd StreetKasey Kline is busy. Not only does the 17-year-old junior at Chambersburg Area Senior High School have schoolwork, she also must juggle duties in the school chorus and symphony.

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As if that weren't enough, she also is a dancer in the Washington County Playhouse production of "42nd Street."

"It does get hectic," she said prior to a recent rehearsal. "It's hard to keep rehearsal times and times of concerts and school straight.

42nd Street"One time I wanted to go to a concert and I couldn't go because I had to be here," Kasey says. "I think about priorities and what's more important for me, and some of those things seem small because this is what I want to do with my life."

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Still, it's a challenge she embraces, and she's not alone. "42nd Street" includes nine high school students and one middle school student. None would miss the experience, even if it requires creative time management to keep tabs on their various commitments.

Tara Landis, a 16-year-old Smithsburg High School junior, says she often sacrifices sleep to get things done. In addition to "42nd Street" she is also in her school play, was a drum major this year and plays saxophone in the school band.

It's not unusual for her to be up doing homework or studying late at night. Sometimes, it can wear on her.

"Especially near finals and midterms it gets so stressful. You feel like breaking down; it wears you out," Tara says.

Though dancing is another commitment she must fit in, it usually is a saving grace because it allows her to work any frustration out on the dance floor.

Her cast mates agree that dancing in "42nd Street" and other productions is well worth the effort. Many of them want to pursue dance or drama as a career and say there is no better place to learn the ropes.

"You just find time. If you have a report due, you just find the time whether it's late at night or before rehearsals," says 16-year-old North Hagerstown High School junior Veronica Webb. "It might be hard, but you get it done."

Kelly Jenkins, owner of the Playhouse and Dancin' Time Studios, where many of the dancers study, understands and appreciates the time and effort needed to juggle school and this production.

At auditions, she gets a list of conflicts students will have, then works around them as much as possible. Since many students also take dance lessons at her studio, rehearsals take place there. A lot of sessions occur on weekends when it's easier to assemble the entire cast.

"We're pretty lenient if they list it on their conflict sheet," Jenkins says. "I don't want them to give up their life to be here."

In the past, cast members have worked shows on their birthdays, and it's not unusual for students to have dinner with their dates at the Playhouse, perform a show and then hustle off to the end of their school prom.

"They're great," Jenkins says. "I can't ask any more of them because they give it all to me."

Another balancing act is done with friends. For many student dancers, their friends are performers, but, for others, their time with friends is fleeting.

"They think it's great with what I do, and it's almost better because when you do get to hang out with them you get to appreciate it more," Kasey says.

Like her cast mates, Marivien Hewitt, 16, keeps her eyes on the prize, which is a career in the arts. Besides, the St. Maria Goretti High School junior says she needs to be busy to be effective.

"I always have to be busy. It's always fun for me," she says. "I have to have something to do."

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