Ballet students strut their stuff

June 08, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

Katherine Fowler has performed in "The Nutcracker" twice and she danced in her fourth recital on the stage of The Maryland Theatre Saturday afternoon.

Before the performance, she was careful to eat a banana for breakfast, to steady her muscles and prevent cramping. She dressed herself, too.

Katherine is 7 years old.

Before the performance, Katherine's mother, Susan Fowler of Hagerstown, was putting the finishing touches on a bouquet of flowers for her daughter. Many walked into the theater carrying flower arrangements which they later handed over to their dancers.


Saturday afternoon's performance was the spring recital for The City Ballet School. An evening performance featured dancers from the Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company.

As she readied the bouquet, Fowler said Katherine loves ballet.

"It teaches her discipline, poise. It's very good exercise," Fowler said.

Also at the back of the packed theater was Peter Skehan, of Waynesboro, Pa. His two daughters, Tess, 5, and Catherine, 4, performed with their class.

Most likely, his girls enjoy ballet because it gives them a chance to meet new people their age, Skehan said.

Although Skehan said he harbors no illusions that his daughters could one day be ballet stars, he said he hopes they will continue dancing.

He appreciates the culture it offers.

"It beats ... cartoons in the afternoon," he said.

During the recital, the performances were done in order of experience. First to take the stage were the youngest, who looked to be barely more than toddlers. When the curtain rose, the crowd ooh-ed and ahh-ed.

Some of the younger students looked offstage for direction or moved each other into place. As the more experienced classes took the stage, gracefulness and synchronization improved.

Music for the pieces ranged from Vivaldi to Janet Jackson, with some Bach, Jethro Tull and even a song from "Harry Potter" in between.

Ashley Mothershead, who graduated from high school a year early and will head to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City this fall, performed a solo dance to Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon."

Showing a professional flair after the dance, she clutched three bouquets of flowers and still managed to blow a kiss to the audience.

After the show, 6-year-old Rebeka Hurwitz held a bouquet of flowers against her ballet outfit. She had performed to Mariah Carey's "Hero."

Recitals are her favorite part of ballet, she said. Nervousness is not a concern.

"I just won't worry about it, and I had fun," she said.

"It's been a very good experience for her," said Rebeka's mother, Michelle. "It offers the obvious - the skills of ballet, the discipline, being comfortable with their bodies - the exercise and just the creativeness."

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