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G-AHS student balances dancing, school

June 08, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Katie Colbert believes her classmates at Greencastle-Antrim High School think ballet is boring and easy.

"I don't think they know how difficult it is," the sophomore said.

The misconception arises, she said, because people who took weekly classes as a child only remember repetitive exercises at the barre. But now, at 16, Katie and ballerinas like her are taking classes five times a week.

"Some of my friends at school don't realize how much I put into it," Katie said.

Her efforts were recently recognized when she was accepted into a selective, summer intensive program with New York's Joffrey Ballet. The acceptance, which came through an audition class, caught Katie by surprise, so she has opted not to participate this year.

"It was my first time at an audition held outside my ballet school. It was really nerve-wracking, but you've got to pretend it's any other class," Katie said.

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Katie is grateful for the audition experience and acceptance.

"It's really nice, and it makes me feel like I could go somewhere," Katie said.

The coming year will hold many more auditions for Katie on her way to a goal of being a prima ballerina in a company.

"I really want to go to college for dance," Katie said.

She currently studies ballet, jazz and modern at City Ballet School in Hagerstown. The daughter of Joe and Cathy Colbert has played numerous roles in annual productions of The Nutcracker, including the solo of ballerina doll.

The challenge, she feels, isn't balancing on her toes, but rather balancing school and dance.

The reward is staying active and being healthy, Katie said.

"It's a really good way to express yourself," said Katie, who is the Class of 2009's secretary and will be president of Student Council next year.

Katie is one of 16 members of the Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Co. in Hagers-town.

"This is the 10th anniversary of the company. This year we're bringing back old dances and putting them together," Katie said.

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