A swan song for seven ballet dancers
By ELIZABETH SHEPHERD
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Arts Editor
May 12, 2009 · 2:51 PM
Seven graduating high school seniors will take center stage this weekend when Vashon Junior Civic Ballet presents one of the best known ballets of all time, Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”
The production will feature dancers ages 4 to 24 in the roles of swans, royalty and animals of the forest, but many of the principal roles will be played by dancers who have been a part of the ballet company — a program of Vashon Park District, directed by Betsy Frazee — for many years.
Those dancers include Alexis Carleton, who will share the role of Odette, the princess magically transformed into a white swan, as well as Carrie Chunn and Caitlin Willing, who will share the role of Odile, the black swan.
Jarrod Swenson and Erik Hansen, who are also graduating this year, will share the role of Siegfried, the Prince.
Carleton and Chunn are the most senior dancers, having started with the company at ages 4 and 6, respectively.
They have danced in roles from the smallest bon-bons in “The Nutcracker” to principal roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen and Alice. Both girls have been accepted numerous times to prestigious summer dance programs.
Swenson has danced with VJCB for five years, while Hansen has been involved for four years.
Both were accepted to the prestigious American Ballet Theatre summer dance program in New York.
Willing started dancing with VJCB five years ago, and said her favorite role was as the Rat King in “The Nutcracker.”
Two other graduating seniors, Eliza Holmes and Meredith Wade, will also be recognized for their contributions to the company at “Swan Lake” performances.
Holmes, who joined the company in 2005, said a favorite role was that of Spanish Chocolate in “The Nutcracker.”
Wade, who began dancing with the company in 2008, played the role of the Rose Queen in the company’s most recent “Nutcracker.”
“These seniors have been the backbone of the dance troupe,” said Lynne Chunn, a volunteer who works with Junior Civic Ballet.
Chunn said she hopes the community will come out to enjoy these seniors in their final performances and celebrate their accomplishments.
“Swan Lake” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 17, at Vashon High School.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. Admission is free for children younger than 5.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at Ober Park or at the door.Contact Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Arts Editor Elizabeth Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-463-9195.