Vail Youth Ballet Company’s Student Showcase this Saturday |

Vail Youth Ballet Company’s Student Showcase this Saturday

Wren Wertin
Daily file photoThe Friends of Dance is sponsoring the Vail Youth Ballet Company's Student Showcase Saturday at Berry Creek Middle School.

April 26 through May 5 is National Dance Week, and Vereen is the official spokesperson for the moire than weeklong event. Friends of the Dance has spearheaded the local celebration by sponsoring the Vail Youth Ballet Company’s Student Showcase on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Berry Creek Middle School.

Local dancers will perform tap, jazz, ballet and modern dances.

“The whole country is celebrating the arts’ community through education and dance,” said JoAnn Moore of Vail Valley Academy of Dance. “The dance recitals always sell out, so we’re doing a show geared for public access.

“The student themselves choreographed some of the pieces – they picked out the music, costumes, everything. Some are threesomes, some solos. It’s a wonderful way for them to stretch their wings.”

Before performing the original pieces, the students will give an informal speech about it and what went into the making. Students were allowed to use their instructors as a resource, but some of them chose to rely only on themselves.

Other numbers to be showcased include a jazz competition piece that earned a silver medal in Denver, a tap number reminiscent of the percussion ensemble Stomp and “Prayers of the Children.”

“”Prayers of the Children’ is a tradition for our kids,” said Moore. “It’s a beautiful piece that is sung – it’s a prayer. There’s no music other than the children’s voices, but it sounds like a monk group. And all you see are these beautiful, young, flowing children dressed all in white.”

Adrienne Powell, 13, will be performing an original piece. She started choreographing her piece, and chose the accompanying music later. Enrolled in dance classes since she was 3, Powell likes both the performing and the work involved.

“I like seeing all the people watching you, and the experience,” she said. “To be a good dancer you have to be really strong and athletic. You have to love it, have to want to do the work. If you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not really good.”

She and several cohorts are going to New Mexico this summer for a few weeks of dance instruction at the Jilanna School. She cites the two and four-week programs the school offers as a good option for “kids her age who aren’t used to leaving home.”

Bria Barker, 12, studies lyrical, tap and jazz dance. Lyrical dance is modern dance. She’ll be performing all three types at Saturday’s performance.

“In tap, we do a lot of different stuff than all my other classes, and it’s all really fun,” she said. “It’s cool because everybody taps really loud. All the others we have to be quiet.”

She doesn’t have a favorite genre yet, unlike Hope Webbe, 13.

I like them all the same. I like all my teachers a lot. It’s fun for me.

“I like ballet best – I like to watch it and do it,” she said. “That’s what I’ve grown up doing. It’s one of my favorite things, and it comes easy to me.”

Webbe will be performing in a lyrical piece, “Speechless,” and a jazz piece, “Happy Face.”

“”Speechless’ is a great dance because it’s modern and lyrical,” she said. “It’s fun because I do both jazz and ballet; my jazz is weaker than my ballet. Lyrical is a combination of the two. “Happy Face’ is fun because it makes me smile.”

Elle Friedman, 13, is a veteran of the stage. Interested in jazz and tap, she’s been in several musicals and countless recitals. Last year’s jazz recital sticks out in her head.

“Two of the girls didn’t come on for like 30 seconds, but it felt like a whole hour,” she said. “Still, the audience clapped and clapped for us after it was over.

She cites “42nd Street” as her favorite musical, and hopes to perform in it some day. She likes singing and dancing at the same time.

After the performance, there will be a special awards banquet for various accomplished students. First-year students will receive a charm bracelet, and students who already have their bracelets will receive a charm for it.

The Student Showcase kicks off at 2 p.m. at Berry Creek Middle School in Edwards on Saturday. Tickets are available at the door.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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