Beaverton-area ballet dancers to perform this weekend in Portland
Several teens from Washington County will be performing in the Portland Ballet's upcoming show, "Current/Classic."
The show, highlighting a mix of classical and modern dances, will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14, at Lincoln Performance Hall at Portland State University.
Performer Camille Mesquit, who lives in the West Haven-Sylvan area, was a little late to rehearsals earlier this year because of a dance-related injury. Now, she's back on her feet and excited for the show.
"It's a fun watch because it's fast-paced, because there's so many different pieces. We've worked super-hard to make it fun and enjoyable for the audience," she said. "I would love to watch it as an audience member — sometimes being in it, you just want to watch it from the audience because it's so fun."
The 18-year-old from Trinity Academy has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and she's been at the Portland Ballet for seven years.
This year will be Mesquit's last at the academy, she said, but at the upcoming show, she'll finally get to perform a dance by a choreographer she's been hoping for since before the pandemic: August Bournonville.
She was meant to perform a few years ago, but that show was canceled due to the pandemic. Now, Mesquit will perform Bournonville's "Napoli" in the "Current/Classic production.
"It's like a full circle," Mesquit said.
Besides "Napoli," the May performances will include "Concerto in F," a modern work titled "Q," and a piece titled "Gloria."
Fifteen-year-old Lorelei Gorton, a sophomore at Beaverton's Arts & Communication Magnet Academy, said the show will mark a big step in her dancing career.
Gorton stepped into a role in "Napoli" when a dancer she was understudying was injured. It's the first performance where Gorton feels like an adult dancer, she said, because her in last performances — pre-pandemic — Gorton was only 12.
"I've had to work really hard at it and everything," she said. "I'm really thankful for the opportunity, but it's also kind of scary to be dancing with the really advanced people."
But Gorton is excited, she said, and she feels prepared. Plus, Gorton said can't wait to be in a show with such a variety of music.
One of the modern pieces in the show is "Q" by Nick Le-Jurica, which Gorton said is kind of a modern interpretation of "Don Quixote."
Another dancer, Mylo Swanson, has only been with the Portland Ballet since 2019. Swanson lives in Aloha and is homeschooled.
The 16-year-old, who uses they/them pronouns, said all the dances in the upcoming show are special, but "Q" has a unique part that sticks out to them.
"We basically get to act like drunken pirates. And the entire time, we're just messing around with each other, stumbling over each other. We're jumping and falling," Swanson said. "It has so much character, and I just cannot wait to show everyone that dance."
Swanson also had a late start. They auditioned for the production when other dancers were already rehearsing.
Swanson has been dancing with ballet studios for seven years, they said, but it was still an adjustment coming back after a break during the pandemic.
"But it was a great experience to get me back into ballet," Swanson said. "It was it was kind of like diving into the deep end."
But Swanson's favorite part of the whole experience is the Portland Ballet itself, they said. People might consider a ballet academy to be strict and rigid, Swanson said, but the Portland Ballet community is nothing but welcoming.
"You never feel like you're not supposed to be there," Swanson said. "They do their hardest to make each and every dancer comfortable as an individual."
Plus, it's fun, Swanson said.
General admission tickets for the "Current/Classic" show start at $15 for students and children and $25 for adults.
For more information on the performance and COVID-19 attendance policies, call 503-452-8448 or visit theportlandballet.org.
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