Fifteen-year-old Cornelius student Harumi Buchholz isn't your average teenager.
She dances seven days a week, for hours on end. Her love for ballet doesn't seem like it will ever fade.
"I went to go watch 'The Nutcracker' when I was 2 year old, and I was silent and very into it," Buchholz said Wednesday, Nov. 14. "My mother decided to enroll me in a class, and I loved it, and have done it ever since."
Buchholz will star in The Portland Ballet's upcoming fall performance, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," as two roles, the muse and a fairy. The show opens Nov. 23.
Buchholz joined The Portland Ballet's Youth Company after dancing for years at Forest Grove Dance Arts.
"I wanted to look into professional companies and I decided to look into The Portland Ballet because they are one of the best," Buchholz said.
Her fellow dancers are people her age, up to 18 years old, and they are already professionals. The Portland Ballet offers a career track for dancers ages 12 to 22 to audition and work up to 30 hours on technique, as well as a curriculum ballet program for ages 6 to 19, where Buchholz is enrolled in the advanced track.
Buchholz commutes 45 minutes each way from her home in Cornelius to rehearsals, where she is able to dance for several hours a day, she said.
To accommodate her demanding dance schedule, Buchholz is enrolled in online school and is able to balance classes with dance with homeschooling's flexibility, she said.
Buchholz said she has faced stereotypes about how ballet is perceived.
"I'll hang out with my friends after school, and I don't think they realize how hard it is," she said. "They think I just go to ballet, but it is really hard."
The ballet world is small, she said. Her fellow dancers from summer intensives and class follow each other on social media and are able to keep up with each other's creativity and progress, she said.
In the future, Buchholz said she can see living out her professional dancing dream outside the confines of the United States.
"I would love to go to Europe and dance there," she said. "It is hard because when I went to Houston for six weeks, it was hard not to see my parents, but you become so much better."
Her family travels to Japan often to visit family, and Buchholz said she can picture herself dancing there one day, too.
"It is great, I get to see my family," she said. "I feel like it would be really cool to do an intensive there.
Buchholz parents own Buchholz & Buchholz Wholesale Nursery in Gaston, and growing up around nature has been amazing and inspiring, she said.
"We have about 60 acres around our house, where I usually go running to stay in shape for ballet," she said. "It is really hard. Sometimes I feel like I want to quit, but I love ballet. I guess if you didn't want to do ballet, you would not be able to do all this.
"It has always been easy for me to pick up choreography, it feels like it is a part of me," she said.
Her advice to someone who wants to break into dancing? "If you want to get serious about it, you have to work hard," she said.
"A Midsummer's Night Dream" opens Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., as well as the same times on Nov. 24 and 25 at Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Ave., Portland. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased at The Portland Ballet's website.
By Janae Easlon
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune971-762-1166
Follow Janae at @Janae_Easlon
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