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Dancing Under the Spotlights

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Dancer Payton Beasley shares her talent through spectacular performances.

[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]heeled out in a box, on to the stage with bright lights shining in her face, and portraying a doll, dancer Payton Beasley wowed the crowd beginning with one of her five roles in the 2018 Nutcracker Dec , Friday Dec. 7- Sunday Dec. 9, 2018. While focusing on hitting every cue, the crowd is difficult to make out but Beasley knows no matter who is there, she still has to dance as best as she can.

Photo taken by Alvaro Ponce

Beasley has been performing in the Nutcracker Ballet for 8 years, with changing roles every year. She portrayed a Drosselmeyer Doll (also known as Harlequin doll). This year she portrayed a Snow Spirit, Spanish Queen, was part of the Flower Corps, and Mirliton—a few of the biggest roles in the production held at the Templeton Performing Arts Center this season.

Beasley, along with other dancers in the production choose to go on independent study during week of production, allowing them to rehearse all week long between 8 am and 10 pm.“The Nutcracker is one of the highlights of my entire year. It benefits me because it’s a huge responsibility to be a main role in one of the communities biggest holiday traditions,” Beasley said.

The dancers in the production rehearse for at least 15 hours a week, and it takes up to a year to choreograph and learn the dances. Their practices are filled with hard

Photo taken by Katie Kowall.

work and determination, and their perseverance pays off.

“My favorite part of dancing is being on stage and performing. It’s the best feeling in the world to go on stage and show all of my hard work off,” Beasley said about her dance performances.

Dancers take classes and practice year round, allowing them to perfect the skills required for the Nutcracker. The lead role, Clara Stahlbaum was portrayed by Kaela Tran, an eighth grader at Templeton Middle School. Jenevieve Crossett of Paso Robles High school preformed as the infamous Sugar Plum Fairy, who was accompanied by Oscar Gutierrez  as the Nutcracker Prince.

Many dancers, like Beasley, have been dancing since they were little, and for some this was their first Nutcracker. Reese Hartley, Hailey McEntire, and Sophia Anglem; all students from PRHS  had their Nutcracker debut this year. Hartley, who originally had the roles of Sinister Rat, Snow Spirit, and one of the four Russian Queens, was also the understudy to Rat Queen. Emaly Bouseman, who was set to portray Rat Queen, Snow Spirit, Spanish Corps, and Mirliton, was unable to perform due to an injury.

Hartley replaced Bouseman as Rat Queen and flower corps, Anglem as Mirliton, and Blythe Burg – an alumni dancer – filled her spot in Spanish corps.

Photo taken by Anthea Marette

Dancers of any kind must be dedicated to practicing, and their company. Beasley dances for Class Act Dance Company, and has for 10 years.

“Dancing for a company means that you have a certain number of dances that you perform throughout the community and sometimes nationally.” Beasley explained.

Beasley participates in competitions throughout California and competes in 10 numbers – or dances – per competition. She is also a member of PRHS’ advanced dance team and preforms at pep rallies, football game half times and PRHS’ Dance Show in the spring.

“Dancing with Payton Beasley was awesome, she is a beautiful dancer and has such a caring soul,” Hartley said about her experience dancing with Beasley for the Nutcracker.

Beasley is also the Director of Class Act Minis a group of 5 and 6 year olds. They had their debut dance performance in Oct. at the Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade. In addition, she teaches Intro to Jazz.

“My favorite part about teaching [classes] is how excited [the dancers] are to come into class and how high energy they are,” Beasley states after teaching classes.

All in all, Beasley loves to share her dance talents, and pass on what she knows to all the incoming and young dancers.

 

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