Sitting in a circle on the marley dance floor of the Dance Theater West studio, 20 children between the ages of 5 and 14 shift nervously while rolling their ankles and stretching their arms. They are getting ready for their very first rehearsal for their part of the Storybook Ballet Peter Pan, where they will play the Lost Boys. Most of them have never danced before. One, in particular, looks very nervous. A tall 13 year old with long light brown hair, Hannah, mentions that she’s never danced and isn’t sure what to expect. Hannah went on to rehearse with stunning passion and grace.
Looking back she reflects, “I almost didn’t go that first night because I thought I would make a fool of myself but when we started dancing, it didn’t matter! I lost myself in the music and looked forward to and loved the five weeks we practiced for the performance”.
After the final performance at Scottsdale Center for the Arts both Hannah and her mother took the time to approach Free Arts staff, thanking them for the opportunity and expressing a desire for Hannah to keep dancing.
The Free Arts team worked with Susie Silverman and Fran Cohen at Dance Theater West to secure free ongoing lessons for Hannah. Hannah states, “I was astonished to receive a full scholarship to dance at the studio! I have been dancing with Dance Theater West ever since and have thoroughly enjoyed the 2 performances I have done with Dance Theater West and I will continue dancing under scholarship thanks to Free Arts!”
When the time came for this year’s Storybook Ballet rehearsals to begin, Hannah was the first registered and her mother went above and beyond to help transport the other children from her agency. This year Hannah and her friends performed in Storybook Ballet: Alice and Wonderland in a variety of roles. She says, “I am thrilled to be back on stage performing with Free Arts. I hope everyone will come see the final show!”