Nine-year-old Ashleigh Steedman experienced this magical moment when she was chosen to be in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of “Nutcracker” last winter.
Now, she will get another chance to revel in this honor when she appears in the company’s upcoming production of “Swan Lake.”
This time around, the Woodinville girl didn’t have to go through an audition process as was required with “Nutcracker.”
PNB’s artistic staff handpicked her after observing her during a ballet class.
“I was so excited when I heard I was chosen,” says Ashleigh. “Doing ‘Nutcracker’ was really fun and now I get to go on the big stage again.”
A fourth grader at Bellevue Christian School, Ashleigh has been taking ballet at PNB’s school in Bellevue since she was 4 years old.
Currently, she is in level II D.
“We’re working on pointing our feet correctly and doing the different positions,” she explains. “We’re also putting steps together into combinations. Next year, I think we’ll be starting pirouettes. That will be fun!”
In the upcoming “Swan Lake,” the local girl will perform the role of Persian Attendant, a part that requires her to hold a fan and dance in a small group, as well as with a partner.
There are a total of eight Persian Attendants for the two casts.
Ashleigh will appear in six performances of the show.
Although she has never seen the ballet, she knows a bit about it, explaining that the story is one of good versus evil, adding, “And there’s a prince in it that gets tricked by a sorcerer to marry the wrong person.”
The young girl bubbles over when she talks about dance and she makes it clear that it is her passion.
“I love it,” she comments. “I love the postures, the movements, being with my friends, performing on stage and the costumes. I want to keep doing it and become a professional dancer when I’m older. If I practice all I can, I know I can do it.”
Despite her excitement about performing in front of an audience, Ashleigh acknowledges that she gets nervous before going on stage.
“I get butterflies in my stomach,” she says, “but then I just smile big and they go away.”
When the local girl isn’t taking dance classes or in rehearsal, she enjoys riding her horse Apollo, playing the piano or engaging in some type of art activity, such as creating necklaces out of clay. She notes that the key to handling her busy schedule is time management, adding, “I use my time very well. I focus on what I have to do and then do it.”
PNB’s production of “Swan Lake” runs April 12–21 at McCaw Hall in Seattle.
For ticket information: (206) 441-2424 or www.pnb.org.