Yesterday, I blogged about two more awards that I won for But I Do. Today, I’m honoring two of the dancers who made this project amazing. They have star power PLUS!
Eric and Andrew dance with the world-famous Pacific Northwest Ballet. I grew up training with them at the Ballet’s official school. When we were making But I Do and needed partners for my beautiful principal dancers, Katie and Denise, Eric and Andrew graciously volunteered.
These men aren’t just extraordinary dancers, they’re extraordinary people. Eric began studying ballet as a PNB DanceChance student. In this program, the Ballet goes into elementary schools and extends an invitation for a full scholarship to children who have the ability to become professional dancers, but would not otherwise have the opportunity. The scholarship includes all the dance gear they need, transportation to school, and tickets to the ballet.
Some people think that this gives those dancers an unfair advantage. They couldn’t be more wrong. With the challenges most of them face, it doesn’t even level the playing field. The neighborhoods many of them come from are rough. I had a DanceChance friend who quit in his junior year of high school. He could have been one of ballet’s greats, and he knew it. He also could have been the quarterback on his football team and made All-State. As I encouraged him to stay at PNB, he told me that he wanted to, but he could no longer endure the opposition he faced at home as a ballet dancer.
Eric graduated from PNB’s school, was the first DanceChance student to join the Company, and has won several prestigious dance awards. I admire those accomplishments, but I admire even more his courage and commitment…and how he is one of the most caring, genuine, humble people I know.
Andrew is equally impressive. The only night that I could pull everyone together to film the final ballroom scene in But I Do happened to be the same evening that he had a dress rehearsal for Whim W’Him. This is an elite contemporary dance company that Andrew somehow manages to work with in addition to PNB.
Well, like Captain America, Andrew came through for us and saved the day… Or, should I say the night? He wasn’t able to arrive until about midnight, the filming lasted for hours, and he had to be up early the next morning because Whim was opening and he had a starring role. Yet Andrew cheerfully stayed on our set until everyone was satisfied. In fact, he was one of the last to leave. A few days later, the Seattle Times gave his Whim performance a rave review. You can judge for yourself how he did in But I Do. Hint: He was superb.
Whim is currently performing in Seattle and, best of all, Andrew has choreographed a piece! The finale is tomorrow night, Friday May 23rd. For details Visit Whimwhim.