Evelyn Willett, sixth-grader at St. Joseph School, and Wade Mesecar, sixth-grader and honor roll student at Revere Middle School both are company members at Ballet Excel Ohio. Both performers will be dancing in the spring’s showing of “Snow White” and “Happy” at the Akron Civic Theatre, March 14 and 15. They provide us with a little insight on being a youth performer in Northeast Ohio.
Why did you start dancing?
Evelyn: I started dancing when I was age 3. I loved to dance at home, in the kitchen or wherever I could. When I was age 4, we saw “Nutcracker Swings” performed by Ballet Excel Ohio (formerly named Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet), and the girl in red did a grande jeté [a split in the air]. I decided I wanted to be just like her. Now I watch as many videos as I can of professional dancers and want to be more, do more and dance it all. I love it [dance], it’s beautiful.
Wade: I started dancing when I was 6 years old. When I was really little, I saw a movie with dancing in it and it looked like fun.
How has the art of dance broadened your horizons?
Evelyn: I listen to classical music more now. I can picture a ballet and what would be going on for choreography on stage. I pay more attention to how music makes me feel.
Wade: I used to not like music. Now I listen to all kinds of music, especially classical. I have better rhythm because of listening to so much music.
How did you begin at the Ballet Excel Ohio?
Evelyn: The first time I auditioned, I did not get into the company. It was hard. I took the extra classes, worked harder, watched more, and (the next time I auditioned) I got in. I still watch as many high-level classes as I can. I try to learn more by watching older dancers.
Wade: I auditioned for Ballet Excel and got in when I was age 9. Being in the company requires a lot of discipline. (As for teamwork) I have learned that you are only as strong as your weakest link, meaning the performance depends on everyone.
What are the benefits of being a dancer/performer?
Evelyn: On stage is great. When everything comes together — it’s the big show with lights and you can hear the audience. They love it and it makes it better. I think it has made me stronger to face other problems.
Wade: You get to work with other dancers, learn from choreographers and directors. You are always learning something new.
Why is it important for Northeast Ohio families to come experience performances?
Wade: It is exciting to see live performances and it is important to support the arts. Kids can become inspired to dance themselves.
Is there any advice you can give to other performers like you who are looking to get into dance?
Evelyn: If you want to dance, then dance. If not ballet then something else. Tap is fun, modern, or hip hop, just dance. If you feel it, then do it, try it out. If it’s for you, you will know. You won’t find out what you love if you don’t try.
Wade: I would say overcome your fear and take your first dance class. You will love it.